Let’s not pretend like you don’t miss things. We love our kids and wouldn’t trade them for anything, but sometimes our minds linger on days past, when things were a bit easier and maybe a bit quieter too. Lose yourself in reverie with me for just a moment, and recall what it was like to not be a parent.
I remember the days when I got to pee alone. Ah, how I miss them. It seems like bliss now to think about how I could take my time in the bathroom. Now, I rush through my potty break so I can get back to monitoring my little tyke. In addition, who remembers what it was like to have regular showers? Glorious! I ought to have some shame about only showering a couple times a week, but hey, I’m a mom. That’s just how it is.
9. Hoots and Handles
My boobs used to look happy. They were energetic and were the same size from morning to night. I used to know what bra size I was. Now, the hoots are looking pretty tired and sad. My love handles have more handle to them and less love. Now the love handles are more robust and are kept company by the small doughnut residing around my middle. And instead of sprinkles, this doughnut has stretch marks.
I used to bring in the dough along with my working husband. Spending a bit on myself seemed more justifiable then when I was also working. Though my husband has a good job, I have a new guilt now about spending that I didn’t before. Instead of a pair of shoes or jeans at full price, these days I find spoiling myself looks more like a chai latte from the Warming House, or a nap, or simply sitting on the couch doing nothing. Can’t put a price on that, right?
7. Solving Problems
My awesome co-workers aside, I never enjoyed my job much as a pharmacy technician. But I do miss the challenge of using my brain to solve problems. I do very little critical thinking nowadays, and spend a lot more time saying things like, “Red triangle! Whoo! Green square! Yeah!” Most days, I don’t have the energy to think or say anything more complicated than that, which is just fine. But the adult conversations I do miss.
6. Traveling Was Easy
No one likes packing, but it was so much simpler back in the days before we had a kid. There was more room in the van on trips and so much less planning involved. I actually have reoccurring dreams now in which I am leaving the house or preparing to leave somewhere, and I am packing, packing, packing, packing seemingly endless baby things. Who knew kids required so much STUFF? Because it’s more of a hassle to travel with a kid, we tend to do less of it. I miss going places and seeing my friends and family more often. Instead, I just get to spend my days building up our own little family.
Oh the days before I had a kid or was pregnant! I love sleep. I could sleep all day. I knew I would miss it and I tried not to take it for granted that I slept through the night, but I would often find myself on sleepless nights watching a movie or television in the bedroom. For me, it used to be kind of a treat. Now, if I don’t get up five times a night, I am grateful. I had energy to do things and go places and see people. Back then, if I did have a bad night of sleep, I could take a nap if I needed! Or I could go to bed early or sleep in on the weekends! Ah sleep, how I miss thee.
4. Less Responsibility
I used to be responsible for just me. And maybe our dog Bacon, though he’s pretty self-sufficient. I didn’t use to spend all day following around a cute little kiddo, keeping her from getting into anything she shouldn’t. All I had to be responsible for was getting to bed on time, getting up on time for work, and paying my bills on time. But now, there’s a kid I’m responsible for taking care of. All day. All night. No pressure!
3. My Body Was My Own
I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted, drink alcohol without thinking twice, and I didn’t share my body with anyone else. I thought that after Grace was born that I would go back to feeling like I wasn’t sharing my body anymore, but boy was I wrong! Breastfeeding restricted me more than I thought it would, and I longed for the day when I could quit- simply for the reason that I could at last have my body to myself again. And of course, my husband was excited to not have to share my body with Grace too!
2. Quality Time
I used to be able to have alone time when I needed it. Being an introvert, I need me time to sort myself out, reenergize, and find my equilibrium. I miss being alone! It sounds strange, but I really do. But I also miss just hanging out with my husband. Remember those days when you could talk to your spouse without being interrupted? Remember when you could eat dinner in quiet? The first week that we had Grace home with us, I remember how deeply I missed my husband – and he had taken off the whole week to be home with us! Now my quality time is spent with Grace, and though I treasure it wholeheartedly, there are certainly days when I miss my husband still.
Feel like a target run? Feel like a burger? Well, too bad, you can’t! Before Grace, I had the freedom to leave the house whenever I wanted to, without having to plan ahead or pack. I could go on a photo adventure spur of the moment or a bike ride. While it’s true, I can do a lot of those things with Grace in tow (and often do), I miss the freedom to do it all without her if I wanted to.
It might seem a bit cruel to remind you of the way things used to be before you had kids. If you’re feeling bitterly nostalgic, my apologies. My goal is to make you realize all the sacrifices you’ve made in becoming a parent, and be proud of yourself for making them. It takes a lot to raise a child and requires more of our resources and energy than we can ever foresee.
But what an incredible tradeoff it is – we give our children everything we are because we love them, and in return – we love them. Understand? We give because we love them, and what we get back is that we love them – and love them more than we love our freedom, bodies, sleep, hygiene, money…
Your child is pure magic growing before your very eyes. Your child is a miracle that you have the privilege of experiencing every single day. This little miracle may drive you crazy, puke on you daily, make you want to quit, argue with you, deplete your energy and bank account, but come on, would you really trade any of it? Could you ever go back to your former life before kids, now that you have one or three? It isn’t wrong to miss sleeping in or spending your money on things besides diapers. It isn’t wrong to miss what your life used to be like. But if you look back, I think you’ll agree with me that nothing in your life is as valuable as the little miracle messing with how things used to be.