The vortex of baby time
Goodbye gym, farewell friends – there’s a time-eater in our midst now.
(Getty Images)
Having delayed motherhood until my mid-30s, I’ve always had the luxury of time. It’s not that I did not throw myself into my career but there always seemed to have been enough time for all the things I wanted to do. I went to gym up to five times a week, I could meet my friends for coffee at the drop of a hat and my husband and I were up to date with all the latest must-see movies on circuit.

My oh my, has motherhood changed that. After 20 years of loyal attendance I recently received an email from my medical aid (that subsidises my gym fees in the interest of healthy living) informing me that my gym membership has been cancelled.

‘But I’ve just had a baby!’ I protested.

‘You had a baby 10 months ago,’ was the curt reply. ‘We only allow 6 weeks of inactivity on your gym account for having babies.’ Six weeks! Are they insane? They must all be career chasing singletons. Do they not know what it feels like to scrape your tired body out of bed every morning, grateful for 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep? Between my desk job, scheduling nap times, cooking baby digestible food, changing nappies and actually playing with my munchkin when do they expect me to find TIME to go to the gym?

Just before I went on maternity leave we decided to subscribe to DSTV, we even bought the PVR, the dish and went the whole hog.

At the rates babysitters are going for these days we reckoned the monthly subscription is small change. We are now at the point where the PVR flashes red every time we switch it on. Ominous messages like ‘You have reached your recording limit’ glare at us from the illuminated screen.  I swear if I try and record one more episode of House it will explode. Guess we simply don’t have TIME to watch TV.

As for all those other things I used to fill my leisure time with…

Instead of a relaxing over a hot cappuccino at our favourite express coffee outlet, my best friend (who is happily and by choice child-free), now trails along when I race through the aisles of Checkers as I frantically throw groceries into my trolley. She even walks me to my car just to finish the conversation we started in the toiletries aisle when it helps me make it back home in time for baby’s bath. (God bless her!)  Are we the only people in the whole world who have not seen Avatar yet?

You might think that I’m complaining but far from it. I would swap 10 Hugh Jackman movies for the giggles I get when I blow on my little one’s tummy. Even the lack of sleep, the teething complications, the smudge of baby cereal on my black trousers (which I only noticed halfway through a client meeting) are all worth it just to see the most beautiful 8-tooth smile in the world.

In the end I suppose it all boils down to choices and priorities and when we chose to embark on parenthood we also chose to change our priorities. And if I had more time, would I go and see the latest movie? Would I book a massage and a pedicure? Probably not.

The last 10 months have certainly flown by faster than I can say ‘Peekaboo’. The hard disk drive full of pictures we’ve taken bears evidence of how quickly our bundle of joy changed from a fragile newborn to a fairly robust almost-toddler. No, I would not want to swop a single precious moment I’ve spent with him.

In fact I would give up all my indulgences just to have more TIME with him now because at the blink of an eye he’ll be all grown up, independent and ready to move out of the house.

So Fairy Godmother, Father Christmas, Genie-in-a-bottle, if any of you are out there – please give me more TIME!

Is time the biggest luxury for parents? Or would you ask for something else?

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