12 things you can completely forget about once you have a baby
There are SO many wonderful things about becoming a mum - and I have argued passionately that my life is far better in every way since giving birth to my babies.
But let's be honest: Motherhood is also pretty tough at times. There are things you, in your pre-children life, could do no bother that now seems nothing but a distant memory (anyone remember what if feels like to drink a hot drink while it is still, in fact, hot?!)
Here are 12 more things that - once I starting producing babies - became - if not impossible, then at least very, very hard:
1. Nights out
The other night I, very casually, met an old friend for dinner in town. It was a Tuesday night; we were literally just going to gorge on Thai food, have a sneaky glass of rosé - and then get the Luas home. Eight(!) hours later, I fell out of a nightclub and into a taxi, giggling, and thinking things like "Sure I am only young once" and "Why SHOULDN'T mums be allowed to let loose?!"
The following morning, I paid for it. Badly. My 2-year-old woke at 5.24 AM and wanted me to bring him and three metal toy cars from his bed into mine. (I did, of course, I was in no state to argue). Then he woke again at 5.47 and wanted toast. (I literally could not even stand up, never mind go to the kitchen, so I solved this by singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star four times until he fell asleep again). Then, at 6.15, I woke in a puddle as he had somehow managed to drag his nappy so far to the side that he had peed all over the bed. I got a towel in the en-suite bathroom, just placed it on the wet patch and fell back asleep. For a full 17 minutes until my 5-year-old woke up and declared she was starving and could she watch some Barbie, Life in the Dream House, on the iPad while she ate her toast? At this point, I nearly wept with tiredness and a by-now crushing hangover but succumbed to all her demands.
The rest of the morning passed in a blur of yogurt and hair-fixing and arguments over what shoes are appropriate when it rains, until I could FINALLY grab my coat and head to work (leaving the school- and creche drop off's with my rested and non-hungover husband). Needless to say, it was not one of my finest motherhood moments, and it made me think that they really ought to stop people at the doors of nightclubs and ask if they have young children at home. If the answer is yes, you should be given the option to think long and hard before paying in - and even if you do, they should have someone come find you an hour later and repeat that process.
2. Shopping trips
Ever tried squeezing into jeans in a Zara cubicle with a screaming 2-year-old trying to throw himself out of his buggy and a 5-year-old crying on the floor beside you because you said ice creams are for Saturdays, not Thursdays? Yeah? It's less than pleasant. Gone are the leisurely shopping trips where you could browse (God, remember browsing?!) and try on things.
These days, when I HAVE TO buy something (which is a lot less frequent these days anyway), I tend to either do it online or on a Saturday morning. I solve this by literally running, as fast as I can, into the nearest shopping centre while the others are still in their pyjamas at home. Once there, I desperately grab things from racks and hangers, hold them up and do the "that looks like it will fit" once-over, pay and rush back home - in time to get everyone dressed and shipped off to whatever we have on the agenda that day. (And then I have to do the repeat process, only in reverse, the following Saturday, when it turns out that the visual will-it-fit-me test is not as accurate as actually trying things on.)
3. Sunday papers
We stopped buying these when it dawned on us that we never got any further than removing the plastic from the supplements and looking longingly at them in between doing piles of laundry, writing shopping lists, ironing clothes for the week ahead and ferrying kids between birthday bashes and swimming lessons.
4. Solo showers
I struggle to remember what it feels like to be able to take a whole shower without someone watching me, asking questions about my body parts or coming in to use the toilet WHILE I am washing my hair - and then make me climb out of the shower (dripping with shampoo and half-applied body scrub) to wipe their bum when they are done.
Sleep and children: Two things that are pretty much mutually exclusive. If you keep them up a little later to make them sleep in, they wake at 4.45 AM. If you put them to bed at 7 PM on the dot because they need to be awake early in the morning, they cry when you wake them and want to sleep longer. If you are especially tired, they get up especially early. It's just a battle you will never win. It is the Murphy's Law of children (and also I think nature's way of keeping population growth at a manageable level). See point 1 above as well.
6. Long car journeys
I know a lot has been said about the debacle it is to bring children on flights. But MY GOD, how does anyone endure the car journeys?! My in-laws live in Leitrim, and that is just about how far I am willing to venture in a car that also contains my children. There is something about being stuck together in a car that just brings out the worst in people...
Now, I know sunbathing is bad for you anyway (and I DO use a high SPF!), but I just came back from a week in Mallorca and realised that my body had only just about touched the sun-lounger for 16 minutes. Literally; 16 minutes in between sun cream applications, re-applications, chasing toddler between pools, fishing toddler out of the pool when he went in head first, swimming lessons with 5-year-old, mini disco's, pirate clubs, horse-riding lessons, ice cream shopping and sand-castle building.
8. A tidy house
I am Scandinavian. I am obsessed with homes that are nothing but white walls and poured concrete floors, only furnished sparingly with iconic pieces of Danish design. A home that looks like photographers from Elle Decoration are about to walk in and start snapping.
When you have a child - or worse, children - that minimal look becomes pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to achieve. Currently, on my very white, very minimal coffee table, the following has taken up semi-permanent residence: Barbie's Malibu Mansion (all three stories of it), her convertible car, the entire cast of Disney's Cars, a colouring book, crayons, Rainbow Dash (she is a My Little Pony for those of you not in the know), a few Pet Shop pets, stones we picked at the beach in Greystones last weekend, raisins (there is ALWAYS raisins on surfaces in my house) and some Barbie DVD covers (actual DVDs missing). Not very minimal chic.
9. Weekend brunch
It is hard to enjoy your perfectly cooked eggs and frothy latte while trying to help 5-year-old find the pink crayon that rolled under the table (and five more tables to the left) and convince 2-year-old he has to sit in his chair for just FIVE MORE MINUTES. (And then it ends up - as it always does - that we eat in turns, one inhaling their food as quickly as humanly possible while the other lets wriggly toddler run up and down the footpath in front of trendy brunch place before we switch).
10. Taking a sick day
If you have children under five at home, you will nearly always (if we are not talking about a one-foot-in-the-grave situation) be better off in work. Trust me.
11. Watch the news
If it wasn't for my Facebook and Twitter feed, I would literally know NOTHING about what is going on in this world.
12. Rush anywhere
The faster I need to get somewhere, the slower my children move. Always.