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6 Things You Said in College That Mean Something Different When You’re A Parent

Photograph by Twenty20

Sometimes I think it hasn’t really been that long since I was in college. I recently saw some collegiates packing their cars to head back to school and I felt like that was me 4 years ago.

I mean, I have three children, so maybe it’s been more than 4 years since I was loading up my Honda Accord with plastic drawers and a shower caddy.

Maybe it’s been more like 6 years since I was in college. Well, no. I have a 9-year-old dog that my husband gave me on our wedding day. So it has been longer than 6 years since I packed up my velour tracksuit and left college.

Feels like just 10 years ago that I was packing up my glitter… no. That’s not right either. I’ve lived in five houses since I graduated college, so maybe it’s been more than a decade.

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Ugh. Fourteen. Fourteen years have passed since I traded in my super short College-Girl Shorts for the ever-comfortable yet less revealing Mommy Yoga Pants. Four jobs, one husband, one dog, five residences and three kids can cloud a girl’s memory a little. So yeah, guess it has been more than 4 years since I was in college.

Your shitty night begins when a screaming child whose diaper couldn’t handle the shitacular mess that is now covering the child, the bed and the walls awakens you.

It’s not only my life that has changed in that time but also how I interpret things. I won’t ask you to calculate how long you’ve been out of college, frankly who needs the math, but I will share with you some things that used to mean something totally different to all of us. These six phrases meant one thing to our college-selves and mean something totally different now that we’re parents.

1. Kiss goodnight

Then: “Did you guys kiss goodnight?”

“Yes! The best kiss ever. I want to marry him! I want every day, for the rest of my life, to end with a goodnight kiss from that man.”

Now: You crawl into bed after handing out multiple rounds of goodnight kisses to the children. You’re about to shut your eyes when you wonder when the last time you received a goodnight kiss from that handsome husband of yours. You begin to roll over to kiss him goodnight and decide that he will most definitely interpret that as foreplay, and you’re too tired for that. You silently blow him a goodnight kiss across the pillows.

2. Got shitty last night

Then: Drinking so much the night before that your only goal of the day was to complete a movie marathon. You then decided that, even though you “got shitty last night,” you should go out again. Like, still hungover. You vow to drink beer instead of tequila as to lessen the degree of shittiness you will feel tomorrow. Which, in retrospect, wasn’t all that shitty.

Now: If things got shitty last night it’s because literally someone shit the bed. Legit human feces, people. Some sort of explosion happened between 12 and 4 a.m. Could it have happened around 9? You know, before you fell asleep? No, not likely. Your shitty night begins when a screaming child whose diaper couldn’t handle the shitacular mess that is now covering the child, the bed and the walls awakens you. “Got shitty last night” means a bath, laundry and disinfectant spray at 2 a.m.

Oh silly you. You had never truly experienced 'up all night.'

3. Up all night

Then: Though you only were held accountable for, like, three hours a day to attend two classes, somehow you wasted an entire day and then forced yourself to stay “up all night” writing a paper that was due the next day. As soon as that paper was turned in, you turned in too. You came home and slept the rest of the day. That is, until it was time to get up and go to the bars.

Now: Oh silly you. You had never truly experienced “up all night.” Now you get to really live an “up all night” scenario with your beautiful newborn baby. Remember how good your younger self felt crawling into bed at 10 a.m. after having been up all night? Yeah, no, that’s not going to happen now. Now, after you’ve been up all night, you will be required to function as a productive person and maintain high levels of responsibility such as caring for an incapable human being and generating income.

4. Getting ready

Then: Turn on some music. Spend a solid 90 minutes showering, applying makeup, doing your hair, painting your nails, redoing your hair, picking out your outfit, trying on another outfit “just because.”

Now: Turn on the TV for your children. Spend nine minutes showering yourself. There are no outfit choices now when you’re getting ready. You own one shirt for this season, and it is what you will wear. You just noticed a stain on it? Oops, too late. Your time is up and your remaining “getting ready” time will be used to get everyone else in the house wiped down, combed and dressed.

Hooking up at the park, at the mall. Hooking up after school, after soccer, before gymnastics.

5. Hook up

Then: Making-out, doing the deed, light petting, whathaveyou.

Now: Now you “hook up” with other moms for playdates. Hooking up at the park, at the mall. Hooking up after school, after soccer, before gymnastics. Hooking up becomes your way to maintain contact with other adults. The old “hooking up” was more fun—yet it’s the same amount of dread when you run into someone you used to hook up with but are now avoiding.

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6. Pick me up

Then: You and your ladies were going out for the night, and you weren’t going to be stuck driving. Sometimes you were ready early and just sat by the window and waited to be picked up. Sitting … waiting … to be picked up and driven somewhere. (I know, it’s like I’m talking about aliens.)

Now: At least once an hour someone shouts at you, “Pick me up! Up! UP MOMMY!” You surprise yourself with how well you can balance while holding two children, a laundry basket and a bottle of wine.

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Kim Mower is a writer and mom to three young children. A sampling of her work can be found on kimmower.com. Sometimes she tweets @a_housewife but most of her day is spent caring for her children who demand things like food and attention.