I was casually flicking through the news whilst stirring the tea and putting the dishes away and I stumbled across a survey that Asda complied that had the Top 50 things that give you away as a parent. I laughed at many of them (there is not a bodily fluid that you cannot handle) and rolled my eyes at others, but it got me thinking about the drastic way me and my friends have changed since becoming parents. So I decided to compile my own list – From Singleton to Parenthood in 10 easy steps.
1. 9pm bedtime
Once upon a time no night out started before 9pm (not including the pre-party warm up), but these days the only party a parent heads to is a slumber party by 9pm, because let’s face it, it is the only chance of getting a few hours sleep before you are woken up by being kicked off the bed or by having a small person open your eye and tell you that it is time to get up…at 1 in the morning.
There are no two ways around this…you will never have the chance to be Elsa when you have a child in the car (unless you find yourself secretly singing along to Let it go when no one else is around).
3. The night out (part 1)
You have a babysitter, you’ve bought a new dress, you have the whole night to do as you please…so by 8pm you’ve ordered a takeaway and you’ve decided that an early night catching up on reading is much more appealing than a night out discussing the bills and your child.
4. The night out (part 2)
On the odd occasion you and you parent friends find a gap in your diary you find that one of two things happen – 1) you drink the first two drinks so fast that you are slurring through stories of the first few months of being a parent (even if your child is old enough to have left home) or 2) you sip your spritzer so that it lasts you all night whilst texting the babysitter (your mother) every ten minutes to see how your child is coping without you and constantly wishing you were at home (see point above). This is usually because once the excitement of going out has past you have the cold harsh realisation that a hangover and a child do not mix!
This used to be the place to build a career, to prove that you could be important and make a difference. Now it is somewhere you go to have a few hours to yourself, eat a warm meal and pee in peace!
6. The art of singing
You used to be the Queen of one liners and put downs. You could adapt your tone to suit any audience. Now, everything is sung…like you are starring in your own 24 hour 7 day a week Disney film. “Do you want to have some to-ast…shall we put the butter onnnnn….you never answer any more, you slam the door…now tell me what is wrooonnngggg???”
7. The Look
We all have “the look”. When we were single it was a smouldering pouty number. Once we realised we were stuck with him it became more of a gritted teeth, permanent eye roll. Once the apples of your eye turned up it became a manic happy, smiley look tinged with a weary expression because you have to manage expectations every minute of the day whilst trying not to scream because the over-use of your name is driving you to a breakdown. The new look is always accompanied with a patronising voice…one you never seem to shake, even when talking to your boss.
8. The Handbag
Purse, lip gloss, phone…wet wipes, crayons, melted chocolate bar, leaky fruit shoot!!
9. Planning and Organising
Nothing screams ‘parent’ like a woman who can plan 18 months in advance, has every birthday card written and stored in a diary and a bag full of wrapped presents and has school places booked 18 months prior to the child attending school.
10. Girly talk
The culture of TMI (too much information) was created by women after the second bottle of wine. Boyfriends, bad dates, fashion downfalls have now been moved aside and after that second bottle (point 4 – point 1), we are as comfortable talking about breastfeeding, child birth and stitches in minute detail as we are about telling that story about being so drunk that we once danced like a tree in a storm to impress a man!