Yes, I realize that sounds bad and obviously there are a million reasons I love having Ava that crush these 9 things into oblivion. She brings more joy to me than I’ve ever known and I couldn’t ask for more.
But, I still miss things about the pre-baby life. I’ve come to wonder if I’ll ever stop missing these things, I’m guessing once she reaches adulthood, I’ll get them all back again in some capacity.
I was looking for an old picture myself to use for this post and found this one from about 4 years ago (those earrings really are old). My brother is an awesome photographer (he’s done our engagement photos and family photos) and he took this candid shot of me when we were all gathered at a local bar. M and I were newly engaged at the time and all I can think of when I see this picture is that I was so carefree back then. Of course I had my job and bills to pay, but overall life was simple and easy.
Anyway, let’s get to it.
1. Spontaneity. I think this is probably the number one thing missed by most moms. Gone are the days of ‘get up and go’. This is a big one for me because I’m really not a big planner. I never scheduled haircuts or nail appointments weeks in advance. It was more like I’d suddenly ‘feel’ like getting a haircut or getting a mani, call on the spot and an hour or two later said service would be complete. I’m just more of a spur of the moment type with certain things and I’ve had to let that go.
2. Travel. I love to travel. I grew up traveling. We used to vacation somewhere at least twice a year and last year we went nowhere. Yes, you can travel with a baby, but I think we can all agree that traveling sans-baby is a completely different ball game. We’re officially going to the Bahamas as our first family vacation this spring, and I’m so excited because I know Ava will love it. But I’m also stressed at the thought of remembering everything she’ll need, being on an airplane with a toddler, and all the other baby-related worries.
3. Having my own schedule, or lack thereof. I’m not one for schedules, I like doing whatever, whenever. I know there are some kids who don’t have issue with going with the flow. Ava is not one of them. This kid is like clockwork. Meals, naps, snacks all fall pretty much at the same time give or take half an hour. She just does best with a routine. And I’ve found that mommy Bree does better with one too. I told my MIL that I wake Ava if she’s not up by 8 AM. She was surprised, why wake a sleeping baby? It just throws the whole day off and honestly, I need her in bed by 9 PM so I can have a. me time and b. finish any miscellaneous cleaning, laundry folding, etc. If she sleeps in, she tends to sleep later and I’m not having it.
4. Leisurely dinners out. My husband and I love trying new restaurants and dining out in general. We used to do it every weekend. We still go out maybe a couple of times a month and we do take Ava to lunch on his days off. Taking a baby to lunch is not leisurely at this age. It’s not bad, but usually I’m stuffing food in my mouth and trying to make sure she’s getting most of it into hers and not dropping it on the floor. And although Ava is quite well-behaved when we eat out, she can only tolerate being in a highchair for so long before she’s over it. It’s usually just enough time to finish the meal which is a blessing. And when we do go out alone, we make sure to be back home at a reasonable time so my mom isn’t driving back to her home too late, so it’s also not that leisurely.
5. Adult interaction. It wasn’t in the plan for me to be a stay at home mom, I just never imagined I’d be one. I know that for some it’s what they had always wanted, it just never occurred to me to do that. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to go back full-time either. I wanted to work part-time to have the best of worlds, so to speak. I didn’t want to leave my career, I love the people I used to work with and I still miss having lunch with them, laughing and chatting about our days. Most days, other than the cashiers at Target, my husband is the only other person I get to talk to that uses actual sentences to convey his thoughts. Do I wish things had gone according to plan? No. I haven’t missed a second of Ava’s life and I’ve seen her grow on every level: physically, cognitively, and emotionally. I wouldn’t trade that for anything now. But, I do miss my work life and I do feel like I’m in a professional standstill at the moment. But I know this won’t last forever so I’m cherishing every moment I can.
6. Seeing our friends. I was reminded of this after a long overdue dinner with my girlfriends last weekend. I miss seeing my friends (girlfriends and our groups of friends). We used to get together all the time, but now that a few of us have children we just don’t do it anymore. When summer hits I want to start entertaining more, last year I was just too exhausted to bother. Now that I have more of a handle on this ‘mom thing’ (and getting a full night’s sleep), at least for now, I feel like I can put some energy into it.
7. Quality time with my husband. After Ava’s asleep, there’s a short window of time during which I get to truly focus on M and just have a conversation with him. A conversation where I’m not simultaneously picking up toys and folding laundry and he’s not doing dishes or following up with work emails. I think it’s equally important to continue to connect with your spouse as it’s important to spend quality time with your children. Ours is usually the hour before one of us falls asleep, where we both get to talk about whatever is on our mind and really be able to absorb what the other person is saying.
8. Reading. I love reading. I would go through a book in 2-3 days if it hooked me enough, buying a new one on my Nook as soon as the last one ended. I started reading Dark Places over the weekend and despite liking it from the get-go, I haven’t been able to pick it up since. I used to read a lot before bed (dangerous when I had to get up for work early the next day), now I still read mostly in bed, but only if my insomnia has kicked in and I can’t sleep.
9. Not feeling tired all the time, no matter how much sleep I get. Enough said.
So although I miss that ‘old’ me, I much prefer this me:
My happiest place is right here, next to her.