Life Before Kids. Life After Kids.

I know some mommies who managed to pretty much keep their former lives in tact after having children. They are still beautiful, slender, fashionable, and trendy. They can sprint across a room without breaking their ankles in 4 inch heels and look fabulous as they dislodge a Hot Wheel from their child's throat. My gorgeous little sister is one of these women.

That's her in the middle.  Could those outfits be couture? This was taken when her baby was about 6 months old.

I, on the other hand, am a mom whose current fashion focus is on owning the unique look created by the not-my-own-body-fluid patterns that speckle my outfit every day.  For those of you who missed my post on Puke Couture, here is what I might look like on any given day:

This got me thinking- How has life really changed since becoming a mom? Everyone has a different story-  Here's mine.

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Spa Days

Before Kids:

  • I treated myself to a spa day at least every two weeks.
  • This entailed a 2 hour mani-pedi, eyebrow and lip wax, facial and massage.

After Kids:

  • I tweeze my own eyebrows about every 4 months when my kids say things like, "He looks like you, Momma!" while watching Bert tap in his saddle shoes.
  • A spa pedicure happens about once a month and equates to an extra minute of soaking in my kids' Thomas the Train bubblegum-scented bubble bath.

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Expensive Handbags

Before Kids:

  • I became an exclusive Coach Club Member by spending gruesome dollar amounts in the Coach Store.
  • I bought a matching wallet, key chain, shoes and handbag every season.
  • Every outfit had a matching handbag.

After Kids:

  • I haven't bought a pricey handbag since giving birth.
  • I mail the 40% off Coach in-store Coach Club coupon to anyone who wants it.
  • I discovered the Coach "All-Purpose Tote" complete with a diaper changing pad is really an over-priced but effective laptop bag.
  • I now go for washable, dry-able, "stuff-into-the-overhead-bin"-able fabric bags that  cost one-twentieth what I used to spend on a clutch.
  • I don't even go into the pricey stores anymore- I'd rather put that money toward an Imaginext Batman Lair complete with sound-activated Batmobile.

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How I Spent "Me" Time

Before Kids:

  • Lingering days at the mall, perusing this store and then that one.
  • Days full of revolving dressing room doors and fistfuls of accessories and clothing-filled shopping bags.
  • Time to spare and money to burn on expensive make-up, make-overs and highlights
  • Relaxing evenings spent at Barnes & Noble leisurely scouring the sale bins for the book to read that week.
  • Solitary meals at PF Chang's.
  • Grueling, religious workouts where I ran the dog out of myself to keep in that size 4 and occasional size 2.

After Kids:

  • I go to one store if I need clothes, bee-line for the sale rack where I find a neutral that matches every other neutral in my closet.
  • I eyeball the sizes and generally round up to ensure that I have boob clearance on the shirts, and waist clearance on the dresses.
  • I buy stretchy, loose pants to ensure thigh-clearance.
  • There's no way I'm taking 2 kids into a dressing room.
  • My morning make-up routine consists of washing my face.
  • My gym contract averages $20 per workout given my pattern of failing to use it.
  • When I do go to the gym for a twenty minute workout, my first priority is to read.
  • Hard workouts interfere with reading because sweat makes the words blurry.
  • It takes a year to finish a book.
  • I haven't eaten a quiet meal in 4 years and it took 2 to eat a hot one.
  • I am no longer a size 4.
  • My right calf is a size 2.

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My Closet

Before Kids:

  • I had a dream closet.
  • You could walk into it, pitch a cot and sleep in it.
  • Everything was organized by style and color.
  • Everything was hung and pressed.
  • My shoes were all high- because the shorter the shoe, the fatter the ankle.
  • An extra tic tac would cause my form-fitting clothes to burst.
  • I had things taken in regularly.

After Kids:

  • To get dressed, I pour through 40-gallon tupperware bins I've labeled "tops", "bottoms", "socks", and "everything else".
  • I don't fold anything, I just toss it in a bin because it'll be a day before I've gotta wash, dry, fold and put it away, again.  (Everyone has a system. This one is mine.)
  • I wear flats.
  • And, I wear Crocs. In public.  (Hey, once you gain 80 lbs by the third trimester, you quit caring what your ankles look like.)
  • I eat what I want and I wear cotton, jersey, and velour because they expand.

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Traveling and Kids

Before Kids:

  • I didn't like kids and despised them when traveling.
  • I thought they were noisy and annoying.
  • I sought out places where I would not be in danger of encountering them.
  • I packed all I needed into a single carry-on.
  • When my airplane seat was continuously kicked by a joyful 18 month old, I scowled at his apologetic parents and berated them.
  • I was merciless.
  • They were gracious.

After Kids:

  • I'm in love with all kids ( particularly my own.)
  • Airport Security Lines are races. Briefcased people dogpile in front of us to avoid being caught behind our chaotic and slow caravan.
  • It takes 10 security conveyor belt bins to hold our shoes, electronics, toiletries, metal items, diaper bag, snack bag and jackets.  And, then there's the double-stroller.
  • People bribe the stewardess to be seated in the vacant seat next to the crapper in the back to be spared the torture of sitting near us.
  • Sometimes, a surly, well-manicured, size-4-sometimes-size-2, beautiful woman carrying a designer brief case with highlights in her hair, turns around and glares  at me.
  • She spews about my disruptive child who is kicking her seat and how I  shouldn't fly if I can't control my kids.
  • And I nod and smile.
  • I meekly say, "I'm sorry."

I whisper to my joyously disruptive children as I kiss their heads.

"I love you," I say. "Don't worry.  She doesn't mean it."

"She'll learn how great you are one day."

And then I say:

"Now, let's kick it again.  REALLY HARD THIS TIME!"

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