parent opinion

"I will never wear a bra with wire again." Ash London on 5 things she's learned since becoming a mum.

Five months ago, at 35 years of age, I welcomed my first son, Buddy, into the world. 

Up until then, my life had been a rollercoaster of international trips, disposable cash, sleep-ins, and general selfishness. 

While I did lots of reading about pregnancy and birth and found myself pretty well prepared for a lot of the 'medical' side of new parenthood, there were a couple of lifestyle learnings that took me by surprise.

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It’s been a journey of learning to accept my changing body, changing lifestyle, and changing priorities.

Has it been hard? Yes. Has it been worth it? Every second. So, I present to you, five unexpected changes new motherhood brought to my life... that I ain’t mad about.

The local shopping centre is my new Mecca.

And by Mecca I mean both the makeup store that I used to spend all my money in, and the religious pilgrimage site. You see, before having children, a trip to Kmart was a quick pop in to get myself some new underwear before heading to a long lunch, unhindered by sleep schedules and leaky boobs. 

But now? Kmart is so much more than that. 

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My local store is a beacon on a hill, waiting to welcome me with open arms when I need to get the baby to sleep on the go, or simply need to get out of the house.

"Why not head to your local park for a walk?" I hear you say. "Because that’s BORING and shopping is AWESOME and Kmart has 400,000 items to look at." 

There’s also LOTS of baby stuff, the staff leave you alone to do your thing, and if you fall in love with something in the homewares section, you don’t have to re-mortgage your house to afford it.

And if I do go a little overboard with the old spending... my trusty CommBank app lets me know with a little notification. Which leads me to my next point...

Frugal is no longer a bad word.

Being on extended maternity leave means that the old purse strings have had a bit of a tighten. 

I’ve enlisted the help of the Spend Tracker function on my CommBank app to keep track of my spending which has been SUCH a help, but what’s even better than getting something cheap? Getting it for free! 

Round of applause for my large Lebanese family and the fact that I had babies last. I have officially become a walking Vinnies bin, gladly taking on any second hand item of kids' clothing or furniture that’s available. 

You see, much like a wedding - the arrival of a baby comes with the kind of expenditure that can make your eyes water. And everything is marked up with the 'baby tax'. Don’t have 14 cousins to chuck you their old clothes? All hail Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace! 

How much did I pay for the $400 high chair I wanted? $100 thanks to a lovely lady down the road who was moving interstate. 

Not much in life beats the satisfaction gained when I proudly tell my husband just how little I managed to pay for a big-ticket item. Give me a sash. Make me a crown. I’ve gone from a spender to a saver. And damn it feels good.

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A baby lives on my breast now.

By my calculations, I have so far breastfed my child approximately 1,200 times. If we average each of these sessions out to 15 minutes, we’re looking at 18,000 minutes spent with a small human latched onto my breast. That’s 300 hours. 12.5 full days. 

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Most of this time is spent staring into the abyss as I STILL haven’t mastered the art of grabbing my phone or a book before I frantically start feeding. 

That my friends, is enough for me to watch Titanic 100 times over. I could fly to Los Angeles 21 times. This kind of time commitment is perhaps matched only by time spent mindlessly scrolling Instagram. 

And don’t get me started on the cluster feeding. How did no one tell me this ahead of time? I’m sure they did. I wasn’t listening.

Closed captions are not just for retirement villages.

I’ve always believed closed captions were reserved solely for deaf people and my mother (who, if I’m honest, belongs in the first category). But since having a baby, my husband and I have revelled in the joy of being able to watch whatever we want while the baby sleeps.

This glorious development was originally discovered by us while watching VIGIL, a crime drama set on a Scottish submarine. We needed the captions because the accents were so damn hard to understand – but soon found ourselves turning them on every time. Baby a light sleeper? Craving your weekly Sex and the City hit? Closed captions, baby! Get around it!

I will never wear a bra with wire again.

Self explanatory, really.

Feature Image: Instagram @ash_london.

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