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50 things you don't have time for now that you're a mother

September 7th 2014 / Emma Bartley / 3 comments


Makeup, eyebrow-plucking, drinks that are actually hot... it all falls by the wayside after you have a baby

1. Sleep. Obviously.

2. Sex. Mercifully.

3. Hot drinks. If you’re lucky, you’ll manage a swig while it’s still lukewarm.

4. Showers. Improbable but true. I cunningly organised a 9am nap so I could shower while my newborn slept, but my friend Vicky had to be taken aside BY HER OWN MOTHER and informed that she smelled of BO.

MORE GLOSS: The 10 biggest lies that mums tell their non-mum friends

5. Culture. Apart from box sets, on which you have become a world authority.

6. Fashion. “I remember walking past shops when pregnant thinking that as soon as I'd had the baby I'd buy myself a lovely new wardrobe,” says my friend Christina. “I now realise I'm going to be wearing the same clothes forever.”

7. Cleaning. This summer my house has hosted rats, mice, ants and, one mystifying occasion, a snail in the dining room.

8. (Non-parenting) books.

9. The toilet. You might think you’ve got stress incontinence because your pelvic floor is weaker. In fact, it’s because you drink coffee for nine hours straight and don't even think about going to the loo until you're having a sneezing fit at a pedestrian crossing and - oops - it's too late.

10. Conflict resolution. If you see my husband, tell him I’m not speaking to him.

11. Ironing. The time once devoted to this has now been reallocated to stain removal.

12. Fringe trims. Seriously. I can barely see.

13. Waxing. Continuing on current trajectories, my bikini line will meet my fringe some time in the next two weeks.

14. Finishing conversations. “So I opened the door and there was Brad Pitt, wearing only his swimming trunks and asking if I had any – RUFUS! GET DOWN FROM THE DRINKS CABINET!”

15. Magazines. Can you even remember what it was like to hold one of these?

16. Exercise.

MORE GLOSS: How to lose weight when breastfeeding

17. Any hope of knowing simultaneously where your phone, keys and wallet are. All way down the list of items you can’t leave the house without, below nappies, muslins, feeding cups, changes of clothes, Freddie the Firefly and Sophie the Giraffe.

18. Insurance policy renewal. Troubling, in light of 17.

19. Blow-drying. Brushing is a bonus.

20. Solitude. “I cherish the two minutes I get to go to the loo when someone else is looking after them,” says my friend Sarah. I know, right? Sarah is luuuuucky. A solo loo visit would be like a spa break for me.

21. Spontaneity. Remember when you could just “pop” to the shops? Or organise a last-minute city break? Or meet after work for drinks?

22. Gardening. Tell everyone the rampant weeds are “a meadow”.

23. Handwash items. Goodbye, cashmere.

24. A nice bath. Baths run by me since the birth of my daughter: 427. Baths taken by me: 0. (I once tried getting in with the baby, but she immediately took a dump. I got the message.)

25. Professionalism.

26. Voicemails. If it’s for work, you might listen to it on speakerphone two days later (see above). If it’s your mum – DELETE.

27. Home baking. How did motherhood ever become associated with trays of cupcakes? I consider it a great achievement if I make it to Marks & Spencer.

28. Community spirit. I'm just about willing to take a parcel for next door, but the Residents' Association can forget it.

29. Travel. This must be why people buy caravans.

30. Thank-you cards. How do people churn so many of these out? When my daughter was born I decided to start with the most random people - my work colleague’s mum who’d knitted a cardigan - and work backwards. Which is why all the ones for our closest friends are still sitting, unsent, in a drawer and my mother-in-law is probably still wondering whether we got the clothes.

31. Highlights. Thank heaven for the dip-dye trend.

32. Food I’m so sick of meal planning at this point, I’d rather not bother than make one just for myself.

33. Illness. Not that you don’t get ill, you just have to ignore it. (See also 41)

34. A social life. Although at least this reduces the risk of…

35. Hangovers. **Shudder**

36. Eyebrow-plucking. Deprioritised because, thanks to hormonal change, you have your upper lip to keep on top of as well now.

37. Diets.

38. Makeup. Apart from on public transport. I’m so used to doing mine on the Tube on the way to wherever I’m going, I don’t think I could actually do liquid liner on dry land any more.

39. Birthdays. Mine, yours, those of beloved family members.

40. Price comparisons. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it. Just don’t make me do more research.

41. Man flu. “Before kids I'd buy treats, be loving and caring whenever my husband was ill,” says Becky. “Now I just want to kill him and end all of our suffering.”

42. Learning anything that isn't to do with babies.

43. Procrastination. Do it now, or forget it forever.

44. Pedicures. You might not want to take your shoes off for a year or so. Recently, I changed my toenail polish while my friend Corina was over and the nail on my big toe actually came off (turns out, fungal infections are a common side effect of pregnancy). “Oh my God,” said Corina, rushing out of the room and vomiting into her mouth. “I wasn’t prepared for that.”

MORE GLOSS: 10 things no one tells you about pregnancy

45. Hobbies. Don’t be ridiculous.

46. Computer back-ups. Along with 17 and 18, the reason I live in fear of burglary.

47. Outfit deliberations. If it seems to fit, put it on.

48. The truth. Look, I don’t lie... but does Daddy really need to know about the parking ticket I forgot to pay, the forbidden chocolate biscuit I gave the baby at lunch, the fact that I let her explore under the tables in a beer garden and she returned to present me with a cigarette butt? (I'm not making this s*** up, by the way. That's just the list from the past three days.)

49. Feminism. There’s probably a political issue underlying this list somewhere, but who has time to work out what it is?

50. The Pill. Which should be fine, see 2, except that sometimes you do find time for 2. And so it all begins again…

From today Emma Bartley will be writing about life as a working mum. What are you missing since becoming a mother? Add to the list by leaving a comment below and follow her latest antics in the new column, Doing It All.


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  • Sarah Cozens
  • October 8th 2014

Definitely nos 24 and 48
Oh and bikini line? More like bikini coastline!

  • Tanya Le Gras
  • September 29th 2014

I thought I'd read this during breakfast. 4 interruptions later & I'd got to number 10.

  • Louise Pearson
  • September 23rd 2014

Just wet myself laughing reading this (see no 9) this!

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