When you become a mother for the first time you really are not aware of some of the things you are required to give up. Whether it’s because you prefer to dream and live in denial or whether it’s a matter of people just not telling you, one thing is certain, the “trade-ins” we are forced to embrace are plenty. As much as we have tried our best to not allow kids to change every aspect of our lives, the reality is that we have had to make sacrifices. Some big and some small, but all of which give us the title Mom. Whether you are a first time, second time around or an expectant mom, here are some trade-ins you can expect.
1. Sit down dinners for picnic lunches and take.aways. While you’re at it you might as well trade in your cutlery and get used to eating with one hand. And you are going to have to accept your partners offer to help cut up your food. (For the first few months anyway)
2. Your gorgeous little convertible for a station wagon. Yes you might as well get the trade over and done with now. Chances are you are going to have more kids and the need for space, you will soon discover, out ways the need for style. Do yourself a favor and accept your soccer mom status now. And accept too the fact that your car will never know the word clean.
3. A clean house for chaos. There really is no point in picking up those scatter cushions 100 times a day and arranging the Tupperware in color co-coordinated plies. You are going to drive yourself nuts. I’m still one of those people who love order and feng shui in a house, but i’ve learnt there is something quite liberating in not sweating the small stuff. As long as there are no pooh nappies greeting guests at the front door and no peanut butter on the walls, im learning to not be so anal.
4. Designer handbags for large nappy bags and school back packs. While there is absolutely no excuse for some of the hideous nappy bags out there, none will quite satisfy your stylish handbag fetish like a designer one. Hell, a normal little sling bag is all I aimed to get back to. And don’t even try using both, before you know it, your car keys will be at the bottom of your nappy bag stuck to a sticky spoon and that dirty nappy will somehow have found its way into your sweet little Gucci number. At least if you stick to the same bag, you know to put your car keys and cell phone in the side pocket.
5. Dancing in clubs for dancing in the living room. Its funny the things we do to make our kids laugh. I love the scene in friends when Ross and Rachel sing the song I like big butts and cannot lie while shaking their hips in circles to make Emma laugh. I’ve found myself breaking into a sweat with a particularly embarrassing dance routine every time my son ate his veggies.
6. Cinemas for DVDs on the couch. This is quite a nice trade to embrace, especially on cold winter nights. As much as those dinner and movie dates with your man will be missed in the early days, sometimes the thought of staying in pjs and ordering a pizza is far more appealing. I’ve even had my man go the distance to create a proper cinema experience at home by going to our local movie house to pick up proper popcorn and that dreadful machine coca cola. That’s romance for you.
7. Late nights for early mornings. There is nothing worse than waking up early after a big night out to see to your young. It’s even worse when you are still waking up 3 times a night to feed. In my mind, it just isn’t worth it. And you will most definitely regret having that last shooter at the bar before you left. As you arrive home, usually just in time for the next feed (if you have expressed a bottle or two for the baby in your absence) you will know what I”m talking about. Nothing worse than the taste of tequila repeating itself hours later. And the guilt that creeps in as you look into your baby’s eyes:.. Well I wont even go there. Trust me, go to bed early and play catch up with the party vibe a little later. When they can stay at the grandparents for the night.
8. Pottery classes for play dough. I loved art when I was young. Especially pottery classes I took all through high school and just before having my son I remember seriously considering adult classes. Well that all changed. Now days my clay molding skills go as far as making hand-made kitty cats and coil bowls. And lets face it, that goes for most hobbies we are forced to abandon for a while.
9. Heels and designer stilettos for pumps. Yes there’s a time and place for everything and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be able to look sexy from time to time. But come on; let’s not try to be overly ambitious. Negotiating kids, prams, groceries, nappy bags, house keys, bottles and dummies is hard enough in flats. I know Victoria Beckam seems to make walking in 10 inch stilettos carrying a baby look easy (and so flipping gracious) but I faced the music a long time ago. I aint no Posh Spice. If you refuse to allow your feet to be downgraded so, it might be a wise idea to invest in a really good pair of Steve Madden pumps or Wedges. And if you are one of those loonies who feel your shoes have feelings, talk to them nicely and tell them it’s not good-bye forever. Just good-bye for now.
10. Sex for teamwork. Sex may take a back seat, as we explored in my post Three in the bed, but don’t underestimate the power of teamwork. When implemented well in a corporate environment, we see the outstanding results it can have. Why do we seem so quick to dismiss the same ethic in our homes with raising kids? Remember to treat your spouse with the same level of respect as you would a client or colleague and it will go a long way! You may find that because you are working so well as a team, you are far less likely to be irked and annoyed with each other and more inclined to be sweet and affectionate in the less stressful times. Carry each other through the crazy times with love and respect and the passion should make its way back into the bedroom in no time. And then it’s just a mater of negotiating the timing.
11. Hot soaks for lukewarm baths. I gave up long ago the novelty of calling anything my own. Flip, the cheese sandwich I made myself for lunch was hijacked the second it touched my lips. I don’t even have a space specially assigned for my things. In â€˜my’ draw for hair things (dryer, GHD, brushes etc:) I will more often than not find a truck, some blocks, a few dirty pieces of play dough and an old vienna sausage. But one thing I’ve really struggled to let go of is my HOT bath. It’s the one thing I usually go down fighting for and my husband usually helps by insisting he take Noah out the bath if we are bathing together so I can steam up the bathroom. Or I wait until Noah has gone to sleep. But most of the time I’m too easily drawn in to the Mama:.. bath? Come mama awso bath. Come sit in dere mummy! he says pointing to the place in the bath next to him. How do I say no to that? And before I know it I’m a shriveled prune and just dying to get out and have a hot bowl of soup.
12. Friends for family. It can be a tough lesson to learn, to see who your real friends really are. And while most friends stick around and show their support, at the end of the day it’s your family who are, more than ever before, REALLY present in the thick of it all. I have been lucky to have friends who are as close as family and these are the people I’m talking about too. You may have to accept that certain friends will pop up again later when things have settled, some may fade into the nearby distance and some you may consciously decide to let go of. This is a time when you make choices, not only for yourself, but for your family. Doing a friendship spring clean of all those people who at the end of the day, don’t build you up and understand your new role as a parent and all its demands, is something you may need to do. I for one want authentic friendships. No bull crap. I want to love my friends and family hard. And I love it when they do the same, without question. Without drama.
So at the end of the day I may be a stay-at.messy-home mom who wears flat pumps, drives a second-hand station wagon and whose choice of DVD is still considered (to her and hubs) a new release. And yes, I may make killer play dough sculptures and dance to the Frozen theme tune while I order take aways for a romantic date night. But, would I trade my trade -ins? Would I give any of them up to have back what I used to consider to be ALL that? I most certainly would not.