Yes, you read the title right, what I’m about to discuss are considered “luxuries” to some of us parents who have young children; some of these luxuries will likely also apply to parents of not so young children. Let me start off by saying that my love for my children is immeasurable. I’m far from perfect, but I love my children more than I love myself and that’s saying a lot considering my narcissistic tendencies.
I’ve worked since I was 16 years-old and hands-down, Parenting gets the award for being my hardest job. It is also the most rewarding. Of course I believe that Parenting shouldn’t only be perceived as just a “job”. I admit that I have often taken the blessing of being someone’s mother for granted. Don’t get it twisted though; as a social worker who has seen and heard more neglect and abuse of children, than the roads after a Michigan winter, I have learned to cherish one of the purposes which God has given me.
Whenever I find myself longing for my childless days, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt; I comfort myself with the reminder that I’m human and as long I don’t wallow in my negative feelings then I’m alright. My challenge comes with keeping those negative feelings to a minimum and focusing more on the positive experiences of motherhood. My hubby and I both agree that our lives wouldn’t be the same without our children and we don’t regret them. However, sometimes we can’t help but reminisce on those days back when…
Remember when you and your homie lover friend first met and it seemed that you could/would go anywhere and do anything at anytime?? You were free to roam and explore to your heart’s content. You didn’t have to worry about a babysitter. You didn’t have to worry about getting home in time to put the kids to bed at a decent hour. You could satisfy sudden bursts of sexual desire without having to worry about the kids busting in mid stroke! Kids seem to have a knack for interrupting the very act that produced them! You could even go so far as to travel out-of-town on a whim and not worry about losing your job because you only had to take care of yourself. Reckless behavior was a normal part of your lifestyle!
Here’s a familiar scenario: You’re home alone with your kiddies, you’re cooking and you discover that you’re missing one or more of the irreplaceable ingredients. The kiddies are either already in their PJs for the night or running around the house half-naked. YOU are in your PJs too! Unfortunately, you can’t just dash out the door in your house shoes and PJs–not giving a damn about looking ratchet—because you gotta get the kids together for the car ride to and from the store. For a brief moment, you miss the days when you could dip out to the store, quickly grab that irreplaceable ingredient and dip back home. Once your bundle of joy joins the party of two, your SUM doesn’t disappear completely, but it definitely decreases .
Ahhh, the days of working and spending your paycheck more on your wants than your needs. You could eat out everyday of the week. You could freely indulge in your favorite guilty pleasures, oftentimes overindulging. No day care, latchkey, summer camp, school lunches, field trips or extracurricular activities to fund. No clothes to buy every few months—-or sooner if they have a growth spurt. No inflated grocery bills. No unexpected expenses from broken items around the house. No diapers, books or toys to buy. No medical bills or co-pays from unexpected trips to the Dr., emergency room or urgent care. Yes, plenty of “disposable income”!
When we were childless, we spent our money like it actually did grow on trees. Of course we had bills to pay, but maintaining a “budget” was simple compared to when our little crumb snatchers started snatching our dollars! The irony is that we thought that we were “broke” back then, but we didn’t know just how broke we could actually be once we had to divert our finances toward our children.
This is one of my most coveted luxuries. For me, Sleep is right up there with God, Food and Sex! (seriously, the importance of sleep does not come before God, but it runs a very close second). For those of you whose children slept thru the nite within the first few months of their life; good for you! The rest of us are STILL trying to catch up on sleep that we have lost. Both of my children did not sleep thru the nite until they were over six months old. And then my daughter still would wake up sometimes during the night until she was almost three years-old. Of course, she wouldn’t want anything special, she would wake up whining just enough for me to stumble into her doorway in time to see that nothing was wrong with her. I had to learn very quickly to stop falling for that trick.
I miss being able to call into work and then roll over and go back sleep. It’s like kids are anti-sleep until they enter adolescence and finally learn to appreciate sleeping in. Naps??—What are those?? They are so rare that I surprise myself whenever I have the opportunity to catch one. Whenever my children are away from home overnight, I sleep like a stone statue. Even though they now sleep thru the night, instinct won’t allow me to sleep without waking up at least once or twice during the nite when they are home. Those mornings when I do get to sleep in, I sometimes have to wear earplugs so I can sleep through the noise of my kids playing and sometimes fighting.
Since my children have been here, I’ve developed the ability to catnap in some strange and unlikely places. I vaguely remember having boundless energy before my children. I could party all nite and go to work the next morning with no issue. Hanging out on weekends was a bonus. Now that my children are here, my weekday partying is pretty much extinct. I actually get an attitude whenever someone invites me to a weekday event because all I can think about is having to participate and then get up for work the next day.
PRIVACY AND GUILT FREE LAZINESS AKA RELAXING
I oftentimes have to tell myself, “Be Still, Relax!” I’m so used to being on the go that I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m home with nothing pressing on my schedule. I don’t know about your kids, but mine require constant interaction and supervision. Working moms especially understand that guilty feeling whenever our kids are in front of the TV for more than a couple of hours. It’s a constant challenge to keep them occupied and their brains stimulated. I feel as if it is my duty to nurture their development and maintain our bond by engaging with them while we’re at home.
Now that our daughter is older, my husband and I can easily tell her to go to her room so we can have some adult time during which we are usually discussing our busy schedules. Sometimes we can sneak in some cuddling, but that doesn’t last for long. Our three year-old son is a typical toddler so we can’t count his always listen when he is asked to go do something else. Thankfully,we can count on big sister to distract him, but that comes with a time limit as well. It takes a concentrated effort to have a coherent and complete conversation when your kids are around. Many topics are not for young ears, so oftentimes serious conversations have to wait until a later time. Hopefully, by the time later arrives, you haven’t forgotten about what needs to be discussed.
YOUR PRE-BABY BODY
Now this luxury is something that really only mothers can understand(sorry dads, no diss to you). As a self-proclaimed voluptuous honey, I’ve been embracing my curves since my late teens. I’m not gonna lie and say that my children ruined my body. But the changes in my body after being pregnant twice and having two C-sections are evident. My weight has fluctuated and no matter what diet I’ve tried or how much I’ve exercised and lost weight, the flap of fat at the bottom of my belly has stayed. My clothing and shoe size haven’t changed by much, however my curves became–umm how should I say this—-more pronounced after I birthed my children.
Having a baby is a magnificent experience, it makes you feel as if you can conquer the world. You are amazed at how far your body can go and what it will do once you’ve gone through pregnancy and given birth. I love being able to fit into my pre-baby clothes; I boast about it to my friends telling them, “this is one of my bk outfits—before kids.”
Nothing can compare to having your stomach stretched so far that it looks like you’ve swallowed an exercise ball. You expect stretch marks to appear on your stomach, hips, back and thighs, but have you ever heard of having a stretch mark at the top of the crack of your ass?? I didn’t either until I was pregnant!
It took me almost two years each time after having both of my children before I felt like I had regained my sexy back. Some women are lucky to have what they call, a body that “snaps back”. But most of us are forced to hit the gym and change our diet so we can see some semblance of our pre-baby bodies.
This is not really a complete list of missed luxuries, there are other things like using the bathroom in peace without someone either knocking on the door or coming into the bathroom with you. Shoot, I don’t even shut the door anymore–what the point?? There’s also the ability to eat a meal without interruption and cherish time to yourself. Another luxury that I’ve learned to release in peace is a consistently clean home. This is another area in which I’m glad that my daughter is helping with since she’s older; we’ve already starting training my son to clean up after himself, though there’s only so much a toddler can thoroughly “clean”.
None of us really understood how much of a commitment we were making until we were already knee-deep in baby shit. You always run the risk of judgement and scolding whenever you bitch and complain about parenting. Parenting is a phenomenal experience, I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world. The pros definitely outweigh the cons. However, the human in me will always miss the carefree days of when we were childless enjoying a whimsical life.