1. Lunch with friends
Pre-kids: Meeting at 2.30pm, somewhere buzzy and fun. Getting stuck into a cocktail followed by a bottle of white wine. Chatting so much that the waiter has to ask you three times whether you’re ready to order. Eating leisurely and losing track of time as you catch up.
Post-kids: Meeting at midday (any later and the kids will get hungry and ratty) at a noisy child-friendly place. Ordering off the kids’ menu before you’ve even looked at what you might have. Having snatches of conversation in between helping to colour in (using the complimentary crayons and colouring sheet) and answer the endless “Mummy?” questions. Rushing through lunch before the kids get bored. Sloping off sheepishly after paying because there’s more food on the floor than in the actual kitchen.
2. The clocks going back
Pre-kids: Yesss! You get an extra hour in bed (or when you were a vodka and dancing loving student: Yesss! You get an extra hour in the club)
Post-kids: Argh! They’re technically up an hour early. And you have to somehow get them to go to bed an hour early tonight. (Suddenly, those conversations MPs have about stopping GMT seem appealing.)
3. Bank holidays
Pre-kids: A lie-in followed by a couple of hours in your PJs watching telly, then going to the pub to meet friends, eating a massive pub lunch and drinking wine in the sun until the early evening. Ahh bank holidays, the stuff of dreams.
Post-kids: Getting up the same time as you always do. Having to pay for childcare even though you’re not using it. Heading to the same soft play (if it’s raining) or beach (if it’s sunny) as everyone else on the planet. Fighting the crowds and the queues. Getting stuck in traffic on the way home. Fun times.
4. Having a bath
Pre-kids: You light some candles, put on soothing music, pour in expensive Jo Malone bath oil and sink in with a book. You stay there for at least an hour, and emerge calm and a bit wrinkled.
Post-kids: You light some candles, put on soothing music, pour in expensive Jo Malone bath oil and sink in with a book. Five minutes later, you hear a loud knock at the door and “MUMMY! I NEED A WEE WEE!” You get out, freezing and dripping wet to help your child go to the loo and then pop them back in bed. Is it even worth getting back in again?
Pre-kids: It’s Saturday! That means (after your lie-in natch) a trip to the centre of town for a shopping session. You start off in Topshop for a mooch, you head to H&M and try on four pairs of jeans (they all make your bum look huge) then a quick dive into Primark that actually takes an hour because the changing room queue is so long. Just as well you can have a pit-stop in Starbucks with a nice relaxing cappuccino.
Post-kids: It’s Saturday! After your 6am wake up call (“MUMMY! THE SUN’S UP!”) and a marathon session watching people open Kinder Eggs on YouTube, you walk into town (“Mummy, my legs are tired”) and have to select which two shops you want to go into before your child has a full-on meltdown. Just two shops, now! Choose wisely! You then go to Starbucks and use a babyccino as a bribe whilst trying not to be embarrassed when your child shouts “Mummy! That other mummy’s dress is yucky!”
What else would you add to the list?