31/01/2016 14:35 GMT | Updated 28/01/2017 05:12 GMT

Saying Goodbye to Me Time Rituals

I recently said goodbye to one of my favourite pastimes - Secret Breakfast.

Secret Breakfast began when my eldest child was about 2 and a bit, and my youngest had begun to sleep in his own bed (and no longer in our room). Secret Breakfast became my morning ritual every weekday morning before the house woke up. Everybody was in bed. It was my time and I used it wisely.

Creeping downstairs at around 6am, eating my breakfast, kettle on, iPad on, catching up on the latest news and gossip and generally having a bit of 'me time' before life for that day began.

Secret Breakfast lasted longer than I expected. I reckon I got about a year before my eldest cottoned on to my ritual. She started to come into bed with us at just before 6am, and then if I didn't take her downstairs with me, she would play merry hell and threaten to wake up my youngest with a supreme tantrum. I couldn't have that and so I let her join me. Of course I had to adapt a little - I introduced breakfast kid's telly but this was no bad thing.

Fast-forward to the present and the inevitable happened. One morning recently, my youngest woke up just before 6am, screamed a bit, and emotionally blackmailed me into letting him join us (aka looked sad through the bars of his cot). And so it came to pass that the upstairs of the house was now quiet, the downstairs was chaos, and Secret Breakfast was no more.

I thought about this during that day (I need to get out more). I thought about the passing of another 'me time' ritual. And I thought about the other things that have departed my world since having the kids, and things that will probably, no certainly, disappear over time.

If I could make a list of Top Things I wish I had But Don't Any More Since Having Kids, going to the toilet alone would be right up there at the top for everybody to see.

I miss going to the toilet alone. I never imagined I would. Other parents made jokes about it. I just scoffed back with my usual 'yeah, right'. But it's so true. Even if I shut the door a little, it is only a matter of seconds before it creaks open and there is a little being on the other side, armed with a big grin and lots of probing questions.

Second on my list would be the ability to 'nip to the shops'. Shopping now is one of two things - 1. At night, under cover of darkness, with the kids in bed and hubby/me taking turns, or 2. Hell on earth, everything happens very slowly with much bribery and negotiation and a few arguments over the kids refusing to walk/wanting to go into the trolley thrown in for good measure. And don't get me started on the ride-on machines outside of the shop. I miss the days I could just nip in the shop quickly and purposely stride in, make my purchase and leave.

Third would be eating badness at any time of day. Since kids, this was firstly confined to eating with my head in the fridge, to now not happening at all (the kids are getting too wise).

Fourth, being able to listen to old school dance music in the car and pretend I'm back there in the 90's (and that in the 90's I was cool); this has been replaced with Mamma Mia soundtrack or Let It Go on repeat.

And fifth, though it hasn't happened yet but I know it will - the demise in the future of my viewing control over the TV as the kids get older and stay up later. I wonder, do they make stairgates for teenagers?

Anyway, this is my list of things I have lost since having the kids and things I think other parents and baby books should definitely let you know about, so you can say goodbye gracefully.

But of course, in the grand scheme of things, these are small fry and since having kids I have gained so much more so I can't complain...too much.