New Year ain't what it used to be
We all know that things change when you’ve got kids.
But the biggest shock to the system after my first baby wasn’t just the lack of sleep, or loving someone in ways I’d never thought possible – or even that it had somehow become acceptable to have a conversation with your other half about another human being’s poo.
It was what happened on New Year’s Eve.
When you’re childless, what you’re doing on 31st December is of monumental importance.
You might welcome in the new year in Times Square, a big old farmhouse with friends, or by dancing the night away with like-minded people who don’t have to be up with a toddler the next day. It really doesn’t matter where – as long as it’s awesome.
It just isn’t acceptable to consider something low-key. If you’re childless, under thirty and even know who Jools Holland is, people think there must be something wrong with you.
When you have kids, there is none of this pressure.
Your focus is so firmly on Christmas, that it’s only when that’s over that you actually remember New Year exists - and that in previous years you’d have been planning something for months that would involve the kind of excess from which you’d need a magnum of Alka Seltzer to recover.
I know some people will be lamenting the death of their massive NYE party, the champagne, the round-the clock celebrating.
But, while I’m a few steps short of spending the evening in my slippers, I’ll be honest and say I prefer the lack of fuss these days.
With three kids, it wasn’t a wrench to leave behind the kind of night that ended in you holding your friend’s hair back while she introduced her dinner to a toilet bowl, or got chatted up by a couple of blokes who only started shaving last year.
I still love a big night out – just not on New Year’s Eve, when half the population seems to be fighting for a taxi.
New year is all fur coat and no knickers as far as I’m concerned (and I mean that metaphorically, not that it’s my preferred look for the evening).
It’s not worth the hours waiting at a bar, or the mild deflation afterwards when you realise you could’ve had a mini break for the amount you’d spent on one night.
So this year, I’ll be surrounded by my family, a few friends and possibly Jools Holland - to bring in the new year in such a low key way it once would’ve horrified me. And I won’t even need to get a taxi home.