Remember the game 'Opposites'? Where "yes" means "no" and "no" means "yes". Where saying you "hate" chocolate really means you "love" chocolate.
Life with children becomes a permanent game of opposites. With Mothers Day just a couple of days away, it really made me think about how being a Mother has changed my life and me as a person. I became a mother at 21. I know that by the world's standards, this is on the younger side. I was still a Uni student and my peers were leading very different lives from playgroups and baths in the kitchen sink. It was hard work, and I'm not saying I enjoyed every aspect of being a mother, but I loved our life.
But the presence of this tiny person in your life changes your priorities. It shifts certain things from important to unimportant. From a necessity to a luxury. Such as 8 hours sleep - it used to be the minimum sleep requirement but once a baby is in the house, 8 hours sleep STRAIGHT is nothing short of a miracle deserving of a Facebook announcement.
Tony is 7 now, and I still haven't got this parenting thing down pat. But I love the 'opposites' that have taken place since Tony and Carter came along.
A quiet weekend. Pre-kids a quiet weekend was boring. It meant you were wasting those precious days off work. A quiet weekend felt like a failure. As a Mother, quiet weekends are precious. Once I had children I became excited when we have a quiet weekend.
Shopping. Why in heavens does anyone ENJOY shopping??? I do recall sometime ago, back when I had my sanity, I used to actually CHOOSE to go shopping for fun! But now I shop for groceries, birthday presents, winter clothes, new school shoes, child neurofen, and countless handballs to replace the ones that end up on the school roof at recess time. I DO NOT enjoy window shopping anymore. Why would I when I could be at home on the couch watching Ellen?
This brings me to my choice of clothes. I was never particularly stylish, but I did try and make SOME effort. I still try and at least appear decent, but I'm not gonna lie - I do look at certain clothes and wonder;
"Can I get away with going bra-less under this? Would anyone know if I just wore this over the top of my pajamas? Will food smears and boogas be camouflaged?"
Dining out. Ah I can't tell if it was real or a dream but food was once a social thing. You enjoyed eating new foods and scanned the menu freely milling over all the tasty sounding option. My choice of a restaurant is now one that has a kids play area that I can supervise without getting up from my seat and re-fills for the echildren (heaven knows they wont eat their meal but they will certainly drink their weight in drink). I know eating with children means their attention span clocks start ticking the second you walk through the door so I check the menu online to save time and of course the all important instructions to the waiter;
"Just bring it out as its ready. I don't care if dessert comes first and I end up with soup and a side plate of fries at the end, just bring it as its ready."
Handbag size. A cute, girlie little handbag was once something to show off. Other female friends admired such a purchase. Of course you couldn't really carry anything aside from a credit card and lip gloss.....but look how cute! Even though I 'technically' am not in need of a nappy bag these days, my handbag has pretty much taken over the job. If it doesn't resemble the bag Mary Poppins had, it's useless to me. On any given day you could check in my handbag and find my wallet, keys, diary, 11 pens, gum, a muesli bar, tweezers, a banana, lollipops, 99 bobby pins, a sandwich, wipes, tissues, floss, hand sanitizer, toy cars .... You get the picture. I am going to take this opportunity to brag and tell you I ALWAYS win the handbag game at Bridal Showers. It's my shining moment! Pre-children you go for cute little handbags, post-children it's a case of the bigger the better.
And of course this opposites game affects your sleep. Not just that you once gots some and now you don't, but your sleep patterns. I recall a time when it was great staying up late. Fun stuff happened late. If there was a dance or party on that started at 8pm, it was vital to not show up til about 10pm because it wasn't fun yet. You stayed up late and simply slept late the next morning to make up for it. But no longer! A sleep in is 7am. To make up for this lack of sleep, I have, like many Mothers, resorted to adding those extra much-needed hours of sleep to the evening instead. Once my boys are in bed, I'm in bed. Normally by 8pm - I kid you not. I even make sure I am in my pajamas about 5pm so I don't have to waste precious sleep time getting changed. Any social event I go to, I am mindful of the clock. Once it hits 9:30pm, I turn into Cinderella trying to get home before midnight. My mental clock is counting down how many hours of sleep I will get if I go to bed much later. I know,
I know, I am extremely lame!
You see though. It's not just little changes to your life - in many cases it is a complete 360. Becoming a mother has changed my life in such a way that no other decision can even come close. It's not glamorous or easy, but boy do I love it! I am so thankful I get to be the mother of my two precious monkeys - they make my world brighter than I ever thought it could be.