The Thing I Miss Most About Life Before Kids

posted by Andrea | 01/30/2014

snoozing with Nora

I’m just going to make a VERY broad assumption and guess that anyone who’s ever had kids has something (maybe a small thing) that they miss about their life before kids.

Not that any of us wish we didn’t have kids. I’m guessing most of us would say that overall, our life is better, happier, and more “full” with kids.

But… never-the-less, there is usually something we miss about our pre-baby, pre-kid days.

Right?

And I know what you might be thinking right now — that I miss a full night of sleep.

Well, you’re right, I DO miss my sleep (I figured it out and it’s been almost 700 nights of sleeplessness since Nora was born!)

However, a full night of sleep is not what I miss MOST about life before kids. 

Yes I miss the sleep

I miss that extra time with Dave

I miss free time to myself

I miss thinking my own thoughts for more than 10 seconds at a time

I miss pursuing hobbies that are simply enjoyable for me

I miss eating food when it’s still hot

I miss having a clean house basically all the time

I miss doing whatever I want whenever I want, without planning ahead and finding a babysitter

I miss leaving the house with just my wallet and phone

I miss going to the bathroom without a little person checking up on me to make sure I’m still wearing underwear :)

But believe it or not, the thing I miss the MOST about my life before kids is…

PREDICTABILITY!

I’ve actually gotten much better at this over the last two years (out of sheer necessity), but I can’t tell you how frustrating it is for me to live such an unpredictable lifestyle.

As many of you probably already know… I have just a teeny tiny bit of a Type A personality. And by “teeny tiny bit” I mean: “I’m extremely, majorly Type A!”

I make lists. I like order. I crave structure. I NEED predictability.

When I say I’ll be somewhere at 8:00, I’ll be there by 7:59 — no questions, asked!

I start getting antsy and twitchy when I don’t have a list or a schedule; and although I’m getting better at hiding it now, I can get down-right angry when big changes happen without proper warning.

I don’t necessarily think any of that is a bad thing, but it definitely doesn’t offer me much help when it comes to raising children — specifically my Nora :)

Oh yes, she is sweet as pie and cute as a button… but she’s also been quite a challenge for me (and Dave) — not only the sleeping and the eating, but also the fact that her life is totally unscheduled and we hardly ever know what’s going to happen next.

I realize that all children are somewhat unpredictable — but seriously, Nora is just the worst! I sometimes think how much fun God must have watching me try to parent this completely unpredictable child in my overly Type-A world.

I can’t tell you how hard I’ve tried to create some sort of structure for Nora’s life, but no matter what I try, I get nowhere.

After 26 months, we’re FINALLY to the point where we eat breakfast and lunch at basically the same time every day — which means I can actually schedule morning activities, appointments, and errands around those times to prevent hunger melt-downs.

This might sounds like a super simple thing — but with all the eating/feeding issues we’ve dealt with, it’s actually  a HUGE accomplishment for us.

There are a few things we’ve made progress on when it comes to creating some type of routine and schedule for our days — but for the most part, there is still NO way of knowing what our day will be like until we’re living it.

There’s no telling if Nora will take a nap or not, when she’ll end up going to bed, how many times she’ll wake up at night, how long she’ll stay awake in the middle of the night, when (or why) she’ll have a complete meltdown in the middle of a public place, or when she will simply freak out over something extremely small that I might not even realize.

Much of this is due to her sensory issues (loud noises, strong smells, a strange person looking at her for too long can all push her over the edge in a matter of seconds), but it’s still so frustrating for me as a parent to try plan even the simplest of days only to have everything blow up in my face, show up late, or cancel an appointment because of Nora.

It’s crazy how much anxiety it causes me on a daily basis — even something as simple as scheduling a dentist appointment, a play date, or a time for the plumber to come out becomes a challenge.

When might Nora be sleeping? When will she be the most relaxed and not get freaked out by a stranger in our house? When will she be most rested and willing to play with other kids?

Yes, sometimes I over-think these small decisions, but as a natural “planner” it’s hard for me NOT to over-think everything after 2+ years of being THAT mom with the screaming kid, or THAT mom who always shows up late, or THAT mom who always has to leave early (usually with a screaming kid), or even THAT mom who can’t ever socialize with the other moms because her kid is so scared of the other kids that they both end up siting BY the other kids to “watch from a distance”.

I know it will get better (it’s already better now that she can talk) but it’s still SO frustrating for me.

I want to be able to schedule something more than 1 day in advance and not have the plans blow up in my face.

I want to be able to say “you can count on me” and not have to back out at the last minute.

I want to be on time (or even early) for anything again.

I want to be able to leave the house without worrying how Nora will handle a strange place.

I want to be able to plan out my day and actually have that plan work out!

Simple requests if you ask me — but not probable.

And although we’re making slow progress, I fully realize that in less than 5 weeks, the new baby will throw me another curve ball and we’ll be starting over again with a new baby and a new “schedule” to work around.

Have I mentioned that motherhood sometimes makes me feel like a failure?

YIKES!

As I try to gain a little parenting perspective, look on the bright side, and not feel too stressed out about the lack of predictability in my life; I frequently tell myself that since Nora still doesn’t have any set schedule, she might be able to “go with the flow” a bit more when the new baby comes.

Her day won’t be ruined if she doesn’t get a nap (she’ll probably be thrilled!). If we go to a strange place, I can have her focus on “helping baby brother” to distract her from potential “scary people”.

She already told me that she can be my ‘special helper’ and ‘take care of baby brother’ — so sweet, I know. And I’m fairly confident that as long as we stay home or in a familiar place most of the time (which we try to do anyway) she will be extremely entertained by the baby — and might actually be somewhat helpful to me!

I can hope… right! 

Or maybe not :)

Yes, life will go on, I will survive, I will continue to learn how to “go with the flow” a little more each day, and I will be the best mom I can be to BOTH my kiddos.

I do NOT wish to go back to my life before kids — but every now and then, I do wish I could have a little more predictability to my days.

Maybe in another 20 years when the kids are moved out :)

What do YOU miss most about life before kids?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed under: FamilyParenting

 
 

Leave a comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

59 comments

  1. Olga

    02/18/2014

    I can definitely relate to this post, Andrea. I miss the predictability before kids. Although I love being a Mom and am so thankful to have little ones part of our family, it is very unpredictable. Thanks for writing this. It’s very encouraging to know that I’m not the only one:). I love the pictures in this post. Nora is adorable.

    [Reply]

  2. Michelle

    03/17/2014

    First child with sensory issues, eating issues, muscle disorder, fear of everything under the sun? Check.

    Second child who was the most colicky child on earth who I thought might actually kill me? Check.

    Type A momma who cried through every meal and PT appointment and hospital stay? Check.

    And now? My kids are 7 1/2 and 5. And we are making it just fine!!!! They sleep. They eat (at least enough that I don’t cry all the time). They LOVE school. We have been on trips. We can do things. I am occasionally alone. And if I can make it, so can you.

    Baby steps, momma!!!! You can do it!!

    And I, too, miss the sleep!!! And showering without a small face peeking in who needs something!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow!! Thanks for sharing a small part of your story Michelle. I know I can do it — but 7 1/2 and 5 still seems SOOO Far away for me :)

    [Reply]

  3. Nicole

    03/17/2014

    Andrea
    You are doing fine. God has given you this blessing cause he knows your strengths and weaknesses. We try so hard to be the perfect moms, but that’s just it we are not and will never be perfect(only Jesus & god is perfect). Being aware of your weaknesses are gonna help you to overcome many things. Let your worries and anxieties be given to god (lay them at the foot of the cross) and he will sort it out for you. Sometimes looking at what doesn’t work out is gods way of protecting you from something else.
    **lesson I’ve learned is sometimes feelings can be deceiving** let gods grace guide you.. Just as you are frustrated with not being able to plan life in your home is just like god having a plan for us and we get sidetracked.. You are blessed
    Try to find another way to use your Type A personality that will benefit your need for structure but still be enjoyable to and satisfying to your family and social life..

    You are amazing .. Don’t doubt your a super mom and don’t let what others say with their eyes and facial expressions bother you .. They have their own roads to walk..
    Keep up your greatness ..

    [Reply]

  4. Mary Kaufman

    03/17/2014

    I know it’s hard to imagine it now, In about 13 years (which will pass by so quickly you will hardly believe it) you will be fighting Nora’s busy schedule for some mom and daughter time. Also you will look back on this time and hardly remember those sacrifices. Try as hard as you can to enjoy this time. Also make plans for all that free time post children. It will be here before you know it, and you will find yourself trying to figure out what could possibly fill the time previously filled with caring and worrying and crying with laughing with those beautiful
    Children that you miss SO much! BELIEVE ME you won’t want to go back, but it’s looks prettier backwards than it did going through it forward.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Mary — and I appreciate that you admit that I won’t want to go back :) I’m SOOOOO sick of people telling me I’ll miss these days and wish for them back again. I highly doubt that. Yes, I might miss the cute things Nora says or the warm baby snuggles, but I will NOT miss how extremely exhausting these long, longs days are. I will not miss never, ever sleeping through the night.

    [Reply]

  5. Stephanie

    03/18/2014

    Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In ALL (emphasis mine) thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

    Psalm 55:22 “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee:…”

    These verses are constantly in front of me during thos time of denying myself for the good of my children. Only when I become selfish do I become frustrated. Being a mother is one of the most selfless callings, and when I am selfish I become angry, bitter, and frustrated. When I remember my calling and who gives me that calling, not the world, doctors, the president, or even my husband, but God, then I fall down in complete reliance upon Him for strength. When I fight to do it myself I fail. It is not easy, but as you say, we need to realize there is no such thing as perfect.

    Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengeneth me.”
    Psalm 118:24 “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

    Prayers for you as you struggle with finding God’s balance for your life.

    [Reply]

  6. Naomi

    04/06/2014

    I know this an old post but it totally resonated…. I also have a 2 y.o called Nora with mild but evident highly reactive senses (just like her father). It’s exhausting… Like you said, wouldn’t swap her for the world, but I miss bring able to read a book in an entire sitting, staying up late and falling out of bed as late as possible to start my day. Oh, and drink a cup of tea while it’s still warm… How I miss that. The predictability is not so important for me, but quiet is! Oh to have a quiet non-nagging day…. Or morning.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — how crazy that we BOTH have 2 year old Nora’s with high-needs and sensory issues! Thanks for your comment (on both posts)… I think you’ll see by the comments that you are definitely NOT alone! Good luck with your Nora — I’m sure we’ll both make it through eventually :)

    [Reply]