I feel like posts like this always need a giant disclaimer that screams "YES!! I LOVE MY CHILDREN AND WOULD TAKE A BULLET FOR THEM AND WOULD NEVER GIVE THEM BACK" or women get lambasted for even speaking the truth that while we love our children, there can also be things we miss about life before kids. So please, if you feel the need to let me know that I should feel blessed for having kids and how I'm an unnatural mother for missing aspects of my life before them, please please save your breath. This post is not for you.
If you know me, you know I have 2 children ages "almost" 4 and "almost" 2... My daughter, my first born, is a tiny pillar of energy and personality. She's the most complete extrovert I've ever met and as an introvert, it's a challenge for me. My son, my sweet surprise baby boy, is possibly a genius and the most studious toddler I've ever seen. He loves to practice golf and any other task that requires multiple tries. He is unfazed by failure.
I realize that many of the things I'm going to list today are likely to change as my kids get older, so I'd love to hear from you other moms what the things you miss are!
Baths... I miss baths and luxurious grooming time. I love baths... I dream about baths. I "shop" for homes on Zillow to look at bathrooms with luxurious bath tubs. Before kids, I would take a bath regularly. Not as a way to get clean, but as a way to relax. Grab a book, a glass of wine, my special bath pillow, the little tray that goes over the bath to hold that book, and that wine , maybe a snack and definitely some candles and bubble bath. We currently live in (and are unlikely to move any time soon) an awesome mid-century home with a standard tub in the hall bathroom and a walk-in shower in the master bath. Since I've had kids almost 4 years ago, I have had 1 bath that didn't involve children and now shower-time which used to at least be 5 minutes of alone time has turned into family shower time as the kids have decided that showers are better than baths... Someday...
Going to the movies... You might think, "hey, you get a sitter and you go! Not that hard, lady" but in reality, that's just not the case. And here's why... My husband and I get about 1 short date night about every week and a half. I know for lots of parents that's a LOT of date nights and we've worked really hard over the past year to try to carve those dates out. But nine times out of ten, it's a quick happy hour date at one of two places that are on my husband's way home from work and close to my office so that we can still make it home to put the kids in bed at 7pm. Definitely no time for a movie. And even if we did carve out a 3.5hr chunk of time that is the minimum requirement for going to a movie these days, we always end up saying the same thing. "I'd really just like to go somewhere where we can talk and just be together." Which brings me to my next thing...
Talking to my husband. My husband and I worked together for 9 years and we talked ALL THE TIME... we were married for 10 years before the birth of my daughter and together for years before that. I like my husband. Like, really like him. We enjoy talking together, discussing ideas, business, politics, movies, books, etc. But since we had kids we rarely "talk". When he gets home from work, or when I do it's all kids, all the time. My daughter is a chatter box and my son still needs a lot of attention and doesn't quite talk yet so there's a lot of babble and pulling and pointing. We immediately sit down to dinner together which is a whole other situation with a 4 year old who can stretch a meal to an hour then it's normally time to start bed-time routine which involves a lot of commitment from both of us, then we both sit while my husband and daughter read their goodnight books while I'm normally nursing my son, then we say our "words" or affirmations, do a family hug and kiss and kids in bed by 7:30. My husband still stays in bed with the kids at least until my son has fallen asleep in his crib, then he says goodnight to my daughter and sneaks out... Now it's 8pm. By this time we are both so exhausted and we both have careers that require us to talk to people all day (or to my children all day) that we just want to watch a quick 30 minute show and go to bed. I know it won't be this way forever, but I do miss it in the present.
Long yoga classes, spin classes, and two-hour workouts at the gym. These flew out the window once I had kids. The mom-guilt was too strong. Not to mention that I didn't have the mental space to plan a gym workout anymore or the body to look great in a yoga class or bouncing about on a spin bike! I traded in all of that for something that works for where I'm at now in my life. I've got an amazing Orange Theory gym a quarter mile from my house that I go to 3-5 times a week. It's an hour start to finish and it's next door to the Sprouts so basically, I'm just grocery shopping. It works. It gives me time for me, but not so much to feel guilty about.
And lastly, I miss my quiet mornings. When it was just Ryan and I, we would wake up, normally at different times. He's an early riser by nature and I'm definitely not. I would leisurely make my coffee or tea, then sip it while I made my breakfast then settle down to read for a bit, maybe enjoy a second cup and spend about an hour breaking into my day. That is now GONE. Neither of my kids believe in sleeping past the sunrise. In fact most mornings they are wide awake and asking for breakfast before the first rays of light begin to pierce the dark of night. In order for my to get an hour of alone time in the morning, I'd have to wake up at 3:30am... and that I ONLY do for mamas in labor.
I know it's all temporary and maybe that's the benefit of being an "older" parent. You realize just how fast your kids really are growing up and that in a flash they will have moved out. So for now I find joy in the chaos, in conversations with tiny people, and morning snuggles in the dark. And who knows if by the time the kids are older if I'll miss these things any more. Only time will tell.