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How You Interpret Things Pre-Kids vs. Post-Kids

The world looks different after you have kids. This is partly because your eyes are always bloodshot and/or halfway open, leaving you to see things in a hazy, sleep-deprived blur. But it's also because your perspective changes. Things that seemed important before may seem less important after, and vice-versa. You understand things differently. You define words differently. And you interpret situations differently. Here are 12 different scenarios and how you may have interpreted them pre-kids versus post-kids.

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1. You have a stamp on your hand, leftover from the day before

Pre-kids interpretation: Oh thaaaat! You were up in da club. And got stamped on entry. And maybe even stamped for VIP bottle service. You don't remember. All you know is that you spent most of the night with a vodka tonic in one hand and fist-pumping the other. And you woke up so hungover today, that you didn't even bother to shower before you headed to In-N-Out for the greasiest burger you could get your hands on.

Post-kids reality: Chuck E. Cheese's, bitches.

2. A designer, white silk (or other dry-clean only fabric) article of clothing

Pre-kids interpretation: OMG. I love it. I can wear it to brunch on Sunday, along with the rest of my easily ruined, dry-clean only outfit. I'll take two.

Post-kids reality: Hahahahaha!

3. There is a wine stain on your rug

Pre-kids interpretation: Oh, you must have spilled some wine when you were slow dancing with your boyfriend/husband to very loud music playing late at night, heads thrown back in laughter, wine glasses in hand.

Post-kids reality: After you finally got the kids to sleep, you spilled some wine on either one of two occasions: when you poured yourself a glass of red and fell asleep three minutes later, standing up with the glass in your hand, or when you were swaying back and forth out of the weird mom habit of holding your glass of wine in one hand while channel surfing with the other. Either way, sad.

4. You have dark circles and bags under your eyes

There is no after-party because the "party" never ends.

Pre-kids interpretation: Perhaps you were out all night, at a party or a really cool lounge. And then perhaps you then went to an after-party, because you still had tons of energy to burn. Or maybe you got caught up last night marathon-watching "House of Cards" while painting your nails and doing whatever the hell you wanted to.

Post-kids reality: After-party? After what? After not getting my toddler to go to sleep? Or after giving in and letting her watch three episodes of "Peppa Pig" on the iPad? There is no after-party because the "party" never ends. It is continual. All the hours and days blend together. And the only marathon going on is the "one more story" marathon that gets old after Episode 1.

5. Your muscles are so sore, you feel it when you climb the stairs to your bedroom

Pre-kids interpretation: You may have just hit it hard at the gym today. In fact, you may have completed a workout trifecta in Pilates, Soul Cycle and then boxing classes—all in one day. And then maybe also some Cross-Fit. And then you stopped at the juicery on the way home and picked up your next 30-day cleanse.

Post-kids reality: Your muscles are sore because you hoist and carry a 30-pound human being around for nine hours of your day. And also, you are just old and worn down. And a diet of Mike and Ikes plus your kids' leftover chicken nuggets isn't really helping you reach your fitness goals, either. See: YOU HAVE KIDS.

6. Having a backpack with an extra change of clothes in your car

You can't predict when you're going to pee yourself.

Pre-kids interpretation: Maybe it's there for you to take with you to the gym every morning. Or, an even better possibility, perhaps you're packing something of an overnight bag, just in case something magical happens after your hot date with the Tom Hardy lookalike tonight.

Post-kids reality: You can't predict when you're going to pee yourself. It's happened before and it will happen again. But this time, you're prepared. There's nothing magical about your weak pelvic floor.

7. Guy with a puppy at the park

Pre-kids interpretation: "Awww. How sweet. He'd make the perfect father. He loves puppies, which means he'll also love kids. That's so hot."

Post-kids reality: "Oh please. Amateur."

8. You have crazy, disheveled, tousled hair

Pre-kids interpretation: You and the husband stopped home at the same time during the day. You had forgotten your artisan lunch that you spent an hour and a half preparing, and he was driving back to the office after a meeting and stopped home to "use the facilities" in the privacy of his own home. And then you both got horny and partook in a hot and heavy, drawn-out afternoon delight.

Post-kids reality: You just finished giving a series of painful horsie rides wherein you split your pants while gently "rearing" and your hair was used as the reins.

9. A 'Do Not Disturb' sign is hung on the hotel door

Pre-kids interpretation: S-E-X

Post-kids reality: N-A-P-S (and no, not yours)

10. You wake up and realize you've slept until noon

(Your alarm clock) is a living, breathing, energetic 2-year-old who does not have a snooze button.

Pre-kids interpretation: Aww crap! Your alarm didn't go off. Maybe you set it for p.m. and not a.m. That's all right, thankfully, it's Saturday, and you had only set your alarm for 9:30 so you could make it to the 10 a.m. yoga class.

Post-kids reality: You just woke from a dream within a dream. That never happened. Your alarm clock will never not go off because it is a living, breathing, energetic 2-year-old who does not have a snooze button. And who is not yoga.

11. Buying a new dress on the spot and wearing it out of the store

Pre-kids interpretation: Someone's feeling sassy, and just had to buy that dress she saw in the shop window, and then just had to wear it out of the store.

Post-kids reality: Your milk let down at the sound of Kenny G playing overhead in your office building's lobby and completely soaked the front of your dress 20 minutes before an important meeting.

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12. A mom, wearing sweats and yesterday's makeup at the grocery store

Pre-kids interpretation: Oh, wow. Maybe becoming a mom means you stop caring about how you look. Going out in public looking like exhaustion and despair? I'll never do that.

Post-kids reality: Ummm, you, at one point, whether for just one day or a string of days did do that. Most days you have your shit together, but some days you do whatever you can to keep the ship afloat. And though you do find it important to take care of yourself, sometimes a crazy morning of taming an unwilling toddler or juggling a full family schedule leaves you with only the time and will to slap a washcloth across your pits. Besides, you don't really give a rip what others think. You are a mother, a warrior, a strong woman. You birthed a big baby human, Champ. But best yet, you have a little rugrat or two or more at home that you can't wait to go home to and snuggle, who give you love and happiness you never thought possible in your pre-kid world. So sure, your pre-kids era was smooth and presentable and dry-clean only, but your post-kid reality is wild and WTF and wonderful.

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