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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 14, 2010

Having kids brings on changes

By Monica Quock Chan

My husband and I look forward to celebrating Valentine's Day, but our love life has changed since becoming parents.

Before: Spontaneous dates.

After: Finding a sitter, preparing our keiki for the separation, overly worrying during the date if the kids are OK, and rushing home so we can kiss them good night before their bedtime.

Before: Romantic dinners, watching movies, going on road trips.

After: Takeout dinners, watching children's DVDs, staying home.

Before: Talking about anything, everything, and especially each other.

After: Talking about schedules, tasks, and especially the kids.

And on the rare occasion when we are actually able to have a date night, that also has changed:

Before: Trendy outfit.

After: Whatever fits.

Before: A chic bag.

After: Digging my personal items out of our diaper bag to place in the outmoded purse I had used pre-motherhood.

Before: Ample time to apply makeup and style hair.

After: Happy if I remember to brush my hair.

Before: Cruising around in sleek two-seater convertible with the top down (well, not really, but at least it was some sort of vehicle that didn't resemble a bus).

After: Maneuvering a decidedly oversized vehicle stuffed with car seats, Costco-size cooler and forgotten playthings.

Before: 8 p.m. dinner reservation? No problem.

After: If the sun is not still out when we're starting dinner, it's already too late.

Before: At midnight, wondering which club to hit next.

After: At 9 p.m., wondering with a yawn, "Isn't it time for bed yet?"

Once back at home, the differences continue:

Before: Sleeping in until noon.

After: Sleeping in? What's that?

Before: Calling each other affectionate nicknames.

After: Calling each other Mom or Dad, often in a desperate tone (as in, "Daaad, help! The baby's pooped and I'm busy giving sister her bath!").

Before: Letting the radio or television play.

After: Quickly changing the channel if anything R-rated pops up, knowing that the little monkeys will, for example, gleefully repeat naughty words the next time they see Grandma.

Before: My hubby and I alone in bed.

After: We parents elbowed apart by two rambunctious kids who think the bed is best utilized as a trampoline, and who, when exhausted, like nothing better than to sleep snuggled up between Mommy and Daddy.

Before: Focusing on our marriage relationship.

After: Balancing our marriage relationship with the children's needs.

At least my husband and I are going out for Valentine's Day this year. Now where is my hairbrush?