The true cost of parenting

Before the kids arrived (a rather polite way of putting it), my husband and I would think nothing of spending ridiculous amounts of money at the weekend, always eating out, drinking far too much and lazing around in bed.  It was a shallow and meaningless lifestyle that always had nothing to show for it on a Sunday, apart from a blocked toilet from the Indian the night before, a sleep/drink hangover and severe bed/head ache.  If we’d actually saved some of that money, instead of frivolously whittling it down the toilet, we could have cleared half our mortgage by now.  Apart from the Jeremy Kyle style drunken arguments down the street and pissing myself a few times, I enjoyed every moment.

Birthday presents consisted of nice things and more meals out.  Visiting friends was a relaxed affair that meant more consumption of alcohol, listening to music loudly and talking bollocks until the wee small hours.

Holidays were sunny and carefree, often looking at all the parents that had inconveniently brought their kids to make the airplane journey hell, screaming and shouting annoyingly around the pool (the parents, not the kids) and whinging incessantly because the sand was too hot down the beach (the kids, not the parents). Oh, how we judged those parents to within an inch of our lives.  The selfish bastards.

Work was a career.  I revelled in it.  Lived and breathed it.  Travelling two hours each way to get to my well paid job in London.  Yeah, I suffered with monthly kidney infections because of the stress (and probably lifestyle) to the point that my left kidney now only functions at 17% but hey, I’ve got two of ’em.  So what?

So what’s changed?  Well, I still piss myself but that’s for different reasons now. Apart from that, I’d say pretty much everything.  But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The thought of living without alcohol used to scare me a bit.  That’s such a sad thing to say but it’s true.  Now, the thought of having a hangover whilst two small children climb all over my head from 5am till 7pm scares the living bejebus out of me.  Having a conversation with a 3 year old whilst hanging out your rear-end, literally makes your brain synapses spasm.  Long gone are the days of pushing through the drink wall where you know you’ve had too much but aren’t quite dribbling incoherently enough so you heroically push on, ordering doubles just to man yourself up.  I can actually stop myself from drinking too much now.  I have control.  I think that’s quite a positive achievement and must have saved a bit of cash, and probably a kidney.

Meals out are rare but don’t often descend into a night of chaos and debauchery.  I can remember them.  Enjoy the flavours and the conversation.  Our tastes are more discerning and cultured.  We splash out on restaurants with om-bee-once (thank you, Micky) instead of Frankie & Benny’s or TGI Fridays (oh, how we loved our Friday night Frankie & Benny’s).  Plus, I get to judge the shit out of the yoof, walking past the window to the pub, in their ridiculous get up without a hint of regard for an invisible panty line or well-fitting bra.

Holidays…well, we haven’t actually tried that yet but next week, for the first time in 5 years, we’ll be back on a plane and will be the joyous parents with screaming kids. No doubt, the Boy will insist on poking his pokey finger into every crevice and fiddling with every switch in the cockpit, along the aisles, in the toilets, in other peoples’ belongings. I’ll let you know how that goes…

Unfortunately, most of the money saved on not getting drunk and eating kebabs has been eaten up by the drop in wages and cost of childcare. I’m less enthused by the working day but do enjoy the peace and quiet.  I still dream of work-related projects every now and then, but just like my ambition to travel the world, it’s been gently put on the back burner.  One day.  When I can be bothered.

The biggest cash saver though has to be presents.  No longer requiring expensive gifts, the husband just wants a blow job or even a hand job; any kind of inside trouser job will do.  I long for something that is as rare as chicken teeth. The Lie In. In fact, The Lie In becomes an extremely valuable commodity.  It has roughly the value of Queenie’s pay rise and you have to negotiate hard to earn The Lie In.   The Gift Lie In has rules though.  No just staying in bed whilst listening to the chaos unfolding downstairs until you angrily throw the covers back and stomp downstairs like a hormonal teenager.  The Gift Lie In is a proper, silent affair.  The kids fully removed from the premises for about two hours. Any longer and the worry sets in, but just long enough to sneak in a soak in a toy-free bubble bath. Bliss.

We are still are no closer to paying off the mortgage but life has got a bit more interesting with a little more to show for it, and still, two functioning kidneys.

5 thoughts on “The true cost of parenting

  1. Oh, I totally feel you on these things. “Now, the thought of having a hangover whilst two small children climb all over my head from 5am till 7pm scares the living bejebus out of me” – yes!! The idea of getting dressed to go out to a club or a bar and to drink myself silly does NOT appeal to me. 1) I think to myself, nobody has time for that! If I have that much extra time, I’ll use it for a nap. Or to write. Or to catch up on housework. 2) It doesn’t sound fun at all. I’d rather punch a bee’s nest than to be hungover and dealing with a toddler. And oh, the Lie In. The Lie In . . .

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