Everyone tells you that having children will change your life. Strangers don’t hesitate to stop you in the street to tell you about how much that little seed growing inside of you will turn your whole life upside down; the sleepless nights, the non-stop feeding, the waving bye-bye to your social life (playgroups, yes, boozy nights on the town, no). And they’re not lying. Everything you’re pre-warned about is absolutely true. If you were ever under the illusion that your life was going to stay the same – calm, peaceful,
enjoyable – once your little bundle of joy came along, then I can only imagine the earth shattering shock you faced once you arrived home and realised that your old life was extinct.
But what you’re not told is that you lose more than just the obvious. The sleepless nights and the luxury of being able to shower every day are the losses that we all know about – it’s in the books and everything. But there’s more; a lot more. Parts of your life that you do every day and expect to be able to do for the rest of your life. Things you take for granted, things that you’ve never even paid attention to before and would never even contemplate that you’d miss them, that is until they disappear the moment you return from the hospital with a baby in your arms.
Have you ever had a bad day at work, and to overcome the shittiness and to get it all off your chest text your friends asking if they’d like to go for drinks within the hour? They all reply with an enthusiastic, yes, and apart from discussing travel arrangements, you just go. Remember that? You can’t do that when there’s a baby in the household. The luxury of making plans last minute flits away, taking your social life with it. B.C. (the good ol’ days before child) there was no need to check your husband’s work rota, to text the grandparents to see if they’d be available (and brave enough) to do a last minute babysitting shift, or to have a mental debate on whether or not it’s reasonable to let the 12-year-old next door babysit. I miss those days. The days where life was lived off-the-cuff; where arrangements could be made with only a minute’s notice. The closest I get to being spontaneous now is when I take the girls to the park on the way home from school without actually planning to go. Now, all arrangements need weeks – sometimes months – of strategic planning, which explains why suggestions for a casual night out, child free, dried up years ago.
Once you come to terms with the loss of your spontaneity and a blank social calendar is a common occurrence in your life, you’ll most likely turn to the one thing that can keep you entertained during the endless ‘nights in’ you have to look forward to – your TV. But don’t get too attached, as soon you’ll lose that too. It’ll happen gradually, but it will happen. You won’t be ‘allowed’ to turn it on, off, change the channel and god forbid you attempt to watch a programme that you actually enjoy. You may have had a preliminary practice of this situation with siblings, housemates, or partners; but nothing will prepare you for the shit that you’ll experience once you have to share your television with a demanding toddler. There’s no possibility of you watching anything that you want to, and unlike roommates, partners and siblings who watch programmes that you both share similar interests in, or at least, would be tolerable, these small humans watch TV that is designed to drive adults to insanity – Peppa Pig, Baby TV, Mr Tumble, it never stops. Your morning news will be replaced by the latest events in the land of Bing, weekend movies will exclusively be Disney’s, and if you think you’ll have better luck in the evenings, I have four words for you, In The Night Garden. Be prepared to have full control over the remote only after 9 pm (but you’ll most likely fall asleep on the sofa at 9.10pm).
Something that sneaks away so quietly (ironically) – that you’d barely even notice it’s missing – is your freedom to choose the music that you listen to. For the last ten years, whether it be in the car or in the house, this power has been snatched away from me without me even realising it. For years, I’ve been subjected to nursery rhyme CD’s, Princess playlists, the latest big movie soundtrack (Frozen, Moana and Trolls being the latest). I’ve been told to ‘turn it off’, ‘turn it over’ and have had to undergo years of my musical tastes being scoffed at by two small humans that haven’t even been alive long enough to know what ‘good’ music is. I’ve been a mother for so long now – ever since I was nineteen – that my two captors (otherwise known as my daughters) have trained me to believe that I just wasn’t interested in music – a take it or leave it kind of situation. But since we welcomed the Bang & Olufsen multiroom speaker collection into our home, I’ve come to the realise that it was my choice in music that I’d lost; not my love for it.
We’ve owned speakers in the past, but it’s no surprise that the only sound pumped from them would be the agonising warble of Amelia’s favourite poptastic girl band, or of Penny’s too-happy-to-handle nursery rhymes, so I’d resigned myself to daily life without a soundtrack. It was better for my ears that way. So, when three Bang & Olufsen speakers arrived at my door, all with the ability to play the same song simultaneously throughout my home, or better still, play different songs in each room, my love for music was restored.
Wanting to get the best from my new products, I did the unimaginable, and read the instructions (a real rarity in this house). Once I’d downloaded the BeoMusic app, I was able to have complete control over the M5 speaker, even when it was hidden in Amelia’s room *enter an evil laugh*. So, when she starts blaring her favourite song throughout the house, I jump onto the app and turn it down to a more desirable volume, eliminating the need to scream (or worse, run) up the stairs to tell her to ‘turn it down’. And although I’m finally being able to listen to any song, radio, or podcast that I wish, if I need any additional entertainment, it’s always great fun to skip her track just as she’s about to go for the high note. Not only is this hilarious, and payback for all the years she’s restricted my music, it’s also saving my ears from the torture.
The ability to play a variety of music in each room is a huge hit in our house; however, the intuitive Touch to Join feature is also a great way to carry your sound wherever you go. Each morning, once the girls have both gone to school, I begin operation ‘tidy the breakfast aftermath’ while catching up on my favourite podcasts. With the previous speakers we’ve owned, once you leave the room or move upstairs, you’d struggle to hear whatever was playing. With the Bang & Olufsen multiroom collection, you can connect all of the speakers together, so that they work harmoniously as one. This means that you can listen to the same song/podcast/or radio station on all, just by tapping the device. When I begin playing a podcast through the BeoSound1 in the kitchen, as I migrate upstairs, I tap the M5 speaker in Amelia’s room which will then play my podcast upstairs too – I never miss a sound.
*this post was sponsored by Bang & Olufsen, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.