Back before I had kids, and even when I was pregnant, the Hubs and I used to talk about how we would never let parenthood significantly change our lifestyle. We thought for sure that all these people with kids who no longer had lives were just doing it wrong and that we would be different.
Are you laughing at how delusional we were? You should be, because parenthood completely throws your life into a tailspin. If you think kids aren't going to dramatically change your lifestyle then you must be planning to pay someone else to watch them...24 hours a day.
1. You will eat dinner at 5pm (or earlier). It is pretty much guaranteed that you will find yourself at a restaurant eating dinner while other patrons are still finishing their lunch. You would've been horrified at the idea of eating before 8pm prior to having kids, but now you are thrilled to eat the Early Bird Special if it means your child will go to bed at 7pm and leave you alone for a few hours to watch Game of Thrones while you drink a glass of wine.
2. You stick to a schedule and you do not deviate from it for anyone. Your childless self thought that people like you were just party-pooper control freaks. Now that you have a child who you really, really want to sleep, you understand the value of maintaining a routine for your offspring. Guess what's more fun than a flag football game that starts at 11:30am? Your kid sleeping through the night. If it's scheduled during nap time, you're RSVPing "No".
3. Last call is 9:30pm. You know what I used to be known for? Closing down a bar. The only thing that slowed me down was trying to walk in heels after six drinks. If you were having a party I would be there and I would stay until the bitter end, and I swore up and down that having a kid would not change that. I may still be fun, but only if your party starts at 5:30 and ends at 9pm, because my kids don't care if I've had a late night. They still get up at 7am, whether Mommy's slept it off or not. So the only bar I'll be "closing down" is the one in my living room, and last call is at 9:30.
4. You dread traveling. Traveling the world used to be your thing. Exotic locales, tropical breezes, and international destinations are thrilling...until you have kids. I can barely handle packing up all the crap I need just to take my kids to the neighborhood park, so there is no way I'm going to be jetsetting anytime soon with two little ones in tow. Traveling is like the trifecta of parenting Hell: your children are off of their routines, in an unfamiliar environment without all of their favorite toys and food stuffs, and the time is different. Crossing the International Date Line is a recipe for lost sleep. I would rather jab my eyes out with a hot poker than take a plane trip across the world with my children. Last I checked, vacation is supposed to be relaxing, so therefore it shouldn't involve taking kids along.
5. You will want to sleep more than you want to have sex. Way, way back, when I still had perky boobies and lots of energy and no children I never imagined that there would come a time when I would prefer sleep over sex. Oh, I was so young and naive and well rested! Sleep is a precious, endangered commodity in the jungle of parenthood, and you need as much of it as you can hoard. There will be plenty of opportunity for sexy times when you're well rested and not in danger of falling asleep before you climax.
The reality is that once you have kids, life as you know it is thrown completely on its head. But please, tell me how you're going to be different, and I'll smile and nod and look forward to running into you at my local sushi restaurant at 4:45pm.