It goes without saying that life as a married mother of two varies significantly from my former life as a single and free city girl, but I’ll say it anyway: MAN, has life changed. There are some MAJOR changes, like the fact that two little terrorists cherubs depend on me totally and completely for everything that they want and need. There are also subtle changes that I don’t really notice until I’m talking to one of my single BBFs: you’re going to scuba diving, to work, to happy hour, to yoga, and out to dinner? All in one night? That sounds fabulous. That also sounds completely exhausting.
Comparing day-to-day tasks with my single friends really highlights how different my life is with two littles and a husband in tow.
Grocery shopping when you’re single is annoying for various reasons. 1. I’m too busy tending to my social life to learn to cook. Why do I persist in needing things like toilet paper and almond milk for my smoothies? 2. All these screaming and crying babies in here! WTF! All these dead beat mothers need to get their kids in line before I have a nervous breakdown.
Grocery shopping when you’re married with kids is still annoying but for different reasons. 1. I’m too busy tending to the needs of these people I created to spend an hour at a time in this place. 2. If I don’t get whatever we need today, I will have to revisit this nightmare sometime this week so I’m going to stuff everything we could ever possibly need into this cart and try not to faint when the cashier tells me my total. 3. All these screaming and crying babies in here! WTF! Don’t these women know that we came grocery shopping to escape our own screaming and crying babies?
After Dinner Plans
My single friends have a whole part of the day I don’t even get to experience. It’s called “after dinner” and it’s a mythical land of productivity.
Them: After dinner I’m going to watch every episode of Friends on Netflix
Them: After dinner I’m going to finish up my grad school project
Them: After dinner I’m going to meet the girls for drinks
Them: After dinner I’m going to discover the meaning of life…and cure cancer
I don’t believe that getting married and having kids took the productivity out of my nighttime hours; for as long as I can remember my nightly ritual has involved half a bottle of wine, reality TV, and social media stalking browsing. The difference now is that dinner looks like a mad dash to bedtime with baths, stories, and kisses in between. After the babies are in bed, it’s all business: cleanup, dishes, laundry, repeat. Our After Dinner is a real life Ground Hog’s Day….
Me: After dinner I’m going to find myself watching Dora the Explorer an hour after the babies are in bed
Me: After dinner I’m going to make a note of everything I need to get done tomorrow…while watching Dora the Explorer
Me: After dinner I’m going to drink half a bottle of wine alone
Me: After dinner I’m going to have discover how many carbs are in my favorite ice cream…and eat it all anyway
I remember when spontaneity meant going to San Antonio for dinner on a Friday night when I was craving fajitas. I have friends who decide on Wednesday to go to Vegas for the weekend- that weekend! Wow. What freedom!
Now, spontaneity is opening a new bottle of wine at 8:55PM on a Tuesday with full intention of enjoying at least 2 glasses before going to bed. Woo, going to bed after 9:00PM on a work night. Who knows, I might even start a load of laundry while I’m up living on the edge.
My single friends’ car rides consist of two things: 1. Conversations with their relatives or 2. Practicing their karaoke skills. I also know when my friends are bored and in the car because I get calls that sound like this:
Them: Hey! Whatcha doing?
Me *child screaming in background*: Oh just trying to get Annabelle to eat a banana… you?
Them: Nothing…just driving home from work.
*30 seconds of silence*
Them: So whatcha doing?
We try to navigate awkward telephone conversation for a few more minutes- because, let’s be honest, I can text you nonstop every day but talking on the phone is a lost art among us millennials- before they give up and call their grandma to entertain them for the rest of the car ride home. If Grandma doesn’t answer, move over T-Swift, we have a new country crooner in town! I have received more snapchats than my girlfriends will admit of them belting out tunes to songs I don’t even know on their afternoon commute.
Car rides home with your spouse and children typically begin with a kiss and singing nursery rhymes and end with everyone crying, asking to stop for potty breaks, and animal crackers crushed up in car seats. It doesn’t matter if we are going 5 or 500 miles, at least one member of my family is discontent every time we get into a vehicle. There are no phone calls to catch up with anyone, except to schedule that yearly catch up with my gynecologist to ensure there are no more terrorists baking in my oven.
I try not to get too preachy with my single friends when it comes to how hard they think their lives are but it’s hard to stifle my laughter when one of them complains of how tired they are.
Them: *Yawn* I’m sooooo tired. I stayed up until 2:00AM watching Netflix by myself and I have to wake up at 6:30 to get ready for work.
Them: *Yawn* I’m soooo tired. I spent all day running errands around town with my boyfriend. We’re just going to have a quiet night in.
Them: *Yawn* I’m soooo tired. Work was KILLER today. I don’t have the energy to cook dinner so I’m going to pick up Pho on the way home.
Them: *Yawn* I’m soooo tired. I babysat my niece this morning for two hours. I think I’ll nap the rest of the afternoon.
Since becoming a parent, tired has become a way of life. I’m just now coming out of the newborn fog and my youngest is turning a year old this month.
Me: *Yawn* I’m sooooo tired. I was up from 2:00AM until 5:00AM trying to convince the baby to go back to sleep and I have to wake up at 5:15 to get myself and entire family ready for the day.
Me: *Yawn* I’m sooooo tired. I spent all day running errands around town with my husband and babies. We’re just going to referee tantrums and fights for the rest of the night since the babies are overstimulated and overtired.
Me: *Yawn* I’m sooooo tired. Work was KILLER today. I don’t have the energy to cook dinner but the only thing my children will eat is homemade mac and cheese so I’m going to spend the next 2 hours making that.
Me: *Yawn* I’m sooooo tired. I watched my nieces and my own children this morning. I think I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon doing laundry, cooking dinner, and drinking a bottle of wine.
I could have never imagined how different life would like after having babies. I think the thing I miss the most is the ability to pick up and go whenever the urge strikes. Maybe, when everyone is potty trained and less likely to scream bloody murder the entire time we are in the car we will be able to hit San Antonio for dinner again…maybe. It’s fun to have friends who are in different seasons of life and it’s fun to sometimes live vicariously through their extravagance or spontaneity. Before having babies, I would have never imagined being content with nights spent at the house, watching Dora and reading picture books. Now, I can barely remember what life was like before. To sum it up: Yes, life sure is different. It’s better.
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