Is there life after kids?

Or can a parent have a normal existence once they’ve spawned a mini human of their very own???

If you are reading this and already answering a resounding “YES” in your heads, I congratulate you. You’ve clearly managed the impossible complete separation of personal and professional life without and residual backlash, and deserve to become Emperors of the world in order to show the rest of us mere mortals how this MAGIC is achieved.

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I suspect, however, like almost all parents I know and I’ve asked, the answer is emphatically “NO” along with a huge list of reasons including childcare, self-imposed guilt, pressure from employers & colleagues, homework, extra-curricular clubs, family and many many more which grow week by week.

How often do you (or you and your OH if you have one) sit down and figure out if you are making the best use of the time you’re spending together as well as apart?

Are you putting to much emphasis on filling up your kids time after school with football/ballet/piano/swimming/maths/baton twirling lessons under the pretext of it being ‘important for their development and social skills’ when what they REALLY need is time playing at home with a friend from next door so you can have a coffee with so-and-so’s mum instead of catching up with your paperwork or your other child’s homework while you wait at the relevant class!

And if you aren’t working, what about all that time spent doing housework, laundry, shopping, watching ‘daytime tv’ or binging on boxsets from Netflix (come on, I know you do it)

All you’re doing is taking yourself away from opportunities to meet others and find things in common, apart from kids – maybe join a local book club, or volunteer at an care home – something which you can make use of the skills you valued for so long before you had your little darlings ?

Have you thought about how you’d approach a new conversation?

Is that a concern? I know it was for me. I felt, for many years that I had nothing in common with other people in clubs, organisations etc and avoided going to them, as it was difficult to get into any kind of conversation WITHOUT it defaulting back to my kids, my role as carer for my ex etc and I really didn’t want that. As a result I totally isolated myself with one exception, the church choir within which I’d grown up in from the age of 5 and knew that I would be accepted, no matter what. But eventually even that too became something I avoided.

So I did become alone. No life outside of my children. I didn’t work until my (then youngest) was almost 6, and it was massively difficult for my ex to handle the change, which meant that the entire family was impacted unnecessarily.

I’m still paying the price for my choices nearly a decade later. So my advice is this,

  • Make time for human interaction outside your family as often as possible.
  • Don’t fill your child’s life up with endless clubs/classes – they will not thank you in the long run.
  • Set aside specific time for chores – exceptions to be made only in emergencies. This way your family get used to knowing when things need to be in the basket.

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