· By Tiny Hearts Education
Life After Kids
As I sit here at my computer, my little babe is asleep (with what I may feel be a maximum time of 40 minutes), and I am enjoying a hot coffee. I know. HOT COFFEE. What a mythical thing right? Remember when you would make a coffee and you'd have to wait at least 5 minutes before you could take that first sip and hope that it had cooled enough not to burn your tongue and ruin all coffees for the next 8 hours? Yep. Me too. How times have changed huh?
Before I had a baby (okay, I sound like my mother, and I apologise) but seriously, before I had Willow, everything was different. I worked in a job that consumed all my time: 7 am - 7 pm, six days a week. I would work overtime for no extra pay, and I never complained because, well, I was being paid to support my regular social dinners, umpteen amounts of clothing and credit card debts. I could drop everything at the drop of a hat, take my time to get ready for a night out and walk out the door with my phone and wallet. I'd eat at a normal pace while drinking expensive wine and then head home whenever I felt like it.
Family gatherings were a pain in the butt; I'd make chit-chat, so I didn't have to answer questions about marriage or children. I'd still be getting lectures from my Dad about money, and my Mother would keep reminding me how she used to pay for all my dance classes and costumes, and that I didn't even pursue that career (I mean, if she had seen me on a night out she wouldn't have thought I should).
Catching up with my friends was a priority. They were always up for a night out, a night in, an hour-long phone call, a quick unannounced visit, whatever you were planning, they were up for it. I had HEAPS of friends. Although, now I say friends very lightly, as I got older I realised what having 'friends' really means.
When I fell pregnant with Willow, I felt like nothing had changed. There were still dinners, there was no change in my work hours, and it's like the talks from my parents seemed more hard-hitting. THEN, I had Willow. That's when everything shifted.
I was on maternity leave from work, Willow was only a few weeks old, and work was asking when I would return. It was like my whole mind shifted - my priorities had changed significantly. I could no longer see myself working in a job I didn't like, I couldn't work a 12 hour day anymore and those extra hours I put in just didn't sit well with me.
My little human was now the centre of my universe and my time was to be spent with her; watching her, teaching her and being the best mama to her. Work was not at the top of my list of things to do. Naturally, I needed to work (you know, for bills and sanity) but I wanted to do something I loved and enjoyed, and I needed the flexibility to be with my babe whenever she needed me (which was very much a reality when Willow reached six months). She was my priority.
Going out for dinner and walking out the door is not as carefree as it was. If I am to go out with my friends, I have to make sure that Willow has had dinner, had a shower and ready for the husband to put her to bed before I leave the house. I don't spend as much time getting ready because I've secretly mastered the act of speed makeup and hair. I know exactly what I'm wearing because I've been planning this dinner for a month, so I am SET.
I eat my dinner a little faster than my 'non-mum' friends because I've programmed my brain to eat fast to ensure a 'hot' meal is enjoyed. I still drink wine. I still drink ALL the wine. It's like a mum staple. I don't stay out past 11 pm because I am bloody tired. I haven't slept in 2 years, so 11 pm is like 4 am to me.
Dinner at our parents' places is now a blessing. I don't need to cook, and they love watching Willow so I can relax for an hour. I love watching them as grandparents now (but not so much in the fact that they let my child do what I was never allowed to do... how does that work?). I do still get questioned about having babies (ooo when is number 2 happening - well mother, when I have sex I'll text you and let you know) and money is now put towards school fees for when Willow starts in a few years. I still roll my eyes at my parents, but they don't see anymore, it's more discreet now. I think deep down; it's that I know they are right. I have a new appreciation for what my Mum did for me in regards to dance classes. She really took the time to help me and guide me into something I loved, something I know I will do for my daughter. If she is happy, we are happy.
What about my relationship with my husband? Oh, you mean the guy that I share a bed with while being separated by a mini human we made? Yep. That’s where we are at right now. Time together is GOLD to us. I miss the days where we could lay in bed until 10 am and then head out for lunch, now it's up at 6:30 am because you’re being woken up by a child's finger in your nostril and the smell of morning poop.
The art of ‘The Loving’ must now wait until said child is well and truly asleep, and I mean REALLY asleep. Like, wait at least a good 40 minutes for any ‘haha tricked you parents, I am not even asleep’ situations. You will find places to ‘love’ that you never thought of before, and you just take it when you can. Don’t romance me husband; we have a good 15 minutes, just do your best!
I found it strange when other mamas used to say ‘you will love your man more when you see how he loves your child’, and it’s so true. We both say that we love each other, but we love Willow more. Yes, it’s been hard at times, especially after having our baby. I didn’t want to be touched, and all I had on my mind was my newborn. She took up all of my time but even during that period, Greg and I communicated every step of the way. I guess that is why I was able to really push through post-natal depression because I spoke to him about every feeling and emotion I had. Never let them feel like they can’t help you, or they don’t know what to do or say, they love you and your mini so much, both of you are his world. Talk every single day, about anything and everything. If you can both communicate, trust me, parenthood will be a much more pleasant and calming experience for you both. I mean, he still doesn’t hang his towel or stack the dishwasher correctly, but hey, no one is perfect!
What changed the most for me? My friendships. I lost a lot of friends after having Willow. They didn't disappear suddenly, they kind of just slowly drifted away. It wasn't until I noticed six months had gone by and I hadn't even received a text message. I guess because they didn't have children, they didn't understand that I couldn't go out at the last minute or drop everything for a night out on the town. Once again, priorities changed. I couldn't leave my house at 2 am to pick them up from the club or clean up their vomit (I have a 2-year old to do that for, that's my limit). I quickly realised what a 'real' friend was and that wasn't it. I was a little embarrassed that I was like that.
I appreciate my amazing friends that stuck by me through all of the shit and are still here. I can no longer spend hours on the phone, and they get it. We've gotten to the point now where we love each other for our efficiency. They know we need notice for dinners, visits, events because that shit takes time and planning. They get it and that makes my heart so much fuller because of their friendship and understanding. You make more 'mum' friends because you need support for all the weird, strange and crazy stuff that comes with parenting. It's like a gang. A gang of mothers that reassure each other that they too have dropped food on their babies head and they are totally fine. And for your non-mama friends that are non-related 'aunties', you have the low down on motherhood stuff when they produce little humans (best part is you can say things that others can't, the joys of being besties).
So yeah, everything has changed since becoming a parent. And I'd say for the better! I'm still me, but I'm a better version (with a daughter that sings duets in the car, life goals exceeded). You could say that I'm an amazing mama, just like you x