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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