Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A Letter To My Childless Former Self

How's your day going? I guess you have been at work, or out with friends, or at home enjoying a bottle of wine with your soon-to-be husband? Lovely.

You will probably have complained at some point today that you are fed up and/or tired. You are not really either of those things. Trust me...

There is so much I want to say to you about the years ahead. And about making the most of now

For starters, please listen to me when I tell you that you have unnecessary body hang-ups. Hips too big. Arms too fat. Dimply thighs. In the not too distant future you will long to have that same body back. You will realise that you were, in actual fact, quite slim. And toned. And the 'orange peel' you spotted was comparable in size to the orange of a borrower. Hardly worth mentioning. Post-children, people will kindly tell you you've 'lost the baby weight.' High fives. But you simply do not grow half a stone of human (twice) and come out looking the same.

One day you will stand half naked in the changing room of H&M (where they have installed both front and rear-view mirrors, thanks H&M) and you will cry. Your tummy will be squishy, those hips you hated so much will have stretch marks on both sides, and all at one you will realise what cellulite really looks like. The dimples are visible through leggings. Who knew? Enjoy that stomach of yours before it carries two babies. Do a starjump and enjoy not worrying about pelvic-floor failure. Invest in nice face creams whilst you can still afford them...

You want more money for those nice things right now. Of course you do - who doesn't? But the truth is, before children, you actually have plenty of it. You have a good job. You go on holiday. You have new clothes. Your hair looks freshly highlighted. You bought a new TV with your bonus from work. Your company car is immense. If you can't be bothered to cook you can spend £20 on Pizza Hut delivery. Twice in one week. You don't truly want for anything. And if you do, you have the ability to put money aside and save for it. The money coming in exceeds the money going out. In time you will come to realise that this was a luxury.

Enjoy this time - you will never get it back 
Because one day soon you will have no luxuries at all. By 2015, your bank balance will be remarkably unhealthy. The 'odd trip to Waitrose' will be a distant memory you laugh about. Because by then you won't even be able to afford to shop at Tesco. This week, the week I am writing to you, you will put your Aldi food shop on the credit card because the bank account is empty. You will no longer go on holiday - in fact you won't even be able to afford to join your sister and family for a weekend at Butlins. Somewhere the Childless You would probably laugh at. The Childless You is actually pretty snobby.

By 2015 you won't have the budget to be snobby. You will check your bank balance daily because you will be genuinely unsure whether or not you can afford to fill your shit car up with petrol. Your hair will get cut twice a year at most. You will never buy nice things for yourself or your husband. Almost every penny of your significantly reduced wages will go on bills, and some months there will be no surplus at all. There will be a deficit. And any money spent on clothes or nice things will always be for the children. Your children will always come first.

Your children. I bet that sounds strange. You are imagining life with two girls, I know you are. You always did think you would have daughters. Well my dear friend, maybe start imagining having sons instead because as it turns out you will have two boys.

I hope I haven't scared you about the lack of money and the stretch marks. You will care about these things a whole lot less than you might anticipate. Your priorities will change forever. Those boys become the centre of your world.
They are so very beautiful. And hilarious. You will laugh a lot.

They are also bloody hard work. And draining. You will cry a lot.

And that tiredness you are feeling now will be blown out of the water in comparison. Did you go out at the weekend? Was it another Hangover Sunday? Well, just a little heads up. HANGOVER SUNDAYS ARE DEAD TO YOU BY 2015. Enjoy them while you still can.

I'm not saying that life gets worse in the years to come. But shit is about to get real. So I want you to capture this child-free moment and bottle it. The lie-ins, the shopping trips, the nights out, the evenings working late in the office uninterrupted and alone because it doesn't matter if you miss teatime. Your life is about to change forever and you should be prepared for that.
The you of the future may be poorer (and knackered) but in equal measure you will feel richer for having discovered what is really important.

For now, please bathe in the glory of your child-free life which is a special time in its own right.

And start doing some pelvic floor exercises.

Love,
Your Future Self (with the benefit of hindsight)
Xx



21 comments:

  1. Love it..how is it we have no money, no nice clothes, no tan lines, but we still have a smile on our face? (Most day's) lol

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah another bit of literature saying how awful it is to have children and how it ruins your life. As an undecided as whether to bring children into this world this takes me 1 step further in the no direction. 90 of all parents posts appear to be about the negatives of having children so why would I...sounds dreadful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nowhere here does it say having kids ruins your life. It actually says the kids are wonderful and funny. But that life before kids would have been appreciated more with the benefit of hindsight. It's an honest reflection.

      Delete
    2. I can only assume you didn't read it. I don't see how you could make the conclusion that it was about kids ruining your life if you actually read it.

      Delete
  3. Re the comment above: not once did the unmumsy mum say having kids is awful and ruins your life. What she does say is that your life is changed forever. Nothing can prepare you for that but whatever tough times you go through, the good times are the best you can ever have. Some days are really dark as new mums doubt every thing they do. Every day is a worry and even when your baby sleeps through, finally, you never can as your brain never switches off so the nights are a worry too. But when you get the giggles back from them and the huge grin when they see you in the morning, you know that however tough it is at times, you wouldn't ever change anything for the world. As a new mum myself and soon to return to work, I know that my life is about to get even more tough and I'll look back at this time off with my boy and wish wish wish I had revelled in it more and how I'll regret not loving every second of it at the time as I know it will have been the best year of my life! Don't ever let reading anything put you off kids- if someone else can make that decision for you by writing of their own experience, bad or good (or both!) then you clearly aren't ready for kids and the emotional rollercoaster they bring. And if reading the unmumsy blog bothers you then don't!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen to that.

      Delete
    2. 100% agree. Great read.

      Delete
  4. Children put life into perspective all the stupid things you worry about before kids don't matter any more. You see them take joy in simple things and it reminds you to do the same. You no longer have the time for self indulgence but whilst sometimes you might wish to pee in peace you really wouldn't change it. Nothing else in life has made me feel as complete nor as out of my depth.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes alot of these comments can be seen as true, but being an 'older Mum' I also look at it another way. I was able to spend money & free time on myself pre children, but once that small bundle is in your arms, believe your priorities change, materialistic things don't matter as much. Making sure that little person gets the best you can provide (not only by money) becomes the most important thing. The rewards of smiles, cuddles etc outdo any hair do, new clothes, whatever. Also as that little person grows, you get so many rewards in return. As the Mother of 2 grown up people who I am extremely proud of I can honestly say every second was worth it, I do not regret anything that I may of 'missed out 'on. And remember your Mother also did it for you. It's what being a Mum is all about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh yes I know it will all be worth it in the end - this post was more for the benefit of those yet to have children, to say 'make the most of now because your life will change forever' - it changes for the better of course :-) thanks for reading.

      Delete
  6. Good luck paying your Aldi supermarket bill with your credit card! I guess you haven't actually shopped there because, if you had, you would know that they only accept cash or debit cards!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.aldi.co.uk/en/about-aldi/useful-information/credit-and-bank-cards-now-accepted/
      Best wishes.

      Delete
    2. Aldi do accept credit but there's a charge....

      Delete
  7. Eugh this lifestyle sounds horrendous :/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's the point. It's real life for the majority of people, but that majority would agree that there's no question over whether it's worth it. They even do it multiple times. Kind of comforting.

      Delete
    2. no just the author does

      Delete
  8. As a young adult with no kids this was a great read. Completely got across that I should appreciate my time now but also well balanced that the change that comes with kids is brilliant. Have read a couple of your posts and find the honesty really refreshing. Perhaps I'll look back when I do have kids. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. As a skint, bedraggled mum of 2 amazing little people, I really enjoyed this blog!

    All The Unmumsy Mum is saying (on behalf of us all) is that you don't know what you've got until its gone. How many of us say we would love to have a word with our school age self? "Best years of your life" etc?
    Do we really want to move back into the box room, live with acne, peer pressure, GCSE's?? No! But would you want to appreciate being mortgage free, having no job, having a home cooked meal every night? Damn right!


    I love my life and kids 100% but if i knew what I knew now I would definitely go on more holidays and bask in the luxury of upright boobs while I had the chance!

    Great blog! Loved it! Xx

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really enjoyed reading this post & many of the unmumsymum's other posts. I am yet to have a child (hopefully this will happen one day) but not for one second did I get from this post that having a child ruins your life. I believe it takes huge courage to be so open & honest about the realities of having children & I think it's shameful for others to criticise someone for being so courageous. Keep the great posts coming unmumsymum.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am a newly wed, without children. I am also a Midwife. I am desperate to be a mother one day, but am in no hurry what so ever. I think this blog is amazing, I am finding it such wonderful reading and it is helping me to look forward to having children one day but at the same time is helping me to appreciate what I have now, and to make sure that we are both ready before embarking on the adventure together. For what it's worth, I think you sound like you are doing a wonderful job and you seem to be able to see the humour in amongst the dark times. I hope I can do that when my time comes. Absolutely loving the blog. xx

    ReplyDelete