8 Ways We've Changed Since Having Children

A mother, her young son, and a friend of his having a laugh while walking through a park in Spring.
A mother, her young son, and a friend of his having a laugh while walking through a park in Spring.

It's astonishing how much we can change over the years, especially after having children. What would our teenage or early-twenty-something selves make of the way we are now? We reckon they wouldn't recognise us – and wouldn't they be be horrified...

By our lack of musical awareness

We simply have no idea who the bands of the moment are anymore. Back in the day we head-banged at gigs played by obscure indie groups. Today, we've just worked out who Florence and the Machine are, only to find out that they came to fame six years ago.

We still love our music, but what we're listening to on Spotify are the bands of our youth – a nostalgia-fest of Arrested Development, Radiohead and 80s-90s pop.

By our clothes

When we were young we wouldn't have been caught dead in a cagoule. Now, it's our garment of choice, along with anything else 'practical'.


If it hides our tummy, thighs and upper arms, doesn't expose our bum crack when we bend down to put on a wriggling child's shoes, can be slipped off easily when a small person poos on it, doesn't show sweat stains, and doesn't need dry cleaning or ironing, we wear it.


Once we worried about VPL and wore G-strings to work; now we just want the biggest pants we can find, ones that go all the way up to our waists.

By the fact we haven't changed the world

When we were young, we campaigned against zoos. We thought they were sad and cruel. These days, some part of us still agrees, but the other part of us takes our children to the zoo because how else are they going to learn about wild animals? In our teens we took up socialism, joined Friends of the Earth, were strictly vegetarian.

We were so sure back then that we were going to make the world a better place; save the environment; find a way of living outside the rules. It turns out that we grew up in a time of relative peace, and now, the world of our adult generation is a very scary place. Not only that, but life is tough and living by ideals is harder than we ever imagined.

By our complete lack of desire to go wild

Up until our mid-twenties, our drive to go out and party was so strong that it actually hurt. Saturday nights meant hours getting ready, meeting strangers, getting out of our minds and dancing in clubs to pounding music.

How could we ever imagine, back then, our energy-free Saturday nights in our thirties – collapsed on the sofa, unable to even speak, let alone face a night out?

And that if we do venture out these days, it's only to places where we are guaranteed a seat. How could we have foreseen that we would one day be the ones frowning at teenagers smoking joints, and demanding the music be turned down? Or that our idea of a good time would become a walk by the river – something that would have struck our younger selves as beyond geeky.

By the magazines we read and the radio we listen to

In our youth we read the NME, Select, The Face, MixMag...today we're into Grand Designs and Mollie Makes. We love to pore over photos of granite worktops and patchwork quilts the same way we once mooned over hunks in More magazine. As for radio, growing up, every weeknight we listened to Radio 1's The Evening Session while we did our homework, and every Sunday afternoon we recorded our favourites from the Top 40 onto cassette.

Does the Top 40 exist anymore? We don't know and we don't care. You can find us these days tuned into BBC Radio 2, 3 and most especially 4, plus Classic FM, Magic and LBC.

By what we do all day

In our teens we couldn't imagine what adults did all day. The years after 25 were a huge open space. When we did fantasise about our future lives, we vaguely saw ourselves travelling the globe, becoming a millionaire 'executive', or being a beaming housewife with huge numbers of children. What we never foresaw was being a single mother back in our home town, juggling a child with long hours at a job with a complicated name.

By how we look

Yes, we could now say to our younger selves, you will have nice, spot-free skin one day. And the freckles you so despise will fade away and you'll even come to like them. But we're not sure those younger versions of us would be so happy at all the weight we've put on. Once upon a time, anything over nine-and-a-half stone we considered enormous. These days, that would be our idea of super-skinny.

As for our fitness levels, our 21-year-old selves wouldn't believe that the effortless ability to cycle for miles which we once took for granted would fade away so quickly. But then again, despite our looks going downhill, we're much happier and more confident in our bodies now.

For those of us who weren't sporty when we were young, our new-found interest in jogging/rowing/tennis at 40 (and our appreciation of being healthy, not thin) would have seemed unimaginable.

By our reliance on the Internet

When we were coming of age, we were just getting our first Hotmail addresses and mobile phones had antennae. Surfing the World Wide Web, as we called it, was something we did down at the Internet café for an hour or two every few days. If we had a question, we looked it up in a book; if we wanted to meet people, we left the house; if we wanted entertainment, we watched TV.


We knew what it was like to be bored and we knew how to appreciate the moment. We could never have dreamt how we would one day come to be so attached to the online world, how it would become the solution to every problem and how we would live multi-tasking virtual lives within it.


Perhaps we would have found it a bit scary. Although we would have loved being able to take photos so easily.

Does this sound like you? Do you feel you've changed much since you've got older, and especially since having children?