20 Words That Mean Something Totally Different Once You’re a Parent

Think vacations, bubble baths and blowouts sound fun? Just wait ‘til you’ve have kids.
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ByAshlee Neuman
Deputy Editor
Updated
Jan 2018
loud toddler with messy mouth
Photo: Darby S.

Once you become a parent, you tend to see the world in a whole new light—and certain words that used to so aptly describe your kid-free life suddenly take on a completely different meaning. Here, we’ve rounded up 20 common phrases and how their definitions quickly change with the arrival of a child.

1. Weekend

Before kids: Sleeping in until noon and then going for brunch with friends

After kids: Waking up at the crack of dawn and then coaxing your kids to put on their shoes so you can go to the zoo

2. Blowout

Before kids: A luxurious hair treatment at the salon

After kids: A scary mess of epic proportions waiting for you in baby’s dirty diaper (and up his back, down his legs and all over the car seat)

3. Eating Out

Before kids: Enjoying a three-course gourmet meal at the latest restaurant du jour

After kids: Trying to scarf your food down before your kids get tired of coloring in the kiddie menu and start acting up

4. Go for a Stroll

Before kids: Take a romantic walk with your partner

After kids: Push the stroller up and down the block in hopes baby will fall asleep

5. 5 a.m.

Before kids: A time of day you’re not at all acquainted with

After kids: The time your kids wake up every. darn. day.

6. Bath Time

Before kids: Taking a relaxing soak with candles and a glass of wine

After kids: Getting drenched as you try to wash your slippery, splashing child

7. Shushing

Before kids: What you occasionally do to chatty people at the movie theater

After kids: Your constant soundtrack for life with baby

8. Tired

Before kids: When you’re ready for bed after a long day

After kids: When you start hallucinating after not sleeping for three days straight

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9. Lounging by the Pool

Before kids: Sunbathing with your earbuds in and a cocktail in hand

After kids: Frantically scanning the pool every 20 seconds to keep track of your kids

10. Elmo

Before kids: Some strange, furry creature on Sesame Street

After kids: A total godsend for all toddler negotiations

11. Shaving your legs

Before kids: A regular self-care necessity

After kids: A luxury you get to enjoy once every blue moon

12. Gross

Before kids: A dirty tissue

After kids: Having dealt with all manner of bodily fluids, you don’t even want to know what qualifies as gross nowadays

13. Joggers

Before kids: Cute athleisure pants

After kids: Jogging strollers—aka the only way you get some exercise in these days

14. Coffee

Before kids: Your morning drink

After kids: Your lifeblood

15. Nap

Before kids: A chance to doze during the afternoon

After kids: A hard-fought hour to yourself while your child mercifully sleeps

16. Covers

Before kids: Cozy blankets you snuggle up with

After kids: Things that protect surfaces from baby—the crib mattress, changing pad, nursing pillow, stove knobs (the list goes on)

17. All-nighter

Before kids: A raging party that lasted ‘til dawn

After kids: A miserable night where baby’s incessant cries kept you from getting any shuteye

18. Privacy

Before kids: Alone time

After kids: What is privacy again?

19. Vacation

Before kids: A getaway to relax and recharge

After kids: A trip where you pack a ton of stuff, struggle to deal with an overtired child and return home more exhausted than when you left

20. Family

Before kids: Annoying in-laws and crazy cousins

After kids: The thing that brings you the greatest joy in the world

Published January 2018

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