I have concluded that either, parents suffer from amnesia, lie through their teeth, or think that if they say that they remember how it felt like to not be parents they may face persecution for appearing to be unappreciative. How else would you explain why all parents claim that life is wonderful since they became parents and that there is nothing they miss from their previous life. It is more honest to say that there are sacrifices, yes, but they are all worth it. To me, that is a more honest representation of my memory.
There are things I miss from the pre-parenthood period. Like sleep. Apply the saying “you don’t know a good thing till it’s gone’ here. Allow me a minute to address sleep directly. I am sorry, sleep. I took you for granted. I never appreciated the fact that we could catch up whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted and leave you whenever I was ready. I was foolish, please, please forgive me. I promise that if/when the time comes for us to rekindle our romance, I shall do better.
Pre-parenthood, making plans for me was easy. It was a question of whether I am available and if I feel up to it. Two variables! Now it seems like I am constantly solving a statistical equation just to figure out if I can have coffee with a friend. The two variables above, each have their own calculation. My availability is determined by: Do I have someone to watch the baby, are there visitors coming to see the said baby, have I given baby enough time that day to justify me being away from him longer with minimal guilt. My mood was the only factor as far as feeling up to it was concerned, now I may be in the mood for it but my energy levels are not up to it. I hope with time this part gets easier. As it is, some of my relationships could suffer.
There are wardrobe choices. Someone should have warned me that once I get a child that most of my wardrobe choices would have to be convenient for child-related activities. At first, it was breastfeeding and for as long as you will be in the company of the child you have to wear clothes that give easy access to their food source. Then they start eating and they are generous and want your clothes to it too and you try to choose a color and material that will not shout this fact to the entire world, should it happen.
Having kids, especially the baby phase, means that you cannot just decide that you do not feel like cooking when there is nothing to eat. You must figure something for them to eat and prepare as recommended by their tiny stomachs. This, in turn, means more dishes. Can we also talk about Laundry here? How is it that little tiny human beings can generate so much laundry? I tip my hat to parents of multiples!
I need my personal time. I am a human that thrives on getting a lot of personal time. Babies and kids, in general, do not care for your personal time. It also does not help that there is a bit of guilt involved when you realize that you need and crave your me time. I must work harder and be more deliberate about creating time and space just for me, lest I disappear in this vortex that is being a mother. To think that there was a time that I would just wake up in the morning and declare that the day was going to be all about me.
The greatest change though is the fear, worrying and concern. Children do take over your entire life. A simple action like crossing the road, takes more caution because at the back of your mind you remember that there is a tiny human being that is dependent on you. You worry if you are doing right by them, if they are safe, if they are happy and well adjusted. This is a whole other post!!! This level of fear, responsibility and concern is something I would never have imagined.
As I said, in the bigger picture and in the rewards that your children give you, the sacrifices and transitions are all worth it, but acknowledging them shouldn’t be taboo.