PARENTS

10 Things You Only Appreciate When You Become A Parent

14/08/2014 16:50 | Updated 22 May 2015

Things you only appreciate when you become a parent

1. Leisure centres

What? Those 1970s concrete eye sores you wouldn't be seen dead in pre-kids? Yes, the very same. You can take your poncey gyms because when you're a parent, you'll thank the lord for their swimming lessons, football clubs, cheap party deals and soft play inflatables. And once the kids have started school, you might even get the chance to go to a class or two yourself.

2. Libraries

Until you have children, you're more of a book browser at Waterstone's in your lunch hour. Why would you want to frequent a stuffy and stale library? Post-procreation, the kids' area of your local one is a free morning or afternoon trip where silence is no longer frowned on. Story Time and book clubs are a god send on a rainy day. Not to mention the millions of children's books on the shelves (or, if we've been there, on the floor).

3. Online shopping

Pushing a trolley or checking out the latest looks can be a pleasure if you've got all the time in the world. But with children, you end up chucking random stuff into your basket because you're a) being pestered by them or b) in a rush before one of them kicks off. So much easier to order online when they're in bed or occupied with the telly. Just remember not to tell them your passwords.

4. Silence

Once silence felt empty, it was a sign you had nothing going on in your life and the urge was to fill it with something, anything. Now it's a rare bliss of no demands and time to think without interruption.

5. Our parents

You never really appreciate how much they did for you until you become a parent yourself. And they did it without play centres, child-friendly cafes, kids' TV and iTechnology that we rely on to get through the day. Our respect is due.

That's not to say we don't go mad when they try to sneak chocolate into the kids' mouths five minutes before teatime. They've got to get their own back on our horrific teenage years somehow.

6. Parks

Fair weather friends was how our relationship with the park used to be: we only ever attempted if it was warm with a picnic. But these days, we're there rain or shine, grateful for the open space and play area to wear them out before bedtime.

7. Pizza Hut

Thick cheese-stuffed crust with pepperoni? An abomination in the days when we'd choose to eat somewhere based on the menu and ambiance. But then we hadn't got extra mouths to feed within the next five minutes or there could be a huge tantrum. While we can sit on our hunger, kids can't. That's why the crayons and balloon distraction works as their food cooks. It's quick, easy and we live in hope they'll have a bowl of salad too.

8. Fear

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If you used to lay awake worrying years ago, chances are you'd happily embrace those concerns now over the paralysing fear of something terrible happening to your child.

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We'd go through anything to make sure our kids are unharmed.

It's not until you become a parent that you know you'd chop your arm off – or worse - to save your children.

9. Your pre-baby face and figure.

"Oh, but I look so fat," you wailed.

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Fast forward a few years and what on earth were we moaning about? We had a waist! Our stomachs didn't swallow a finger when prodded!

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And our eyes were bright and unbagged! Dads, included.

10. Staying In.

Yes, it's nice to go out just the two of us. But you can't beat getting a takeaway and watching telly when the kids are asleep. It's cheaper, you don't have to dress up and because it doesn't involve waiting for the bill, an obligatory nightcap and a taxi ride home, there's no bite into your precious sleeping time.

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