Before I had a child my time was mine to do whatever I wanted with. Yes, I had a job that came with responsibilities, but once the work day was done I could basically do whatever I felt like doing. It was pretty awesome and I would be a total liar if I said I didn’t miss those days.
Since having a child, my life is chaos! Complete and total chaos. All of the things that I used to take for granted are things that are now oh-so-complicated. Things like…
Getting ready for work in the morning. I used to have a pretty complex makeup and hair routine. I am embarrassed to say that it used to take me over 45 minutes to put on makeup and give myself the perfect hairstyle. Time was plentiful and I had lots of it in the morning. Now my hair and makeup routine is down to ten minutes. My hair and makeup are definitely not as presentable as they used to be, but I have to worry about getting a toddler dressed, fed and ready for daycare. All before 8AM. Fun times.
Shopping. Grocery or otherwise. I used to love shopping. I even loved grocery shopping ( I know right, wtf was wrong with me?). I loved wandering up and down the aisles and looking at different types of food or casually strolling through the mall looking for new clothes. But now, shopping is a chore. A dreaded chore. Trying to load my cart with groceries and household necessities is nearly impossible with a toddler in tow. She throws things out and adds things in when I am not looking. Occasionally, she’ll add in a gem, like double-stuffed Oreo’s. I’m not complaining about that. It’s the four lint brushes, two spatulas and cans of green beans that I don’t need.
Cleaning and organizing. So, some of you who know me personally might know that I have slight OCD when it comes to how I like things to look. I like order and simplicity. I like for things to have their own places and spots. I used to make my bed and dress it up with nine throw pillows that had to be arranged in a particular way. I really wish I still had the time or energy to still do that, but I don’t. And even if I did it wouldn’t matter because my darling daughter would have it all destroyed. I’ve come to realize that certain things are a lost cause and organizing pillows on a bed is one of them.
Watching TV. This is a luxury. A complete luxury. I rarely watch TV anymore and when I do, it’s usually kids TV shows. The rare time that I do watch TV while my daughter is still awake is always interesting. It’s during these moments that she suddenly wants me to read every book she owns or will do things like empty her dresser or pull all of the pots and pans out of the cupboard or destroy the linen closet. Sometimes it’s worth cleaning up the mess afterwards to get a few minutes of TV but other times I regret it because I spend more time cleaning up than I actually spent watching something.
Reading. I love reading. I think most writers do. Reading is where I get a lot of my ideas and is one of my most favourite ways to relax. These days most of my reading involves Elmo, Peppa Pig or Dora. Every now and then I will read a book but not at the rate I used to. I actually have four new books that I want to read but I can’t seem to find the time, and when I do have the time I end up too tired. It’s not fair!
Eating. Okay, so I know this sounds overly-dramatic. Obviously I still eat (I could safely miss a meal or two and not starve) but eating is not the slow and delicate process it used to be. I don’t sit down and slowly cut and chew my steak and savour the flavour. No. Meal time now involves me cutting up food for my toddler and then chasing her around begging her to eat it. She refuses to sit in a high chair and will only eat on-the-run. Literally. By the time she is fed my food is cold and I am tired from my accidental workout. This could be a good weight loss program if I could just cut out the night-time snacking!
Sleeping. I think anyone with kids will agree with this. Once you have children, your sleep patterns are fucked. Don’t even pretend like they aren’t because we all know they are. It starts with the newborn that is up 3 times a night. Then as toddlers they get sick and puke and run fevers and feel miserable. And when our babies are sick we refuse to leave their sides. As they get a little older it’s nightmares and just plain-old not wanting to sleep. Then when they become teenagers it’s wondering where they are and waiting up for them till they get home. It just never stops. I read somewhere once that parents lose up to an hours’ worth the sleep every night because of children. I wish it was only an hour. There have been days that I have functioned on such little sleep that I have spelled my own name wrong. And that’s seriously not bullshit. I wrote my name was Kaite. I’m sure that an acceptable variation but I spell it as Katie.
Lazy Saturday mornings. OMG, I miss these so much. I used to sleep till 9AM or so, then wake up and make a nice breakfast. Afterwards I would go to the gym and then come home and nap and do laundry. The morning would pass and by mid-afternoon I was napping again. It was awesome. My Saturday’s are so different now. I’m usually at a park or running errands or taking my mini-me out for lunch. And while I do miss my lazy Saturdays, I also enjoy the new ones. But I would be a total liar if I said that I didn’t want a lazy Saturday now and then.
Before I had a child, I had lots of free time that I could do whatever I wanted with. But you know what? Lots of the time I was bored or unproductive or just plain lazy. There were times when I had nothing to do and wished I had someone to hang out with. Fast-forward to present day and I have the best little person in the whole wide world to spend time with. Yeah she picks her nose and throws tantrums and licks people’s shoes, but she also makes me happier than anyone else can. Do I miss my days of doing what I wanted when I wanted to? Absolutely. But I’d give them up a thousand times over to spend time with my daughter. Because even though sometimes the days are long; the years are short. And I know there will be a time when I’ll wish it all back. These are the moments and memories that I’ll cherish forever. Except for the shitty diapers and vomit and boogers. I’ll forget that stuff 🙂