Seven ways kids will change your social life

Kinderling News & Features

You can tell people to enjoy their social lives before kids come along. To really soak up those long, lazy sleep-ins and late nights of spontaneous fun.

But they won't listen. They don't know. How can they? They go to the movies whenever they want! Sometimes on a whim! Sometimes on A MONDAY NIGHT. They don't know. 

How can they know that a giant tidal wave is coming? A tidal wave that sucks your social life out to sea before crashing with full force on your Sunday morning sleep-in FOREVER.

Although chances are, if you’re like me, now you spend every Saturday lamenting your lost social life, and then when you actually do have Saturday night plans, you spend the whole day wishing you could stay home in your stretchy pants. (They expect me to brush my hair? Urgh.)

Here’s seven other ways your social life will change forever:

1. You put playgrounds before pubs

Pubs used to be about music, craft beer and al fresco dining. Now they are about playgrounds. Most parents would drive for two hours to a pub in a depressing industrial complex if it promised a kiddie slippery dip. Even if the menu comprised of burnt chicken nuggets and last week’s grey coleslaw, we will return time and time again.

Some pubs have ‘play rooms’ where kids throw plastic balls around and beat the crap out of each other. Despite the fact that the kids stumble out, shell shocked and crying, we send them back in with an ice block over their black eye for just five more minutes of adult conversation

2. You have two types of clothes (but both are tracksuits)

You now have ‘dress’ tracksuit pants. You save your dress trackies for the pubs with the playgrounds, feeling a bit spesh.

3. Play Centres are the new night clubs

Play centres, the fifth realm of hell for parents, become your life. For a whole year, every child in your kid’s class will have their party at the same play centre and every Sunday morning as you trudge towards the balloon-festooned doors for another couple of fun-filled hours, you swear they’re making Ground Hog Day 2 and you’re Bill Murray

4. Nothing good happens after 10.30pm

You can always tell the parents of young kids at any social function. It’s 7pm and they’re already giggling, plastered and dancing like its 1999. Parents are experts at multitasking and we waste no time with chit chat and nibblies.

We are straight into the free bar, loading up at the buffet and requesting our fave ‘90s anthems so we can dance our hearts out, laugh our heads off and be home to the babysitter by 11. Then we count the hours we have to sleep before the night feeds/bed wetting/early wake ups start

5. A big weekend now has a totally different meaning

On Fridays at work when the young, childless folk ask what’s on for the weekend, we roll our eyes and make a sarcastic joke about how wild it’s going to be. They laugh nervously. And then you tell them about soccer, gymnastics and all the kids’ parties and their eyes glaze over.  You try and keep it light, but the sadness behind your eyes must be obvious. They don’t ask again.

6. Dinner parties are now children's parties

When we used to have dinner parties, we’d pour over recipes for days and make up minty limey cocktails to kick off a night of great conversation and good wine. There were fresh flowers and themed place settings.

Now dinner parties mean kids screaming around the table while Minions plays on a loop. Frazzled parents try and have a conversation, but we lose our train of thought while changing nappies and breaking up fights. We settle for sausages on paper plates and spilled cordial.

7. Cafes = total chaos

Cafes used to symbolise freedom. They are the haven of the all-day breakfast. Got up at 12? No problem. Cafes have got your back. Big breakfast all the way.

Post-kids, cafes are just a series of toddler temptations. Sharp cutlery to bash on the table, full sugar bowls to make little sugar mountains to lick and pepper shakers to pour into parents coffee when they aren't looking. You end up taking everything off the table and holding children down on their seats as you desperately try to anticipate the children's next move.

Still, when it all boils down to it, we may miss the big nights, but we don’t miss the hangovers. And on a glorious Sunday morning as we’re pushing the pram up the street with a coffee and the paper (which we will never read) to the park to spend a wholesome morning playing with our divine little creatures in the sunshine, we see those creatures of the night stumbling past in their inappropriate-for-daytime sequined clothing, and we feel a bit smug. And a teensy bit jealous. But mostly smug.

Also see:

:: Finding my style again after kids
:: Why I hired a toddler tamer
:: Learning to love your body after kids