parents

The things I miss about my life before kids.

By BERN MORLEY

There’s no shame in admitting that you miss certain parts about your life BC (before children). Just because you have reproduced and now care for another human, this doesn’t mean that you stop being one yourself.

I was, by today’s standards, a fairly young mother. Barely past the young adulthood stage myself when I had my first child, I was quite used to doing, like most 23 year olds, what I wanted, when I wanted.

I will say though, on the whole, I have changed for the better since becoming a mother. I know I am less selfish. I know that I have more compassion and I know that I am more confident. Yet, there are some things I will always miss, even if just a little.

Like going to the bathroom alone. Sounds simple enough right? Think again. It’s like the MINUTE my arse hits that seat, a silent alarm goes off and alerts all of my children to assemble outside of the toilet door. Suddenly they need to go “REALLY bad!” or they have something they urgently need to tell me or World War 3 breaks out in the hallway over who gets to eat the last strawberry. Five minutes alone. I’d almost sell a kidney for five minutes alone in there some days.

Or like doing something spontaneous. I remember once, we decided, on a complete whim, to head off to Hamilton Island for a weekend. Clearly this a) meant we had too much money and b) no other pressing commitments. Now, now just organising a night out to see a B-grade movie takes military precision planning and being prepared to sell part of my soul in begging the in-laws for 3 hours of babysitting.

I miss being able to be properly sick. Hear me out here. Before children, if I was to say, get the killer flu that has recently been doing the rounds, I would have spent 48 hours getting to be proper, grotty, bed ridden, eat all the chicken soup, sick. Now there is no such self-indulgence. See kids, despite often being the carrier and spreader of such delightful virus’, are really quite indifferent to your personal suffering. No, they still want to be fed, and driven to school and generally kept an eye on. So getting sick and having to worry about just getting better, is one thing I do really miss.

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Oh, and what about those Sundays when you actually got to read, without interruption, the newspaper from cover to cover? Even the sports pages, which I could give less than two fucks about, would be a pleasure to read these days. Simultaneously reading said paper while drinking a hot cup of coffee would almost feel like winning my own personal lottery.

I was quite, in hindsight, carefree before I had children. This is, as it should be. But a by-product of reproducing is the lifetime supply of guilt and fear that comes along with it. And whilst it’s completely natural and part of being a parent, it can also be very overwhelming. I miss being less worried.

Truth

There are many days too, when I miss a good, long hot shower. By myself. There was a time when showers and baths were about luxuriating, soaking, grooming and just letting the water fall. Now it’s all about maintaining the minimum cleanliness level you can get away with, often while a tiny terrorist is making fun of your “bum” and throwing bath toys at your face. On the upside, no one can accuse me of me being a chronic water waster these days. Oh, and our utility bills have also halved.

One of the other things that a lot of parents find hard to come to terms with, that they miss, is having a clean house. Or maybe more so, a less cluttered house. Yet, this to me is a constant state of being. I don’t see it changing until they leave home and to be honest, I have kind of given up even trying. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t live in filth, but there is little point in tidying up a house that will be just become messy again once the hurricane on the legs comes home from school. I do however, really miss being able to walk through my house and not step on Lego.

You know what though? Although I lament and sometimes am wistful for my old life, a cold coffee and a half read paper are a small price to pay for the beautiful and chaotic life that I now find myself living.

What do you miss about your life before kids? Don’t be scared, it doesn’t make you a bad parent, it does though, make you an honest one.

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