“My shopping habits have changed since becoming a parent… and I’m OK with that."

Thanks to our brand partner, Hyundai

I didn’t mean to fall pregnant the first time. Well, I like to describe it as a deliberate surprise. My now husband and I, we’d been thinking about kids, about having them ‘one day’. But we were in our late 20s and we didn’t realise that ‘one day’ had arrived.

There was a night, filled with moments of deep and pure connection, of joy in family and a sense of something momentous between us. In the middle of the night, drunk on love (and at least three bottles of pinot noir) we thought, ‘What the heck! Let’s give it a whirl.’

William turns five in a couple of months and I often caution young couples, be very careful when you’re drinking love and pinot. When they say it only takes one time, they’re not lying.

I might be slightly wiser about parenthood now, but at the time I was pregnant I was absolutely, 100 per cent clueless. I couldn’t conceive of what life would be like after my child was born. Would I still be myself? What will change?

what is it like to have a child
“What will change?” Image via iStock.

At the time, I asked a dear friend of mine, what is it like to have a child? He replied telling me that you simply cannot compare life before children to life after children. They’re completely, irrevocably different and there’s no point trying to make sense of it.

There are big changes, and there are little changes.

My ideal Saturday night is now Netflix and chill (chilled wine and ice cream, thank you very much). And a sleep in is defined by making it to 7:30am. The house is filled with toys; the china is packed away. A fancy dinner out is the Pancake Parlour, and movie night is a Pixar cartoon.

Shopping takes time and consideration. You make small sacrifices to meet a budget for a big-ticket item. Will I buy the $400 wool coat, or the $70 puffy vest; because we’re saving for a new car.

And when you’re buying that new car, where once you might have prioritised zip and zing, something flashy with a great stereo, now you’re considering safety and space. Preferences are reversed, but not sacrificed.

what is it like to have a child
“Preferences are reversed, but not sacrificed.” Image via iStock.

On your test drive you’ll ask questions like, ‘Where is the harness point for the booster seat,’ and ‘Will the pram fit in the boot,’ before you find out if the metallic paint is an optional extra. You’ll have a new appreciation for leather upholstery (it’s easier to clean) and the addition of heated seats to help keep everyone warm on a cold day. Style is about practicality now, too.

But being pregnant the first time, I could not have known or understood the magnitude what was about to happen to me less.

My friend ended our conversation by telling me that while life with children is so different, filled with unending responsibility and obligation, it will be a joyful obligation. And that I would have a little person who would wrap their tiny arms around my neck and whisper, “I love you, Mummy,” and I would be filled with sense of transcendent love I never knew existed.

He was right. And I send a wee word of thanks up to the powers that be for that pinot noir filled night that changed everything. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How has shopping changed for you since becoming a parent?