When someone asks you what its like to be a parent one of the acceptable standard answers that you can give is “I don’t know what I did before my baby was born.” Implying that your life didn’t really start until you gave birth to your child. Yes, being a parent is life-changing in many good ways but let's be honest, sometimes it can be downright miserable and I know exactly what I did before having a baby.
Sleep! Yes, that’s how I’m going to start this off because that’s what I miss most. I miss sleep so much. I miss the days where waking up at 6 am meant that I was going to some Caribbean island for a long weekend and only happened a few times a year instead of daily. I miss going out for drinks on a Friday or Saturday night and sleeping in as late as I wanted to the next day. Although I wasn’t a big user of the snooze button, there were sometimes when it came in mighty handy and I miss that snooze button. I miss uninterrupted sleep. Contrary to what you may hear, just because your child sleeps through the night doesn’t mean that you will. For one, after having a baby, there’s a good chance that your bladder has been changed forever and you’ll be up at least once in the middle of the night for a bathroom break. And the noises…I can’t speak for dads, but moms hear EVERY sound that their children make so count on being stirred with every cough, sneeze or moan!
I miss sex! I miss having sex frequently and I miss having sex with my husband whenever we felt like it rather than having to schedule it just to make sure that we don’t go weeks without having sex. I miss going out in general, with my husband or with my friends. I’m lucky and still go out at least once a week with either my husband or with friends but it's not as carefree as it once was. Last night I went out for drinks with a friend and felt like I was watching the clock the whole time because I wanted to get home and get to bed because I knew there was a high probability that Sydney would be up at the crack of dawn (I was right by the way!) If I go out with my husband, we’re looking at the clock because we have to relieve the babysitter.
I miss going to the bathroom with the door closed and without being supervised by a toddler as well as going to the bathroom when I have to go instead of when my daughter is completely taken care of me and doesn’t need anything. While on that topic, I miss hot food and eating because I’m hungry and for joy instead of when I have time to stuff whatever is conveniently in my house and for survival. I miss being able to have a continuous conversation with another adult. It never ceases to baffle me how long it takes to get to the conclusion of a story whenever a kid is in the room. I miss rushing. This is probably unique to me because not everyone enjoys rushing but I do. I miss giving myself just enough time to get ready and rushing to get where I’m going. Anyone with a child knows that the concept of rushing goes out of the door from day one and even when you plan accordingly, you can plan on being late. I also miss being on time!
This isn’t meant to be a laundry list of complaints, more of an honest mom manifesto. It’s okay to miss things about your old life and still thoroughly love things about your new life and as parents, we shouldn’t feel guilty or shamed for doing so. I love my daughter and think about her and how I can be a better mom incessantly. I get tingles when she surprises me by performing some new skill that I didn’t know she was capable of. Her laughter and smile are contagious and she gives the best hugs and the sweetest wet kisses. Her cuddles are like a super power and give me more fuel and motivation than any cup of coffee ever has. Its so very exciting seeing her happily discover all of the things that I take for granted on a daily basis. I’ve never felt more loved than I do when she squeals every time I walk into a room…even if I’ve only been gone for a few minutes. She inspires me to be a better person and to be the best role model that I can possibly be. As much as I miss all of those things and can tell you exactly what I did before she was born, I can’t imagine a life without her and wouldn’t trade my current life for anything in the world.