By Gillian for A Baby on Board
How does London change when you’re a parent…? ‘Great news!’ I thought this week when I read that the Night Tube might actually be happening soon. And then I realised, it’s been years pre-children since we’ve lived on a tube line and the rare times I venture out in the evening it’s on the bus, to somewhere local, and I’m tucked up in bed before 12 (10.30). Oh.
Here’s 12 other ways London changes once you’re a parent:
- Baby on Board? You’re still green around the gills on the morning commute, but this time the only person in the carriage who didn’t go out for ‘just the one’ Thursday night drinks with your colleagues
- Guest lists? Now it’s all about nursery place waiting lists. Who knew you should have put your child’s name down ten years before you even started thinking about thinking about children? And it costs how much a month? Thanks for nothing, London
- You make the inevitable retreat from central central to zone 4 or 5. Or even *whispers* beyond that. It’s like a slow walk of shame you hope your twenty-something self won’t see (you swore it would never happen…)
- Previously you picked living locations based on pubs, bars and rolling-out-of-bed proximity to transport links. Now it’s all about sensible things like space, green places, schools and the closeness to Waitrose
- The newest pop-up restaurants and avent garde city supper club scene means nothing to you, but you’re all about Pizza Express and Giraffe. Wine AND crayons? Everyone’s happy. Bring it on
- All those glorious acres of London’s green spaces used to be a convenient location for your Sunday paper pre-pub picnic, or summer weekend Prosecco fest. Now? Finding the play park and trying not to freeze while you secretly check Facebook in your pocket
- Clapham Junction, once the hungover harbinger of doom that work was very close, is now a glorious joy with its wide platforms and lift access to every level
- Before? You knew the tube map like the back of your hand and could locate shortcuts and secret places all over the city. Now, you’ve a bone fide catchment area bore who can recite the distance for all of the 800 schools within coughing distance of your house (‘I know, 0.004 miles! Ridiculous!’)
- All these amazing tourist attractions, events, and places of interest..that you never went to because they’re two too many stops away on the tube and you were always hungover. Now? You still don’t go because the pram on the tubeis a faff and they’re too full of children (although looking at everything through the eyes of your own child, it is kind of cool that there are some jewels in a tower, a big old bridge and the Queen of England lives in a massive castle right in the middle of it all)
- People now actually speak to you in the the street and on public transport…if only to dole out unwanted parenting advice and generally unhelpful comments. Come back, no eye contact and deathly silence, all is forgiven
- You get really nostalgic for things like the top deck of the bus, the ground floor of Topshop Oxford Circus and standing outside pubs in the road in the summer
- Tired of London, tired of life? Nope, just really, really tired.