Becoming a mom transforms life in ways you never fully understand until you become a parent yourself. I find myself missing a lot of things about my pre-mom life. At the same time? There are some things I don’t miss at all.
Let's start with what I miss:
1. The ability to watch dialogue-driven movies whenever I want. You know the kind where people are having quiet conversations? The only kind of film that can be watched with a toddler during the day must have the subtlety of a Michael Bay picture. I viewed the entire series of "Downton Abbey" at night after everyone was asleep.
2. Quiet weekend mornings with my husband. My husband and I consider getting up at 7:30 a.m. “sleeping in.” Our toddler is up and needs milk, breakfast and our attention. Those lazy stay-in-bed-all-day mornings are a thing of the past.
3. The ability to leave the house by just deciding to leave. Hey, you want to go somewhere? Before kids you can walk out the door, at any hour of the day or night. Now we need to pack gear and strategize the day. Do we leave pre- or post-nap?
4. Guilt-free shopping for myself. I used to go around town and could spend hours looking through racks of clothes, slipping into new shoes and sniffing bottles of perfume. I never batted an eye at a splurge. I couldn’t do this now without feeling major guilt! These days, if I do splurge, I’d rather it be on an experience: ballet for our daughter, a weekend away with my husband, etc.
5. Never even thinking about childcare or babysitters. Are you planning a move to a new city, taking a new job or even spending an evening out? Once you have a baby, childcare dominates all decisions big and small. Are you going to use daycare, a nanny or stay at home? Is there a babysitter available? It becomes part of your life.
My daughter teaches me so much — about the world and myself. She sees everything for the first time, and it reminds me to slow down, contemplate and learn right alongside her.
Some things I do not miss:
1. My general ambivalence about what to do with my life. What did I want? What did life even mean? Having a child showed me to make a living in the best way I can and always try to improve my skills, prioritize family, be a good person. It’s really not that complicated after all.
2. My old definition of productivity. I can do more with a kid than some people can with a full day by themselves. I broke my procrastination habit simply out of need. Some of the skills you build as a mom include expert multitasking and increased efficiency.
3. Not knowing my body’s potential. I pushed a baby into the world and, for an instant, I was a beacon of life. You can’t go back after that.
4. Being self-centered. This is not a judgment on people without kids; I just know I was self-centered before I became a mom. Having a baby was the first time I’d ever had to care for another person’s needs above my own. But throughout the physical (and emotional) exhaustion that comes with caring for a newborn, I gained perspective on what it means to nurture and love someone selflessly. These lessons helped reframe my life.
5. Not having the benefit of a new perspective. My daughter teaches me so much — about the world and myself. She sees everything for the first time, and it reminds me to slow down, contemplate and learn right alongside her. It’s inspiring to witness.