What did I used to do with my time before parenthood?

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Parent and child holding handsImage: Michelle Meiklejohn /

I’m sure there isn’t a parent out there that hasn’t asked themselves the question, “What did I used to do with my time before parenthood?” Personally, I’ve been a Father for a little over two years – I don’t really remember what I used to do with evenings and weekends. Sure, my wife and I used to go to the cinema a couple of times a month (which we now don’t) and we used to eat out / go for drinks sporadically; however it’s not like we were huge “going out” social butterflies. I do have a vague memory of sleeping in on a weekend but haven’t changed the time I go to bed on an evening.

Perhaps the reduction in sleep is altering my memory recall. That said, I’ve never been someone who wakes in a morning ready to embrace the day. 2 hours or 12 hours sleep, I still look and feel like a zombie for the first few hours of waking. Alternatively, and controversially, perhaps having children creates a shift inside your brain that you are unaware of – a bit like how mothers grow to forget the real pain of child birth. If they really remembered it so vividly, let’s face it, they’d never have any more children!

I still spend the same amount of time on web based activities, slightly more on my on-line gaming. I watch just as much (little) television as I used to before Charlie was born. I still catch up with friends (mostly by phone and text); the only thing I can really remember doing a lot more of was visiting my nephew and niece on a more regular basis.

All things considered (now I’ve come to write about this) I’ve got a feeling that other than the extra sleep and visiting of relatives, I probably did the same before as I do now – it’s just that having a child places a lot more demands on whatever time you have. It therefore feels like there’s never any time and whilst pre-children I could probably get away with literally wasting an entire weekend doing nothing, as a parent, this is no longer an option even if I wanted to.

Are you a parent, and even if you aren’t, what’s your personal take or feeling on this? I’ve only one child at the moment, but I imagine with a second on the scene I can perhaps even kiss goodbye to some of the things I am still able to spend time on at the moment.

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  • No children as of yet. “They” say everything changes with kids, I do wonder how much will change. Like you I am not a huge social butterfly, I can enjoy an evening playing games or reading a book or blogging. I think when and if that time comes, my guess I will miss sleep the most. I do like to sleep in!

  • Rob

    I've known friends say before they'd had kids, but were expecting, to say that nothing would change for them and then they've had a complete upheaval; however conversely I've known other friends who were ready to embrace change and found they had to make no real alterations to their life.

    I have to agree with you – sleep was the big thing I found myself struggling with. I ended up so zombified I forgot about all the other things I used to do.

  • I'm not a parent but after reading your article I can see your point of view and where your' coming from. Time slots you nay have had nothing to do in have now been filled with consistent job responsibilities with your new kid.

    I always crack jokes with my co-workers asking how they manage their time. They have soccer, baseball, school making lunches, cleaning laundry… you understand my point I just don't know how they do it.

    I plan on having my first child within the next year so any advice on future articles would be great lol.

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