Poor, boring and happy

Am I alone in thinking that having babies spells financial suicide? It’s not the extra clothes / food / toys / tickets for them so much as the loss of earnings from at least one of the parents for taking time off to look after them. I have no idea how single parents do it, serious kudos to them.

Sometimes I fantasize about how much money we would have if I had never stopped working full time to have Mole and Hedgehog.

We would be MINTED.

It would be amazing. We would probably have a bigger house, a second car, and be jetting off on exotic holidays twice a year. I would buy clothes and shoes a lot more frequently than I do, I would go to a spa at least once a month, and I would probably do evening classes in Tai Chi or Yoga, in shiny air conditioned studios, just for the hell of it. We would have serious disposable income for the fun stuff, not just the boring stuff.

But then there would be a great big Mole and Hedgehog shaped hole in our lives.

In life BM&H, (before Mole and Hedgehog), I believed I had no disposable income, or free time. How wrong I was. I somehow managed to use a great deal of available time and money on going out, having cocktails, taking in a theatre show, buying clothes, going to festivals, and generally running around having a fantastic time.

The most exciting thing we’ve done in the past month is to have a meal out at our local pub. This was pre-booked two weeks beforehand with the babysitter and marked on the calendar in big letters ‘date night’. Spontaneity is dead.

As for clothes shopping, it happens about twice a year, usually in a crazed run around of the shops like an animal that’s been let out of its cage. I don’t look at the shops the rest of the time because it’s like being a diabetic in a sweet shop, depressing.

A typical evening in life AM&H (after Mole and Hedgehog) usually involves spending an hour getting them to sleep, collapsing on the sofa with wine, and going to bed by ten o’clock because we’re so tired.

Children make you poor and boring, it is true.

Do Mole and Hedgehog know about this predicament? Of course not. They know nothing of money, of our lives prior to their existence, or of the adult world and its pleasures that we sometimes miss with the intensity of a caffeine addict. They don’t need to know about these things. As far as Hedgehog is concerned, I am for cuddling and carrying her around. For Mole, I am there to wipe her bum and put Cbeebies on for her.

But the truth of it is that playing catch with Mole and Hedgehog around the living room, or having a picnic in the park together, having a snooze on the sofa, or a bubble party in the bath tub, these moments beat all the nights out and the tempting purchases hands down. I’ve never been more contented or happy than I am now, and I wouldn’t re-visit my 20’s for all the clothes and cocktails in the world. Life without M&H would be a strange and empty one.

However, to remind us of our lives BM&H, we’re off to Iceland for 5 days next month, without Mole and Hedgehog. They will be in Wales with Granny purple hair. We've been saving for this for 3 years, ever since I got the Rough Guide to Iceland. It is at last being dusted off. The blue lagoon, whale watching, Vikings, and not being interrupted on the toilet or having to share my breakfast with a little person, bliss.

I thought it wouldn’t really be their bag, too many volcanoes and not enough ducks.