What used to be a gentle, loving touch in bed under the covers is now a nudge—sometimes a full-on kick—to prompt your partner to attend to a crying child. “You got him this time?” “Huh?” “You got him this time?” “Oh … yea, I guess. Have you been up with him tonight?” “Yes, three times.”
Date night used to begin at 8 p.m., with a dinner reservation at 9, and end with a cab ride back home at an undetermined time b/c you were too drunk to see your watch. After kids, date night starts at 5:30 p.m. to avoid feeding the kids their dinner, because EVERY … SINGLE … MEAL with children is a battle over vegetables, manners, and needing something every two and a half minutes. The date ends at 9:30 to avoid a hangover with three screaming kids the next morning, and because, well, you’re freaking exhausted. Though, you wait in the driveway until 10 so your 19-year-old babysitter doesn’t think you are completely lame.
Sex before kids would happen anytime, anywhere, and often. After kids, sex is only in a locked bedroom and is scheduled like an adult playdate.
Relaxing before kids was a day at the spa for the women and a golf getaway for the men. After kids, relaxing is driving to the grocery store by yourself and listening to your own music as loud as you can.
Before kids, you didn’t give bathroom time a second thought. You went when you had to go and that was that. Bathroom time after kids is a community event—if and when you finally get there.
Before kids, you wouldn’t have stepped foot in a chain restaurant like Red Robin, Applebee’s, or Olive Garden. After kids, the waiters in those restaurants will immediately bring you your favorite adult beverage with crayons and balloons for your kids, whom they call by name. You will leave a 30 percent tip, because you tip a percent for each piece of food and broken crayon under your table.
Before kids, vacations were on a whim and to fabulous places with bed and breakfasts and 5-star restaurants. After kids, vacations are … gosh, you know, I can’t even answer this one. Vacations aren’t yours anymore, so I don’t even count them. A vacation with kids is so much more work than just staying home, that it’s not worth going. And, to take a trip without the kids requires so many logistics—not to mention people you can trust to care for your kids and who will not be driven mentally insane after 24 hours of being with them. You don’t actually realize how difficult that is to find.
Now realize that this is coming from a mom, who is nearing 40 with three children ages 4 and under. I still hold out hope that some of our pre-kid experiences will come back to us one of these years. I just pray I still have my sanity and an ounce of energy left when it does happen. So, you kidless DINKs out there (Dual Income, No Kids), don’t ever let any of your friends with kids tell you that your life doesn’t have to change. However, as painful as all of this seems, I doubt there is one parent in the universe that would give it up for their old life. God love those little monsters!
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