Night time shenanigans used to involve fun, karaoke, booze and boys... Now you've more likely got a hot date with a screaming baby or a breast pump. How things have changed.
To Sleep, Perchance To Dream...
You understand for the first time why sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture. 'String me up by my highlights, but please allow me to shut my eyes for longer than three hours,' you want to scream at your cruel master... Who simply gurgles in response.
Your fridge is as noisy as that drunkard you lived next door to at university. It comes alive at night, moaning, creeping and groaning at a deafening level. Of course you interpret the hum as a siren call, beckoning you in to finish the leftover chow mein, despite it being 3am.
Being the only thing in the world your child needs in the middle of the night is like a double-edged sword. On one hand, you feel like you have super powers, Mother Nature in pyjamas, saving the next generation. But on the other hand, you just want to lie horizontally and dream about David Beckham.
Late night television really is as bad as you imagined. And who on Earth is responding to these party line adverts?
Some of your neighbours are into some very weird stuff, if the flickering candles and reflections across the street are anything to go by. Just think, at least it's not Ugly Naked Guy...
Barefoot And (Recently) Pregnant
You're so tired from these night feeds you now leave the house without shoes on - and you're too exhausted to go back and put some on. Kate Moss made barefoot a thing, didn't she?
Many people still have social lives. During the stony silence of a 4am feed, you'll hear cabs pull up in your road, 'cheers mate' and lusty, drunken giggles echoing along the pavement, a cruel reminder that life has gone on. Yours has just taken a very different route.
Shadows still scare you. Is that Freddie Kruger creeping in the front door or just your husband's raincoat on the hatstand?
You'll suddenly have all this time on your hands, with baby at breast or bottle, to contemplate all that has gone before. The good, the bad and the ugly. The ones who got away... The ones who should have gone away sooner... And the ones you never got. Just as well no one can see you blush in the dark, right?
You resent your husband and his fresh-faced eight hours of sleep smug-face so much your eyes are constantly rolling whenever he speaks.
Bambi On Ice
You are not as graceful as you imagine. Despite attempted feline-esque hopping, skipping and sliding you will find that creaky floorboard. And it will creak. Loudly. You'll feel as dainty as an elephant in hot pants roaming your home at 5am.
Heaven On Earth
You always knew you liked your bed, but now getting to lie in it for four hours uninterrupted feels as luxurious as a week at an Aman resort.
You'll appreciate that as rough as these times are, it's only going to get worse. At least at the moment you're up at 3am with your precious baby in your arms. Fast forward 18 years and you'll still be up, but he'll be off at a rave, or on an inappropriate date... Out of arm's reach.
Life After Baby
Jon Bon Jovi had a point when he sang 'I'll live while I'm alive, I'll sleep when I'm dead.' This new life of motherhood is worth the dark circles, grey complexion and brain drain. There will be a point when you'll miss these midnight meetings once they’re gone. Honest.
Although you're beyond tired and would rather be in the world of slumber, there is something incredibly peaceful and magical about the time it's just you and your baby, wrapped up against the world, comforted by each other's breath, invincible and united.
Motherhood isn't just about exhaustion and all-encompassing love. There's a lot of secret shame thrown in the mix too. But understand, while you're worrying about just what kind of an harassed harridan you've turned into, all the other mamas are feeling the same...