- The constant need to eat – anything loaded with sugar is particularly appealing. You expect this when you’re pregnant or when you’ve got a new baby to feed; but you think it will have calmed down by the time you have 4 and 2 year olds.
It doesn’t – as your children get more demanding, you just get hungrier. I am lucky enough to get a free hot lunch at work – a major perk that I enjoy a bit too much. I sit with colleagues who tell me they won’t be eating an evening meal that night – apparently their lunch will see them through. Excuse me? I arrive home desperate for some sugar, after which I polish off any leftovers from the boys’ tea and then eat my own (hot) meal when they’re in bed. Sometimes followed by half a pack of crackers.
- Finding yourself at 11pm in a sitting room that resembles a ransacked supermarket, staring at a television screen which is telling you that CBeebies has now gone to bed and will be back at 6am, because you’re too tired to a) tidy up b) see if there is anything more meaningful to watch than the CBeebies memo c) get ready for bed, which is the most exhausting job of all.
- Taking a few moments to process any questions that aren’t about your children. You will probably find yourself staring blankly at the person who has asked you the question, before realising you’re supposed to say something. By which time they’ve probably walked off.
- Quite enjoying a trip to the doctor’s – it’s a change of scene, the children’s waiting area is not dissimilar to being at a playgroup, and there’s a whole new room for them to explore / destroy when you get in the consulting room. When you’ve got several small people to get out the door, anything counts as a family outing.
- Pulling boys’ pants out of your handbag when you’re at the hairdresser’s (without your children).
- Laundry being a permanent feature of your home – there are laundry baskets in most rooms, racks of shirts hanging over the doors and piles of clothes on any available surfaces. You are beyond caring that you have guests coming and your underwear is on display in the kitchen.
- Attempting to drape a scarf strategically over both shoulders because, having arrived at work thinking you look quite presentable, you’ve realised you have a combination of sick, drool and Weetabix on both shoulders.
I would say my standards have definitely slipped in the last five years.