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Everybody says having kids changes everything, but how?

It’s not like you suddenly wake up in some alternate reality (even if it sometimes feels that way) or discover the days of the week have been completely rearranged (which isn’t to say that chronic sleep-deprivation isn’t sometimes disorienting), it’s mostly that everything you did before you had kids gets replaced with some other activity.

For example:

Non-parent activity: Hanging out with friends
Parent activity: Hanging out with people you don’t really know – and might not even like – because their kids are friends with your kids

Non-parent activity: Making plans
Parent activity: Canceling plans because somebody threw up

Non-parent activity: Sleeping
Parent activity: Three 24 oz. Lattes, a half-case of Diet Coke and five Red Bulls per day

Non-parent activity: Being on time
Parent activity: Explaining why you’re late (for a while anyway, until everybody stops inviting you to things, or says it’s “adults only”)

Non-parent activity: Going to a 4-star restaurant
Parent activity: Going to McDonald’s

Non-parent activity: Going to a 3-star restaurant
Parent activity: Going to McDonald’s

Non-parent activity: Going to a 2-star restaurant
Parent activity: Going to McDonald’s

Non-parent activity: Going to a 1-star restaurant
Parent activity: Going to Chuck E. Cheese, because if you have to go to McDonald’s one more time you’ll go insane

Non-parent activity: Finding the perfect handbag
Parent activity: Finding the perfect babysitter (who is likely to be just as expensive and “sold out”)

Non-parent activity: Working out in the morning
Parent activity: Working out for 15 minutes before everybody gets up, stopping, getting everybody breakfast, going back and working out for 5 more minutes, stopping, getting clean socks and underwear from the dryer, where you accidentally left them last night because you fell asleep before you could fold them, trying to work out for a few more minutes before realizing you’re out of time

Non-parent activity: Working out at night
Parent activity: Laughing at the thought of working out at night, because after a day like this who has the energy?

Non-parent activity: Yoga
Parent activity: Mommy & Me

Non-parent activity: Seeing movies
Parent activity: Seeing movies you hate, over and over again, because kids love repetition

Non-parent activity: Biking
Parent activity: Taking your kids to the emergency room for stitches after they crash

Non-parent activity: Going shopping
Parent activity: Going shopping, not getting a chance to get everything, then having to go shopping again (and sometimes again and again and again, depending on how tired and disoriented you are)

Non-parent activity: Sex
Parent activity: Naps, but not with anywhere near the same frequency

Non-parent activity: Being in a hurry
Parent activity: Being in a hurry but having to stop at a gas station anyway, because somebody forget to pee before they get in the car

Non-parent activity: Organization
Parent activity: Reluctantly embracing the chaos

Non-parent activity: Date night
Parent activity: Prom night – as in the one your kids go to, since that’s how long it will be before you ever get to go out again

Non-parent activity: Vacations
Parent activity: Going to Disneyland (which can be fun but is definitely not a vacation)

Non-parent activity: Relieving stress through exercise, meditation, deep-breathing, etc
Parent activity: Drinking

Non-parent activity: Modesty
Parent activity: Answering the door in a towel because even though you told the kids “Don’t get it!” they did (which is also the reason you sometimes spend 25 minutes talking to telemarketers)

Non-parent activity: Going to a sporting event and booing the ref
Parent activity: Not booing the ref because you now realize being fair and impartial is impossible and that no matter what the call, somebody will throw a fit (and whether it’s a professional athlete or a child, the screaming, yelling, stomping and fist-pounding all looks exactly the same)

Non-parent activity: Buying new furniture
Parent activity: Buying new furniture because — your kids “swear” — the old furniture just fell apart and/or got stained all by itself

Non-parent activity: Turning off the evening news because their coverage of the latest public health “crisis” is ridiculous
Parent activity: Turning off the evening news and taking your kids to the emergency room because now you’re worried they might have been exposed to it

Non-parent activity: Cleanliness, basic hygiene
Parent activity: The five-second rule

Non-parent activity: Wiping your nose with Kleenex
Parent activity: Wiping their nose with your thumb and forefinger, then flinging it on the ground

Non-parent activity: Getting a facial
Parent activity: Getting a facial of vomit

Non-parent activity: Doing things when you want to
Parent activity: Doing things when you have to

Non-parent activity: Deciding you’re ready to have kids
Parent activity: Realizing you were wrong (but trying to make the most of it, anyway)

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