The Difference Ten Years Makes

At 23 you break up with your boyfriend but stay on birth control just in case. You don’t mind the monthly expense and no matter how much alcohol you’ve been drinking you always remember your pills. If an accident happened your life would be ruined.

At 33 you’ve discovered that children are the best form of birth control. The monthly expense would go better towards groceries and clothes for your ever-growing children. Besides, no matter how much coffee you drink, you never remember to take them. If an accident happens, what odds, your house is already magotty with kids.

At 23 you work two part-time jobs, plus volunteer and go to school full-time. If it’s 5am and you’re still up partying and/or writing a last-minute essay, you find it easier to just stay awake and hit your 8am class or shift, barrel through the day and catch up on your sleep the next night.

At 33 you have one never-ending job plus, possibly, a full-time job and your kid’s school work. If it’s 5am and your kids have woken you for the third time you find yourself calculating how many minutes of sleep you could grab if you lay your head on the kitchen counter while they eat their cereal. You know that you will never sleep again.

At 23 your life is before you. There is nothing you can’t do. You’ve got degree in hand, a handsome boyfriend - or at least a good prospect - and are starting to save towards your down-payment for your first home.

At 33 you have no idea where your life went. You feel like you did nothing. Your degree is packed in a box somewhere, your husband thinks you need more exercise and your house repairs are eating into any retirement savings you’ve managed to build.

At 23, on a night when you’re not working or studying, you find yourself absently wandering your basement apartment. TV is boring, no one to call, laundry is done. You feel lonely and aimless

At 33, on a night when the kids went to bed on time and the housework is actually done already you find yourself absently wandering your home. TV is mindless, housework is done, no one to call. You sneak up to your children’s rooms, stare at them sleeping, kiss and tuck them in and then cuddle in your husband’s arms.

Life is good.

What differences have you experienced?


  1. Oh, how beautiful!

    I can say that I have learned how wonderful life is since having children! :D

  2. 20 something - when not working you get to sleep in till whenever.

    30 something - get woken at 7.30 by a small boy wanting lots of cuddles.

    Who needs sleep eh, when you can have cuddles instead.

  3. Actually, since having a child, my house is cleaner and more organized than it was before the baby arrived. My finances are more organized because I keep track more, etc. If I want to go out, I go out - thanks to a fantastic husband and wonderful parents.

    Aside from the first few months, sleep hasn't been an issue and I have been able to get to the gym regularly since going back to work. I honestly never understood people who thought that not showering or eating because their child "needed" something made them a better parent. Overall, every change in my life as a result of being a parent has been positive. I think that is because a parent has become a part of who I am rather than replacing who I am.

  4. At 23 my biggest worries were how I was going to afford to buy that sequined salsa dress I was desperately coveting. And whether or not I'd get into an MFA program for grad school.

    At 33, I was a new mom and constantly paralyzed with fear that something terrible would happen to my children.

    I miss the sequined salsa dresses and the angsty poetry days. But the peanut butter stained daily glitter of my life now with my crazy toddler children is more poetry than I could ever have expected or imagined when I was 23.


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