1 – 7pm. Before I had kids, 7pm was just a time. It was no more significant than any other time in a 24-hour period. But now it is the time the kids are both down, I head into the living room after tidying up, and flop onto the sofa (usually with a glass of wine in hand). I love you, 7pm. I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate you fully until now.
2 – Breakfast. In the days before kids, my breakfast consisted of a banana on the way to the station, a hastily spread bit of toast (usually with holes, thanks to the haste), or a bowl of porridge in front of late morning TV. Now it is my favourite meal of the day – whether we are dining in an otherwise empty restaurant or I’m cooking pancakes on the stove at home. I have totally rediscovered the joy of breakfast (and in fact early mornings), which goes some way to making up for the lack of sleep. Some way, you understand.
3 – Alone Time. I’ve always liked a bit of quiet time on my own, but now these moments are so few and far between that they have become truly precious. If I head out on my own, I want hop, skip and jump my way there (and of course tell everyone I meet that I have kids, as it feels like I have lost one of my legs and nobody has noticed).
4 – Christmas. I admit I am quite obsessed with Christmas anyway, but suddenly this time of year has got even more magical. I can’t wait for this year especially, as it’s the first time my oldest will experience excitement in the build-up. I’m already planning – and only this morning I announced to the husband that I was planning to start buying a few gifts and he gave me a look that said ‘Good God Woman, it’s September’. You just wait husband, you just wait.
5 – Sleep. I never climbed into my bed, burrowed under the duvet, and shut my eyes with the same feeling of joy before I had kids. Oh yes, I liked my bed before, but it is absolutely my best friend now. Knowing that I have a few hours ahead of me (and probably just that; a few hours) has made the time I spend under the duvet even more precious. And if I ever allow myself a nap at the weekend while the boys sleep, that is even sweeter.
6 – My Own Childhood. The most important thing in the world is that my boys have a happy childhood, which makes me reflect on quite how happy my own childhood was. I am so appreciative of everything my parents did to ensure we had magical childhoods – and now I’m a parent too, I understand there would’ve been moments when they were pulling their hair out and surviving on endless mugs of coffee (and, I suspect, a lot of wine too).
7 – My Health. We absolutely rely on my health to function as a family. Nobody likes being poorly and it’s tough when you are holding down a job – but there are no sick days when you are a Mum. I have fed my children between bouts of vomiting, sung nursery rhymes when my throat felt like cut glass, and cried through bath-time with a migraine. So I am thankful for my health. Let’s face it; this motherhood lark is hard enough as it is.
8 – The Days Before Kids. I don’t think I fully appreciated everything I did before my boys came along – but now that life has a whole new spin, I am thankful that I did so much before they arrived. I snorkelled in caves in Mexico, I assisted on fashion shoots in New York City, I took a yoga class overlooking mountains on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, and I sat in the front row of London Fashion Week (when my ticket was for four rows back and I risked public humiliation if caught). And whilst I know there is time to get back into all that jazz when the boys are older, it’s nice to have those things to remember as I tackle these exhausting days of tandem nappy changing, broken nights, and toddler tantrums.
9 – My Husband. Of course I have always loved him, but did I full appreciate him before we had kids? I’m not sure I would’ve sat down and ticked off reasons in my head, despite knowing I was a lucky girl. Now I do count my blessings regularly; that he’s a great Dad, that he does everything he can for the boys whenever he is at home (more than me, if the truth be known), and that he works hard so we can have a comfortable lifestyle (nb: he’s rubbish at the night shift, but everyone sucks at something).
10 – My Body. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t love my body. I certainly don’t feel confident in a bikini and I often have moments where I stand on the bathroom scales and shudder. But I appreciate my body in a way I have never done before. I only have to look at two little faces to appreciate what it did for me. So I don’t love you body, but will go as far as to say that I like you.
What do you appreciate more now you are a parent? I would love to hear!