Becoming a mama was the best thing that ever happened to me.
It changed my outlook on life.
It filled my heart with love and it meant every day felt special.
Ok – not every minute of every day.
There are still plenty of dirty nappies. And crying, and sleepless nights.
But even amongst all that, there are perfect moments.
Having a baby changed my life. It forced me to put somebody else first. It taught me about the joy I can take from making somebody else happy. And it made me who I am today.
My daughter made me a mother, and for that I will be forever grateful.
But – and it’s only a little but – there are a few things I miss from my previous life.
10 Things I Miss Since I Became A Mama
I miss my freedom, and the ability to be selfish, and the many years I was able to squander.
No matter how much you longed for a baby, there’ll be a few things you miss too. And no matter how well-suited to motherhood you are, it’s inevitable there’ll be little things from your old life that you long for.
Especially at night, when you’re up (again) feeding the baby (again).
Here are a few of the things I miss:
#1: Impromptu Anything
Impromptu trips to the pub after work, impromptu visits to see my friends in far away places, impromptu spa trips with friends …. all these are just distant memories now.
These days, taking time away from family life is more akin to a military operation. I have to check my calendar, and my husband’s calendar.
Then I have to check the kids don’t have any birthday parties to attend. If necessary, I need to track down a babysitter.
Everything’s planned months in advance. Even if it’s just a night at the local pub, I have to schedule that in. There’s nothing impromptu about my social life anymore.
#2: Sunday Mornings
Before I had kids, I thought Sunday mornings were mythical. I’d never actually seen one myself. I spent Sunday mornings fast asleep, and woke up only at lunchtime. I assumed that’s when the day began.
It never occurred to me that other people were forced to get up at 6am on Sundays. I didn’t even know Sundays had a 6am.
I certainly didn’t know hordes of parents were sitting sleepy-eyed in front of children’s TV, fantasising about the lie-in they so badly needed.
#3: Having A Clean House
I’m not going to lie. I’ve never been a neat freak. If you can hear laughing now, that’s my parents wetting themselves at the thought of me as a neat freak.
My house has never been show-home material, but it was a lot easier to keep it presentable when I wasn’t drowning in toys. Back then, when I did tidy up, I was at least able to sit back and appreciate it. Plus, if I tidied a room, it would miraculously stay tidy for days.
Now, cleaning the house just feels like setting myself up for disappointment. No matter how much time I spend tidying up, I know it will be messy in minutes.
Before I’ve even finished the job, my toddler will have walked in and tipped over some toys, spilled a box of raisins and peed on the floor. There’s basically no point in tidying up.
#4: Experimenting With Food
I love cooking, but these days you could be forgiven for not believing that. Before I had kids, I would always choose new recipes and experiment with different dishes.
Now, I cook what I know my kids will eat. It’s too risky otherwise, isn’t it? What if I spent hours slaving over a hot stove only to discover they both hated the meal. I can’t risk it.
Ok, I could save my culinary flair for when the kids are in bed. I suppose I could regale my partner with amazing cuisine but, well, I’m too tired. I don’t want to spend my downtime cooking. Eating, sure, but cooking? No.
Binge-watching TV is the best. You find a new program you love, give up sleep for three days and then have serious regret once the series is over. I used to spend entire weekends just flying through TV shows, wolfing them down as though there were no tomorrow. There was a tomorrow, of course.
Then came motherhood. It isn’t great for TV watching so it was probably wise I binge-watched all those shows when I did. For people without kids, ‘binge-watching’ means watching a series in two days. Once you have kids, you adjust your expectations and feel impressed if you manage two episodes in one night.
By the time the kids are in bed, there’s not much time left for TV. Oh, and it’s totally still binge-watching if you sleep through most of the last episode. Don’t worry, that’s what the ‘previously on’ thing is for.
Remember hangovers? I mean actual 100% I’m-young-and-wild-and-stayed-out-till-4am hangovers. The ones where you would sleep through most of the next day and only wake for burgers. I loved those hangovers. Not the hangover itself, but the ritual of lazing around, discussing the night before, and eating junk food.
Now, hangovers start at 6am like every other day. But I don’t stay out till 4am. I’m lucky if I make it to 10pm these days. My hangovers now are just me having a bad day of parenting, getting my head jumped on at 6am, and ending up at the park in the rain.
#7: Going To The Cinema
When I was pregnant, a lot of people said to me, ‘Go to the cinema. You’ll miss it when you’re a parent’. I thought they were crazy. Why would I miss going to the cinema? Well, as it turns out, now I do.
I am so behind on current releases, I have no idea what my friends are talking about. When they discuss films, books and bands, most of the time I don’t even know which one’s which.
I could get a babysitter and go to the cinema, but it feels like such a waste. I should save my babysitting time for when I have a big night out or a romantic meal, surely?
Oh, books, how I miss you! I used to read so many. I always had a book on the go, and I would power through it in mere days, sometimes hours.
I love the ways stories can transport you to a different world, let you escape from your life, and take you on adventures.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t read anymore. I still read a lot.
That is, I read Stick Man about eight times a day and Aliens Love Underpants is very well-thumbed.
Sadly, I never get to read for me. I still buy books, almost obsessively, but they collect dust on my bookshelf. One day, I will read them. Maybe when my kids leave home.
#9: Sick Days
Ok, nobody likes being ill. It was rubbish back then, but it was definitely better than being sick now.
Pre-kids, I would get sick and then immediately hole myself up in my room until I felt better. I would sleep for hours on end, eat loads of soup, and fill up my bedside cabinet with empty medicine packets.
Now, as a parent, I don’t have those luxuries. A sick day looks a lot like every other day – only with more snot and the occasional cry.
I don’t get extra sleep (ha, sleep, what is that?). I’m up feeding in the night no matter how ill I feel. I don’t get to lounge around and feel sorry for myself; toddlers, it turns out, don’t like that. There’s rarely any time to rest and recuperate.
#10: Worrying About Rubbish
I used to worry about a lot of rubbish. Not important stuff, just weird little worries that would get in my head. Do I look ok in this skirt? Will my work presentation go well? Have I eaten too many crisps today? These thoughts were what I thought ‘worrying’ was – before I had kids.
Now I know being a mama takes worrying to a whole new level. I worry about everything. Whether my kid is going to fall and damage her teeth at the park. Or whether my daughter will be picked on at school. I worry that one day she might get seriously hurt. Or that she isn’t eating the right foods. I worry about whether I’m a good mother. And I worry about what our future relationship will be like.
Parents have real worries. I miss the days of worrying about inconsequential rubbish, just to fill my time.