I use this expression rather often and semi-ironically meaning Before Children rather than Before Christ, so instead of constantly putting (Before Children) in parentheses after I use it, I decide to give it its own post I could just link to in future and save time. Because as a mother of four and borderline OCD type, I am all about saving time, don’t you know.
I divide my life into the epochs BC and OMG (kidding!! well, sort of) because having children Changes Everything.
In the years BC, my mother-in-law used to say, mainly when she was trying to talk me into postponing childbearing, “Once you have children, your life will never be your own again. It’s finished. Over.” My sister-in-law would say, if I ever ventured an opinion on anything child-related (I was a teacher, recall, so had the temerity to think I might actually know something about kids), “You can’t possibly understand. You don’t have children.” Which hurt, since I wanted them so desperately, and was having such a damnably hard time getting them. It was only in the years since having children that I’ve come to understand how right she was. I didn’t understand. I didn’t have children.
My mother-in-law was right, too. It did change everything. My life isn’t my own anymore. But what she didn’t tell me – and what most people who make sarcastic, disparaging remarks about parenthood to the uninitiated don’t tell them – is that it changes everything for the better. Really. It’s much, much harder, but it’s also much, much richer in every way. Think about it: did you ever get anything worth having, anything you really treasured, without effort?