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.
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…
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?
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 🙂