This week my twins turn two. I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by. It seems like just yesterday I was bringing them home from the hospital. It’s been a wild ride. Looking back, my life is very different that it was a few years ago. Here are the Top 10 changes I seen in my life since becoming a parent.
10. Red Lights
Red lights use to be these obstacles in my day that just slowed me down. Whenever I was in a hurry (which was always), the traffic light would turn red. Now I’m looking for red lights as opposed to avoiding them. Why? Red lights are an opportunity for me. They are an opportunity to pick up whatever toys the twins have dropped. It’s a chance to stop the fights between the twins in the back seat. And did I mention the naps I take at red lights? 😉
9. Car Contents
Speaking of my car, the contents of my car have really changed. In the past my car has been know to house numerous work files that I carried home to work on after hours, extra change of clothes in case I went out directly from work, and an extra jacket. Nowadays, my car is home to two car eats, window shades, and a gazillion toys. You’ll find french fries all over the back seat, along with some juice stains. My trunk, which once only carried my emergency kit, now houses a double stroller, an extra diaper bag, portable booster seats and more toys.
Before children, I considered one of my greatest assets at the office to be my ability to multi-task. I could work on two or three critical projects at the same time, meeting all my deadlines. I didn’t know what multi-tasking was until I became a mother. Now I can simultaneous prepare lunch, find a missing toy, stop a fight, let the dogs out, answer the phone and clean up at least two messes. Occasionally, I even get a chance to eat.
7. Dining Out
Although I’m a finicky eater, my husband and I have always been up for trying new restaurants. At the drop of a hat, we could meet friends for dinner. Now, we don’t go to any restaurant unless they have a children’s menu. The restaurants where the kids eat free are even better. Not to mention it takes us a good half hour to 45 minutes to leave the house once we’ve decided that we are going to eat out. And let’s not even talk about gear. Dining out requires us to bring diapers and wipes of course, but also bibs, snacks (in case there’s a wait), toys (we don’t want the twins to be bored, other patrons hate us then) and juice in sippy cups (in case the restaurant doesn’t have kid-friendly cups).
My husband and I used to take very active, outdoorsy vacations like cycling in Santa Fe, kayaking in Alaska or hiking in the mountains. We liked romantic little inns or luxury hotels. We didn’t mind if they were a little out of the way, we’d just enjoy the drive. As I planned our vacation this summer I was focusing on hotels that offered lots of things for toddlers to do. The hotel must be centrally located to everything we plan to do. No sense keeping the twins in the car any longer than we have to. We are actively seeking out activities focused on the children — children’s museums, hands-on activities, theme parks. And we must be in close proximity to some of those child-friendly dining establishments. Did I mention we’ll be having breakfast with Elmo this year?
In the past you’d find me cruising along in my car rocking to Aerosmith or George Thorogood. You might have even caught me in the house dancing around to Shania Twain or Brian Setzer. Today if you check my stereo, you’ll find Playhouse Disney or the CDs from my children’s music class. I ride down the road jamming to nursery rhymes and Dan Zanes. Long gone are the days when I stood in line for Bon Jovi tickets or tailgated at a Jimmy Buffet concert. This week I ordered tickets for The Wiggles and next weekend we are going to see Sesame Street Live.
4. Must See TV
Must See TV used to mean that my friends and I would gather at one of our houses to catch the latest episode of our favorite show. In college, I remember having drinking games to 90210 or Melrose Place. After college, Must See TV meant that we tried to not to got out on the nights of our favorite shows or, if we did, we taped/DVRed them. Nowadays, Must See TV means the DVR is full and we must see it now or delete it so I can record Little Einsteins for the twins.
3. Bleary-Eyed Mornings
I’ve had my fair share of bleary-eyed mornings. Sometimes I was up all night cramming for an exam or finishing a big project for work. Sometimes my husband and I had a “blockbuster night” and stayed up watching all our favorite movies. More often, my husband and I had been out late with friends enjoying good conversations and very good cocktails. These days my bleary eyes are directly related to the four little feet in our house. First the middle of the night feedings were the cause, then came the nighttime waking and night terrors. Now that the twins are in toddler beds, we hear the patter of little feet as they head into our room for comfort in the middle of the night.
2. Sex Life
Before children, for my husband and I, sex was very spontaneous (I’ll spare you the details). Now, we have moved to “quickie sex,” as in quick before I fall asleep or quick before the kids wake up. And it always seems like the kids know just when we’re in the mood, because that’s when they don’t want to fall asleep or stay asleep. And even worse, they’ll tag team us. First my daughter will be up and just when we get her settled in, my son will wake up.
1. Enjoying Life
When I was in high school, I worked my butt off to get good grades and get into college. In college, I worked three jobs to pay for school. All the while, keeping my grades up and working on any project/internship that might help me get a good job. Once I was out of college and had the job, I continued to work hard trying to climb the corporate ladder. My husband and I waited nine years after we were married to have kids so that we both had good jobs and a house and everything we needed to provide for them. But now that I’ve had my children, they’ve given me the opportunity to stop and really enjoy life. I can spend a hour just working on puzzles or stacking blocks with the twins. The other day we went for a walk and stopped to pick daffodils, the kind you blow the little seeds off. While we wait for daddy to pay for groceries, the twins and I stop in the florist department to smell the flowers.
The twins have reminded my husband and I why we’ve been working so hard. So now we are taking time out to enjoy life more. We get to see the world again through the eyes of a child. And that by far is the biggest and best change I’ve had since becoming a parent.