When I was pregnant I heard constant warnings of how much my life was about to change. I’m not a party-all-night kind of gal so I figured the changes would be more noticeable for those who are. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much the subtle changes that I would experience would affect me. I could easily write a list of 1,000 reasons that I love my new life, but there are a few things that I miss about my pre-baby life. Here are my top 10.
Watching television or listening to talk radio at a normal volume. Before having a baby, I had no idea how noisy these little things could be! My 8 month old can drown out the sound of the television when it’s turned to almost its highest level, and she always picks the perfect time to squeal so that I’ll miss only the most pivotal moments. So, if I sound like a total idiot when we are discussing current events, remember that I only heard every 4th word of that news report.
Leaving the room unannounced and alone. Sure, we’ve all seen the memes addressing the unfortunate truth that moms never poop alone, but what they don’t mention is that we never do ANYTHING alone. Can I just run downstairs to switch the wash over? Nope. Step outside to take the trash out? Negative. Everything is done either with the baby in tow, or during the few precious moments when she sleeps. This becomes a real problem when I use those quiet moments to binge on dateline episodes instead of doing the dishes! Sorry honey!
Inappropriate music. If you don’t know me well, you’d probably be surprised to know that I’ll hop in my family-friendly SUV, wearing my Duggar-inspired skirt, and promptly crank up some old school rap or heavy metal. Sadly, those days are long gone as I have become more accustomed to listening to my daughter’s Kindermusik disk in the car (oh. boy.). You don’t truly understand this aspect of motherhood until you regularly catch yourself singing those baby show tunes even when the baby isn’t around. Damn.
Bedroom Olympics. My poor husband. After we decided to co-sleep with our newborn daughter, we discovered that she’s quite determined to stay in bed with us for the rest of her life. This fact makes it very difficult for us to provide her with a sibling. We’ve gotten creative to keep our love alive, but things still aren’t quite the same.
Life without safety locks. As soon as our dear daughter figured out how to use her walker (the very first time we sat her in it), we knew it was time to baby proof. My husband is very safety-minded when it comes to his baby and I am 100% confident that he has baby proofed every possible danger on our first floor. That’s great for the safety of our daughter, but it drives me crazy! I just want to open a drawer or cabinet door in my kitchen without the still-unexpected BANG! that occurs when I forget to push down on that stupid plastic lock. When the little one is all grown up, I think I’ll line those locks up on a fence and use them for target practice. Little F#*kers.
Dinner in front of the TV. Back in the day, the hubs and I would often plop down in front of the TV after a long day, binge on Netflix, and enjoy our meal in comfort. Now that our sweet baby is old enough to sit up on her own, she expects to participate in a family-style dinner each night. No more evenings in front of the tube as all meals are now eaten at the table like a proper family. Just call me June. (((enter eye roll here)))
Thinking critically. I am a registered nurse. In my former life I had become accustomed to a fast-paced lifestyle where I was constantly thinking critically and learning new things. Now, as a stay-at-home mom I find myself feeling like I’m living a dumbed-down version of my old life. Realizing this early on, I decided that I would keep up with new medical research in order to stimulate my mind by reading at least one new study or article each day. Bahahahahahahahaha! As if!
Life without judgement. In previous years I could easily assume that whatever I was doing, I was supported by family and friends without judgment (except maybe when they caught me listening to my old school rap). Nowadays everything is a topic of discussion and I find myself feeling judged for every little thing that I do. As mothers we learn that no matter what we do, somebody thinks we are wrong. If we hold our child, we are spoiling them. Don’t hold them all the time? Well, then we are neglectful. Breastfeed and people will judge for doing so in public and wonder if baby is getting enough to eat. Formula feed and constantly hear, “but, Breast is Best!” There isn’t a single part of baby rearing that isn’t subject of debate and it’s absolutely exhausting.
Doing something, anything at all, uninterrupted. You might not be able to tell, but this short list has taken me all morning to write. I’ve had to stop to interrupt my daughters fun as she pulled my freshly folded laundry out of the basket, to change a poopy diaper, to entertain a needy little one, and then to do some cleaning that I got distracted with while I was tending to the baby. I no longer have the privilege of being able to start a task and continue working on it until it’s finished.
Living guilt free. As I write this list, I’m feeling a tremendous amount of guilt. What if my daughter knows that I feel this way? Will she think I don’t love her? What if she reads it someday? Should I stop writing? Maybe I should just write the 100 Things I Love About Being a Mom list. Mom guilt is the worst! It follows me everywhere and with every thought and action it creeps in and twists my stomach into knots. What was life like when a solo trip to the store didn’t make me feel like a terrible person?
There are lots of things about my old life that I miss. It’s an unfortunate fact. I try to find ways to re-live some of the old times, like cranking up inappropriate music during a rare solo-trip to the store or ignoring my housework for an uninterrupted episode of Teen Mom 2 (don’t judge). And when the baby wakes up or I arrive home, I take a deep breath, and smile because I’m recharged and ready to jump back into the life that makes me happier than anything ever has. My life as a mom.