The Sober Social Butterfly

Janey Lloyd

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Before the days of flossing and hashtags our fair city was my party canvas and I immersed it in every shade of red ever dreamt of by Dulux. With my messy Russell Brand hair and eccentric earrings, the only thing I doubled up was my Smirnoff. Nowadays, the only thing doubling is my washing pile.

I had a weakness for party invitations like Leonardo Dicaprio has for supermodels and with Capital One by my side there was no stopping me – until the hangovers became my own personal cocoon of hell.

Despite having cut down on a night out (or ten), years before Joel became the apple of my eye, there's been a variety of changes I’ve encountered in my seven months so far.

My husband renamed me Snow White due to me being happy one minute then grumpy and sleepy the next.

Before, during, and after pregnancy, my husband renamed me Snow White due to me being happy one minute then grumpy and sleepy the next. The other week he accused me of being the Evil Queen when I accidentally served undercooked chicken as my poisonous apple. In all fairness, he knows how mad I get when he doesn’t make the bed properly... 

So, with this delightful range of emotions, I've adopted Santa’s approach and put together a good and bad list of these changes that i've experienced since becoming a Mummy.

1) Boy racers and political campaigners

Boy racers frustrate me more now because when i'm out walking with Joel in his pram and he starts to drift off, the roar of them beeping past wakes him up. My rage simmers down when I remember all I can really do, is wave my clenched fist angrily at them and giggle at their highly priced car insurance.

Just when I thought it was quiet and safe back at home, our peaceful bubble is burst by the knock of uninvited guests wanting our votes, money or both. When an unexpected knock results in a long afternoon with a cranky baby, I’m going to vote for the opposition and keep my purse closed. On the other hand, if that disturbing knock is for my recent eBay purchase I will happily accept Joel’s grumpy time as my bargain dress that doesn’t match the photo is worth it.

2. Parent and child car park spaces

Just like it did for Jon Snow - winter for us is definitely coming along with the rainy days. So, being able to park closer to your designated shop avoiding your little one and yourself getting soaked is a bonus. The spaces are also bigger which gives you enough room to get your pram out - and if like me you’ve not been eating enough spinach - and struggle with the car seat.

You feel like royalty being able to swan in and take this privilege while the others struggle to park into their smaller spaces. Be warned those unentitled folks parking in these spaces will be sent straight to the stocks by disgruntled parents.


3. Dog mess on pavements

It didn’t take parenthood for me to realise just how annoying dog mess on pavements is. My anger was excelled as I crouched down one of the city’s vennels trying to clean the pram’s wheels before I turn Tesco’s floor into an ice rink of dog excrement. When I swerve the pram I feel like Mario avoiding the banana skins, resulting in a cheek flushing start of a shopping trip as I get strange looks.

4. Free entry

With the financially lethal combination of statutory maternity pay and the upcoming Christmas period, the old purse strings recently have been glued shut. Joel and I have had a quieter couple of weeks due to our baby groups being off for the holidays, so we have caught a dose of cabin fever. You know you’ve got it bad when you’re watching re-runs of Jeremy Kyle and you can remember how many teeth each guest is missing.

Free entry to places such as Active Kids, Auchingarrich, Noah’s Ark and Perth Leisure Pool is great because we don’t pay extra for Joel and we get out the house.

5. Clothing sizes

Just like for us adults, the sizing saga remains unchanged with baby clothing as each shop’s sizing being very different. A top in one shop can fit perfectly, in the next shop it can be tiny making Joel look like a mini Barney Gumble.

Unlike us, babies don’t care if their bums look big in their outfit. I find that depending on what shop I get Joel’s clothes from he can end up between sizes which just gets confusing when I’m re-organising his wardrobe. Trying the clothes on a fidgety baby in a shop’s hot and stuffy changing room is a Crystal Maze challenge and I always end up without a crystal...

6. That smile!

My husband awake or asleep has constant resting grump face so getting that Joel smile in the morning is a vast improvement. Apparently in the mornings when my halo is away being dusted, this raging bull takes over grunting about a sofa’s misplaced scatter cushions and poorly washed dishes. The grumpy horns soon disappear when this smile is delivered and all early morning rage about not waking up to Gerard Butler is swiftly banished.

The way I socialise has changed and my social circle is also expanding.

7) Abandoning beer gardens

When the sun had his hat on I would race down to my nearest beer garden to grab that highly desired table for an afternoon session of Jacob’s Creek and Strongbow.

Now when the curtains reveal that sunshine, I think great what a “braw washing day”. I genuinely get excited that I’m going to win the race of emptying the dirty washing basket before dark clouds start arriving. It’s a great satisfaction as my medal of the clean scent of Gold Orchid fills the house accompanied with a celebratory cup of tea!

Janey Sober Butterfly - slide8) Shorter showers

Before when I sang in the shower, it was for my imaginary appearance on Jonathan Ross trying to plug my long-awaited new single. Now, it’s so Joel can hear Mummy whilst I’m frantically scrubbing my hair in a panicked frenzy to avoid him getting an ASBO.

Depending how far up he is on the grumpy scale, he can be distracted by repeatedly playing the same YouTube nursery rhymes on my phone. Feeling selfish for wanting clean hair after a previous day of hair pulling with sticky hands, I succumb to the whining and depart from the relaxing hot water as a defeated and marginally fresher human being.

9) New friends

We all expect that imminent collapse of our social lives once we have little ones, however, so far I’ve noticed the way I socialise has changed and my social circle is also expanding.

It can sometimes be a hassle to get out the door to make a baby group (depending on what end of Joel is misbehaving). Despite the stress I’m always determined to make that group because so far we've met some lovely people. I usually find that a stressful exit that morning can be laughed off when I arrive at the group and sharing our stories makes me feel a lot saner.

10) Re-living childhood favourites

Now that there are young eyes watching the TV screen, it's a great chance to start introducing Joel to some of my favourite childhood films. Although, at seven months old, it could be debated how much of the Disney magic he is truly appreciating as he spends most of the time trying to eat Mummy’s fingers.

I've become Joel’s PA as he has more coffee and lunch dates than a WAG.

At this early stage it’s evident that us big ones - tired from despicable nappies and teething - benefit from escaping into the silly world of Minions and Trolls leaving myself question whether I would suit pink hair or not.

I think that I shall leave it a while before we watch 'The Land Before Time' together after traumatising my niece with it a few years ago. However this early exposure to sad films is emotionally preparing her for 'The Notebook' and 'PS I Love You' so her horror of seeing her panda eyed Auntie was worth it.

Janey Sober Butterfly - Orange HatThe last few nights as I’ve been fishing out some lovely surprises left in the bath by Joel, and I do sometimes think about how much has changed. Our pre-baby evenings consisted of passing out on separate sofas and binge-watching crime documentaries on Netflix turning into a couple of slobby makeshift Columbos.

Any days off together would go past in a blur, and despite the occasional social event we would sometimes struggle about what to do with our weekend as we’re both so indecisive. Nowadays, I've become Joel’s PA as he has more coffee and lunch dates than a WAG. Less time is being spent in the house as we daily go out for walks through various housing areas eyeing up my endless dream homes. I now have daisy fresh Sundays for family visits and roast dinners galore and an untouched overdraft.

Change has proven to be a good thing since March - apart from the recent 5am wake up calls, the clocks went back where is my extra hour? Essentially these changes have let this social butterfly happily flutter away from the Loft dancefloor to soberer climes of Nescafe and early nights.


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