I sometimes forget what life was like before my children entered the picture. I mean, before they were born I had a job (which I actually got paid for!), a social life that would make Carry Bradshaw envious and nights and weekends all to myself. Hours and hours of gorgeous time to spend however I pleased! I will be honest and say it’s the time I miss the most. I’m pretty fulfilled with the job I have now of raising two boys and my days of partying like a rock star every night are not quite as appealing as they used to be now that I’m over 30. But the time to do whatever I want without distraction? Well lets just say, id happily trade my Calvin Klein leather jacket for a weekend in bed, doing nothing but sleeping and watching movies and maybe even reading the Sunday paper without it getting soaked in baby gob or painted on by my 3-year-old.
Truth is, as much as I miss sleep (the most basic of human needs!), there are many other things I miss more than I care to admit. That’s not to say I in any way regret having children as young as I did. It just means I’m a normal mom who can at times feel overwhelmed by the daily stresses of motherhood and crave a little bit of freedom. I’m a mom, like most of you who has days where you wonder why on earth you gave it all up for your kids. I’m a good mom, who like you, has moments where you wish you could just go back for a day, a week, a month, to that time where it was all about you. Where you could be selfish and where life was your own. I miss many of the obvious things that are sacrificed when you have kids but sometimes it’s the small everyday things that leave me longing for the good â€˜old days.
I miss spontaneity. The ability to get up at any moment and be out the front door faster than you can say Is there a dummy in the nappy bag? I miss packing one jacket and a teeny tiny bag big enough to fit my purse and cell phone. I miss being able to plan and not plan. To change my mind. To go back on my word. (We all know that once you have said you are going to do something they just wont let it go!) I miss doing nothing. Sweet nothing. Staring into space and dreaming without being constantly interrupted. I miss not having to take a pool net off, to be able to get into a pool straight away. What I miss even more than that is not having to put it back on. I miss eating chocolate without hiding it from my 3-year-old at bedtime. I miss making one dinner instead of three.
Lets see what else? I miss having both hands to drink my early morning tea. To wrap my palms around my steaming cup and enjoy every sip. Yes, I miss hot tea. Tea that does not have be nuked 3 times before being thrown down the sink. I miss watching an entire movie from start to finish without rewinding, pausing or muting. I miss watching movies that don’t involve brightly colored little alien people and sounds that make you want to punch something. I miss wearing white for more than 3 seconds. I miss wearing heels for longer than it takes to change a nappy before admitting defeat and changing to flats. I miss wearing pretty lace bras. I really miss having the boobs to fill them. I miss danger, taking risks, living on the edge. Not bad danger but the thrilling I’m alive! kind. Yes, I really miss these things.
I mourned the loss of most of these things many years ago when my first son was born. I gave them up, surrendered them to a different way of life. And although I did so knowingly and with intent, I feel I will always miss them and long for the days where I might welcome them back again. The small little pleasures which are lost in the chaos of raising small kids. You know, like when both boys are in school and their lives are filled with extra murals, sleep over’s with friends and school camps. But having these pleasures return would mean my children have grown up. That they are independent. It would mean they don’t need me as much. What good will I be when they don’t need me anymore? It makes me realize that my babies will no longer be babies. That I wont experience another toothless grin or slobbery gurgle. I wont enjoy the sponginess of their little hands in mine or that deep belly laugh when I tickle their gorgeous tummies. That I will no longer explore puddles after the rain with my 3-year-old or see the wind in my baby’s hair as I twirl him in the air. There will be no more early morning cuddles or any time-of-the-day cuddles for that matter. Those are already becoming less frequent with my 3-year-old. No more reading bedtime stories and singing lullabies to sleep. There will be no tugs on my jersey begging to be picked up. No more playing hide and seek or peeka boo! I wont experience the sheer joy of their first steps and the excitement when they say their first words. These things will be over. These days will be gone.
So yes, I think there are going to be many things that I will miss more than hot tea and quality TV viewing. The way I see it., I WILL have my independence back one day and I will have many hours to fill doing all the things I thought I missed, but I will never get back these early years of my children’s lives. So I will remember that the next time I wipe their dirty hands or wake up at the sparrows fart to a wide awake toddler demanding breakfast. In the middle of the mundane every day routines, I will stop to think about how precious these days are. When my almost one year old needs an extra five minutes of cuddles before going to sleep, I will soak him in. I will consciously decide to embrace each and every moment. I will try to allow moments to linger, to not be rushed or too bothered with mess. To not be envious of a life without kids, but to live in the now. The beautiful, chaotic and child filled present.