Monday, May 2, 2011

The Things I Miss From "Before Becoming A Mom"

There is an endless supply of advice from all kinds of people when you are expecting - everyone has an opinion on what you should do and what to expect.  When pregnant with my first child, I heard things like sleep as much as you can before the baby comes (as if you can actually bank those hours... not), see lots of movies, read lots of books, got out to lots of restaurants, etc., etc. In other words, do all of the things you like to do as an individual because after the baby comes, you're just someone's mom and you come last.

Personally speaking, I paid attention to what people were saying but not whole-heartedly.  I had waited a long time to become a mom (I was 36) and so all of those things I would easily give up for a baby and the chance to be a mom.  They seemed inconsequential (and often still do).  With Mother's Day fast approaching, I started to think about how I've changed in the last 6 1/2 years and what I miss most about my previous "self".  I would obviously not change a thing about my present life as a mom, but you don't stop being you and so it's completely expected that looking back, there will be things you will miss.

Here are some of the things I came up with (in no particular order)...
  • a day spent leisurely and aimlessly shopping with friends... and spending money on frivolous things just for me
  • my completely flat stomach
  • going to the toilet in privacy (that includes taking a shower)
  • traveling without a million bags, extra changes of clothes, toys, etc.
  • watching what I want to watch on TV
  • seeing all of the latest movies in the theatre, instead of on video
  • getting only myself ready in the morning
  • taking a "time out" - you never just get to turn off as a mom
  • my things were "my things"
  • talking on the phone without interruptions
  • saying bad words without fear of imitation by small humans
  • eating a meal without getting up 10 times (especially to wipe a butt)
  • having a clean car without crumbs and sticky stuff
  • a third glass of wine which would actually make me tipsy (any more than 2 and I feel it the next day, even if it doesn't make me tipsy - that sucks!)
  • being sick without having to get up and take care of anyone else
  • exercising for more than 20 minutes, especially taking long walks
  • just being alone
So here's a surprise as I write this post... after finishing the list, I realized that in fact, I actually don't care all that much about most of it.  Sure, it was fun to think about. Those things are nice and all, but they can't hold a candle to what I have now.  Here's a glimpse... yesterday was a glorious day and we took the kids out for a picnic lunch on the mountain.  As we walked toward the mountain, my 4yr old daughter held my hand and started skipping and singing "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay".  I don't know much of the lyrics but after the first two lines, she kept singing the words and actually knew the song.  It was the cutest thing ever.  I looked over at my husband and our eyes connected and I knew he was thinking the exact same thing - we were amazed and delighted.  It may seem like a small thing (my daughter singing a song we didn't know she knew) but it was so much more.  Her happiness and free spirit as she skipped and sang was so pure and so innocent.  It captured a moment of such joy and I loved being a part of it.  I loved being her mom.

It's moments like these that make me realize how much I have changed in the last 61/2 years.  I may miss glimpses of my old life but those things will come again one day.  In the meantime, I have gained more than I ever thought possible which has made me a much better version of myself.  I can't express how blessed I feel that I have the privilege of being their mother.  I may worry that I don't always do the job perfectly, but I will always try my best.  There's no better job in the world...


  1. I posted this on your date night article. But I didn't have any replies yet. Okay I came across this site by accident. I’m a 20/male. And I have some question from you ladies about married life. I have been reading this site for about an hour and I have basically withdrawn myself out of the marriage pool. I work a suit and tie job. That’s means mostly every dude is married/ with kids. I have never been around such lonely,stressed-out, unhappy men in my life. Everyday I have at least one guy tells me to “never get married”. Or son, I wish I was your age, I would never get married, or how does it feel to be free and not have to wake up or have sex with the same person everyday. And these are succuesful married men. I mean big houses nice cars everything. And I’m just a 20yr old struggling student temp.

    During lunch I hear them complain about how the wives change after married. They go from being sexy, panties/thongs to boxes and shorts when they come home. They go from being all discrete when using the restroom, to leaving the door wide open. Not wanting to have sex anymore, withholding sex, blaming their sex drive on having kids. Complianing that they think being a stay at home mom is a hard job. Most of them look at porn more than I do or have side girlfriends. Their reason for having a “side girl”(as they call them) is to do the things that momma(wife) doesn’t do anymore.

    I always ask them why don’t they just leave if they are so unhappy. And most of them say the samething, kids, bills, etc. My parents have been married for 32 yrs and I have never noticed my dad or mom being unhappy. But since I have been working here, I have been paying attention to my dad. He reminds me of those dudes I work with so much. He hides it just like those dudes at work. So my question is why do people get married when you have to go through so much to make it work. Is marriage really worth it. Married people are so unhappy, they just settle and hide all of their pain. I can’t ask my parents these questions (duh) so I ask you all. And these are the complaints I hear on a daily bases from married guys.

    So I wanted to ask you ladies and hear your version of marriage. How does a man or woman find happines in having the same person everyday. Why do you have to stay married and unhappy if you have kids. Why do men and women change when they get married. How do you go from having sex like rabbits to nothing. Why do women stop being sexy. Why can’t you go out and hang with your friends sometimes. Why does a man have to ask his wife to do things. Why does the man always drive. Why do you have to have in-laws over during the holidays. How is a stay at home mom considered a job. And how does a stay at home mom feel about woman who work and raise kids. I just don’t understand why people get marrried if you have to do all of this to make it work.Again these are things I hear from married guys everyday at work. And I’m sure that their wives think they are so happy being married to them. Please help me understand marriage. I wanna hear your side of married life. And please no bibile stuff. Thanks

  2. Dear Confused,

    There are MANY MANY happily married women and men out there. I think you happen to be around a bad bunch. Wherever you go, you will find unhappy people, people who cheat, people who complain, etc. I do think it’s more common to complain than to walk around saying how happy we are… which may be the reason you hear more negative than positive comments. I think those that are truly unhappy but stay in a marriage for the kids sake have it all wrong – it’s a whole lot better to teach them that happy and single is much more desirable than unhappy and married. But there are many reasons beyond the kids for why people stay together when they are not happily married (i.e. financial, lifestyle, etc.). That’s an individual choice.

    With regards to your last paragraph of questions, I will try to answer them as best as possible. Every person and relationship changes as life happens - we adapt to the experiences we have and the choices we make. Every relationship goes through phases - including the initial lust phase. Eventually, that turns into a deeper love. It becomes more stable and more real. What that relationship becomes will depend upon the two people involved - it's really personal and no two marriages are alike.

    All marriages take work to be successful, just like anything in life. But the reward for putting in the work is worth the pay off. Waking up next to the same person every day can be truly special - there's nothing like being known and knowing another human being so intimately. Sharing your life with someone like that is a gift. You just have to know what to do with it and how to treat it.

    As for my own relationship, we treat each other as individuals. My husband goes out when he pleases, as do I. We don't control each other's behaviour. We have mutual respect, honesty and open communication. That said, you will always have to do certain things for one another that you would perhaps not choose on your own - but it goes both ways. To succeed, there must be give and take. You do it for each other out of love. Of course there will be fights and disagreements - impossible not to - but it's how you deal with them that matters most. Those arguments are often the things that bring you closer in the end.

    My suggestion for you… don’t put so much thought into it – you’re WAY too young to be thinking about this (I got married at 35). You should be out having fun, dating and enjoying life. If one day you fall in love and decide to get married and have kids, it will happen. Otherwise, stay single - it will be your choice. We only have one life to live, so we better make it a happy one.