It's no secret that your life changes once you become a mother. While I don't agree that every single solitary aspect of your life, or you as a person, suddenly looks different, it's undeniable that certain things evolve and you, in turn, change to adapt to the responsibilities of parenthood. I had a vague idea of the things I'd be saying "goodbye" so, for the most part, when I decided I could be and wanted to be, a mom. However, the things non-moms take for granted turned out to be the things I'd miss the most; the things that I didn't necessarily consider losing, and so suddenly.
It's not like I spend each and every day lamenting over the ways my life has changed, or wishing that I wasn't a parent. On the contrary, I love being a mother and while that does require certain sacrifices, I see the fruits of my labor on a daily basis. I'm also a human being, who has the capacity to be selfish (which I don't think is a bad thing) and think about my needs and wants. When I stop to think about the things that I, and only I, would like, it's usually something I did all the time before I had a kid; something that I completely took for granted because it was so easy to do; something that, now, would require constant planning or the assistance of someone else.
When nostalgia hits and I think about what my life used to be like, and what it's like now, I am in awe of the changes I have experienced (both the ones I was warned about, and the unexpected). I am so thankful that I get to be someone's mom, but I'd be lying if I said I don't also miss the following things, from time-to-time. So, if you're a kid-free human being, do these 14 things for me so I can live vicariously through you while simultaneously resenting. Fair? Fair.
The Ability To Sleep In
Gone are the days when I can lazily sleep in until noon, and oh dear sleep gods how I wish I had savored those non-mornings on a more frequent and shameless basis. Now my kid wakes me up at 5:30 in the morning (almost every morning) and I'm doomed to be a "morning person" until, well, he no longer is. I can't lounge around on Sunday mornings. I can't lay in bed and Netflix on some random Saturday. I'm up and active and making breakfast and reading about Elmo at some ungodly hour, and it's just dumb. I mean, it's great sometimes, but I miss sleeping in so, so much.
The Ability To Walk Out The Door In A Moment's Notice With Minimal Baggage
I miss waiting until the absolute last second to run out the door, haphazardly grabbing my morning coffee or my keys, not at all prepared to start the day but knowing full well that my preparation is minimal, at best. Now, if I want to leave the house with my child in tow, I have to plan well in advance and pack all of the things just in case something happens (like a tantrum or a blow-out diaper or a spill that requires yet another change of clothes). There's no more "leaving of the house real quick," you guys.
The Ability To Be Spontaneous
Before I became a mother, I could take a long road trip down the west coast to randomly visit family in San Diego (I lived in Seattle) on a whim. I could go out at 11:30 on a Friday without any concrete plans. I could go to concerts last minute, or attend a sporting event at a moment's notice. Yeah, not anymore. Now I have to consider how something will not only affect me, but affect my entire family. I have to plan for every scenario, as to ensure that (no matter what) I'll be able to provide for my kid.
The Ability To Survive A Hangover Somewhat Easily
I'm going to chalk some of this up to age, because the older you get the worse your hangovers get. However, dealing with a mild hangover when you're a parent is the seventh circle of hell, I am convinced. Before children, you can lay on the couch or sleep it off or beg a roommate or friend to get you some greasy burger to help fend off the nausea. When you're a parent, you still have to function and make breakfast in the morning and play and clean, all the while just trying to survive while simultaneously wishing you were already dead.
Not Having To Wipe Someone Else's Ass Multiple Times A Day
I so very much took for granted the fact that the crowd I ran with pre-baby, all knew how to use a toilet. I didn't have to teach people how and I didn't have to wipe for them when they were finished and I didn't have to dodge random, flying pee like a ninja. Those were the days, my friends. Those were the days.
Talking To Human Beings Who Can Actually Talk Back
When I first became a mother, I was somewhat shocked that I felt lonely, even though I had a tiny human attached to me (basically) at all times. I completely took for granted that in my pre-baby life, the people I talked to were capable of talking back to me. Actual adult, well-articulated, well-thought out, interesting conversations are magic.
Having Loud Sex Whenever And Wherever You Want
One of the reasons why I had my kid quickly became one of the things I had to say goodbye to. At first, anyway. I mean, no, your sex life doesn't have to go to sh*t once you have a kid (if you don't want it to), but sex wherever you want, as loud as you want? Well, if you want your kid to take a decent nap, that's out.
Not Finding Table Corners And Outlets To Be Particularly Horrifying
I miss the days when I didn't see complete and total terror lurking around every corner. The moment my kid was mobile, I found the most mundane things to be scary. Outlets, corners of coffee tables, computer and phone chords, any tiny little plastic piece manufactured by whoever; I mean, the list goes on and on.
Eating Quick, Not-So-Healthy Meals Without Automatically Feeling Guilty
Once you have a child, you usually make a more concerted effort to cook, eat, and provide healthy meals. Hopefully you're doing this regardless of whether or not you have successfully procreated, but I was not one of those people. Nope. I did not eat healthy food on a regular basis (it's expensive, you guys) and I definitely didn't feel guilty about eating Top Ramen or some ill-advised taco from a fast food restaurant at some ungodly, nightly hour. Not anymore, my friends. Not anymore. Now I meal plan and buy organic and spend more money on food than I thought humanly possible.
Not Having People Automatically Question Your Career Choices...
Now, I would argue that if you're a woman, you're going to be questioned about pretty much any of your life choices (if they go against social norms and preconceived gender stereotypes). However, if you decide you want to become a mother and continue your career, you're going to field far more questions about your dedication to both, than if you didn't have children. I miss the days when people didn't ask me if I was trying to "have it all" (what does that even mean?) or if I feel guilty for working (why would I?) or if it's hard to go to work and be a mother.
...Or How Much You Care About Your Loved Ones, Because You Work Or You're Not Constantly Around Them
Before I became a mom, no one automatically assumed that I didn't love my partner "enough" because I was working. No one questions the love I had for my friends or my mother or my sibling, just because I also chose to have a job. Yeah, now I have to deal with people assuming that I'm not dedicated "enough" to my son, because I'm also dedicated to my job. In this department, I must say, you kid-free people have it made.
Not Having To Care About Someone Else's Poop So Much
I care about poop way too much. There, I said it. I examine poop on a daily basis, making sure that my toddler is healthy and that he is eating and digesting his food properly. I examined poop every hour, for the same reasons, when he was a newborn. I never cared about poop before I had a child, and now it runs my freakin' life.
Complete Body Autonomy (I Hope)
I think it's naive to assume that every woman has complete body autonomy in this country. After all, with women's reproductive rights still under attack and sexual assault still an epidemic, I know that not every woman has total control of her body 100% of the time. Yes, that makes me sad and mad. Hopefully, if you're reading this, you are not one of those women and hopefully, some day, every woman will get to say that she has full ownership over her body.
Having said that, when you're kid-free, you don't have a tiny little fetus or human being calling all the shots. When you're pregnant, it's a fetus that decides what you can and cannot eat (thanks, morning sickness). When you have a newborn and you decide to breastfeed, it can feel like your boobs are no longer your own. It's exhausting and sometimes frustrating to not have your own space, you guys. To be constantly touched by another human being, even if that human being is someone you made and is just the most adorable human being ever.
Being Responsible For Only Yourself
Sometimes, if I'm being honest, this is the thing I miss the most about my pre-baby life. I miss not having to worry about anyone but myself. I miss knowing that the choices I made, for the most part, really only directly effected my life. I miss not having to worry about how someone else was doing, on a constant basis and usually more than I worry about myself.
Then again, it's pretty unbelievable to know that you are providing comfort, love, nurturing, and safety to another human being. When my son reaches for me when he is scared or tired or sick, and thinks of me as his protection, I know that everything I took for granted (and sometimes miss) about my kid-free life, is everything I'd absolutely give up again.