Before you have kids, your life is awash with fulfilling great expectations.
, promotion at work and designer shoes all tick the happiness box
But post-reproduction, we mums get our kicks from the small things...
Someone, anyone, cooks you dinner. Even if it is a microwaved jacket potato with baked beans and cheese, you are insanely grateful. Unless your husband does it and is that all the lazy git could manage?
Any performance by any of your children in any sport, show or group thingie. As long as it's not done over and over and over in the lounge with their best friend and involves making fart noises with their armpits.
A dandelion from a sticky little hand, whose owner announces: "I've picked this for you, Mum." Never mind that it's wilting and near where that dog just did its business.
A bar of chocolate to yourself, free from begging children throwing those 'it's-nice-to-share' words back in your face. Or even the chocolate sprinkling on a cappucino all to yourself.
A hangover-free weekend. Bit boring on Friday and Saturday nights but worth that high when you wake up feeling as good as it's possible to feel with two children who always get up at 6am whatever day it is.
The kids ask to go to bed. So rare, it's officially the most potent form of legal bliss going.
Being left alone long enough to let your nail varnish dry so it doesn't go smudgy when one of the kids asks you to immediately fish out that miniscule piece of Lego from your fluff-filled handbag.
After eight duvet changes in 24 hours, your poorly child finally stops being sick.
Hanging out the washing weather. Yes, this is sad, and yes, this is entirely unfeminist. But admit it, it makes you happy.
Having fought all the way in the car, the kids behave impeccably when it matters.
Being told "you're beautiful, Mummy". Please note, do not spoil the 'basking in happiness' moment by wondering if they have problems with their eyesight.
That Sunday night feeling. No longer 'oh God, I've got to go back to work on Monday' but 'thank God they're back at school
Eight hours of deep, unbroken sleep. Even better if achieved in the spare room alone with the door shut.
A cup of tea and a piece of toast which are still hot when you finish them.
Wallowing in the water in a bathroom which has been unpolluted by those who magically need a poo when you turn on the taps.
A scrawly egg-person drawing of the family which has a really small daddy in the bottom left and a larger-than-life mummy smack-bang in the middle.
The kids learn to swim so you can actually (sort of) read a book by the pool instead of playing lifeguard. You still have to respond to every 'look at me' though.
A beautifully tuneless version of Happy Birthday.
Your mum or mum-in-law offers to change all the bedding. Better if husband does it but so far there are no recorded instances of this ever happening in our lifetime so get your thrills where you can.
Seeing your kids enjoy their dinner. But only if they leave a few chips for you at the end. Happiness level maximised if said meal contains vegetables, hidden or otherwise.
Shutting the front door behind you when your other half is in charge. Even if you're just going to the supermarket.
When your children learn to read IN SILENCE.
When your children no longer shout "finished!" from the loo.
If the kids aren't with you, lengthy waits to see the doctor or dentist are nothing to moan about. You actually get the chance to read a magazine.
The words "shall I do it for you?". Remember to tell whoever's offering that those tears are of appreciation not misery.
More on Parentdish:
10 things you swore you would never do BEFORE you had children
You know you're turning into your mum when....
“You’re not a mother until you’ve had nits.”</p>
<strong>TV star Coleen Nolan</strong></p>
“I was not a classic mother...I didn’t bake cookies. You can buy cookies, but you can’t buy love.”</p>
<strong>Actress Raquel Welch </strong> </p>
<strong><em>“</em></strong>Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shovelling the walk before it stops snowing.”</p>
<strong>Actress Phyllis Diller</strong></p>
“Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he is buying.”</p>
<strong>Author Fran Lebowitz</strong></p>
“Life is tough enough without having someone kick you from the inside.”</p>
<strong>Comedienne Rita Rudner</strong></p>
“Having a baby is like watching two very inefficient removal men trying to get a very large sofa through a very small doorway, only in this case you can't say, 'Oh, sod it, bring it through the French windows.'"</p>
<strong>Comedienne Victoria Wood</strong></p>
“You can’t qualify in the subject but you’re expected to have a vast number of qualifications: chauffer, diplomat, vet, clown, Blue Peter presenter, chef, paramedic, critic, referee, weapons inspector, therapist, computer expert, liar.”</p>
<strong>Actress Imogen Stubbs</strong></p>
“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.<strong>"</strong></p>
<strong>Author </strong><strong>Tenneva Jordan </strong></p>
"The first time you leave your child at school you're faced with a tough decision - down the pub or back to bed?”</p>
<strong>Comedienne Jo Brand</strong></p>
"There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.” </p>
<strong>Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson</strong></p>
“A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child."</p>
<strong>Actress Sophia Loren </strong></p>
"Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease."</p>
<strong>American writer Lisa Alther</strong></p>
“Nothing will ever make you as happy or sad, as proud or as tired as motherhood.”</p>
<strong>Author Elia Parsons</strong></p>
"A mother “is a nutritionist, a child psychologist, an engineer, a production manager, an expert buyer, all in one.”</p>
<strong>Anthropologist Margaret Mead </strong></p>
“Motherhood is “having someone else to blame when there is a rude smell in the air.”</p>
<strong>Actress Jane Horrocks</strong></p>
“You know you really are a mother when: you use your own saliva to clean your child's face; your child throws up and you catch it.”</p>
<strong>Humorist Erma Bombeck</strong></p>
“The story of a mother’s life: Trapped between a scream and a hug.”</p>
<strong>Cartoonist</strong><strong> Cathy Guisewite</strong></p>
“Motherhood is not for the fainthearted. Frogs, skinned knees, and the insults of teenage girls are not meant for the wimpy.”</p>
<strong>Author Danielle Steel</strong></p>
“Never being number one in your list of priorities and not minding at all.”</p>
<strong>Model and designer Jasmine Guinness</strong></p>
“Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help mom with the dishes.”</p>
<strong>Writer P.J. O’Rourke </strong></p>