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Top 10: Things I Took For Granted Before I Had Kids

IMG_6534.jpgA fellow mama once said something that I found so profound. It went a little something like this:

“It’s funny…the things we find special after becoming moms.”

If you’re a woman who’s lived through or is currently in the early stages of parenthood, you’re likely nodding your head in agreement and thoughtfully considering the “special” moments in your life.

Here are the Top 10 things I feel I didn’t adequately appreciate before I had kids:

1) Riding in a car by myself.
I did a lo-hot of driving alone pre-kids. At 16, I was driving to school, cruising to Milwaukee to visit friends, checking out the Chicago scene and going on road trips by myself. OK, maybe only 4-hour road trips to C-U, but still. Not typical for a new driver to do sans parents. Flash forward a couple decades plus some… these days I get giddy when I climb into a car without any tiny, flailing passengers. Moms, you know the ones. They kick the crap out of you as you’re attempting to protect their little body. Ironic, since by the time you get the straps buckled you’re ready to strangle them. If I can hit the road without the darling joys of my life, I feel like a free woman! Yes, even when I’m going to a gynecological exam.

2) Being home alone.
I find it totally liberating on those rare occasions when I have the house to myself. ‘Course I use that time to do something really really special – clean. I crank some music and zip around my house like the Jetsons’ maid, Rosie. My entire house can look spic and span in about 5.5 minutes if I can do it without people under my feet. If my kids are home, forget it. It’s a lost cause. While I’m picking crap up in one room, they are tossing things around in another room at twice my pace a la Tasmanian devil. Not the most effective technique.

3) Going to the bathroom.
Sad, but true. I never knew I had it so good before holding my “mom” title. Once upon a time, I could relieve myself any freaking time I wanted to. Any time! I didn’t have to ask the other adult with me if it was OK. I didn’t have to tell someone where I was going and explain that I’d be “right back”. I just went and returned at my leisure. Not so much any more, folks. Not any more.

4) Taking a shower.
Who knew that soaping up each morning could be so glorious? Oh, that’s right – moms. We know that taking a shower sans any little people is so fantastically amazing. Who needs a trip to the spa?! Just let me close the door to my bathroom and scrub myself without the curtain getting peeled back or anyone screaming “Mommy!” and I’m in heaven!

5) Listening to whatever music I want at whatever volume that pleases me.
I love music. I grew up with a mom who happens to be a drummer, so I was surrounded by talented musicians. Still to this day, I love discovering new music. Having kids makes it a bit challenging as they want to listen to the same thing over and over. I admit that they are really great as far as gravitating toward awesome music rather than Disney Sing-a-longs. (They talk about Coldplay a lot and can be heard requesting Google to play the Hamilton soundtrack!) Even still, I miss those days when the decision was completely up to me without any sass regarding what was coming through the speakers.

6) Date nights.
Having been married for 9 years before getting knocked up, Jeff and I were blessed with a lot of time alone. It was amazing to get to begin our marriage by just enjoying being married and not rushing into starting a family. Instead, we racked up the school loan debt in pursuit of higher education and maxed out credit cards while enjoying lots of dates. Not great dates, mind you. We’d wander around Super Target for hours just tossing unnecessary items into our cart. We’d eat meals at ho-hum restaurants. We’d go see any piece of junk movie that just came out. No complaints though. All of those shrug-worthy dates added up to one incredible marriage. And for that, we cannot be disappointed. However, now that we have children and know how difficult it is to find time to be alone, we go on rocking dates together! Hello, steak dinners and cocktails that cost more than our newlywed meals. Oh hey, JT concert and Broadway musicals! Two decades into the old ball and chain and we are finally doing it up right! Also, I’m gonna go all out and don the biggest earrings and shortest shorts I can for date night simply to remind myself that I’m not a dowdy mom. At least not all the time.

7) Adult conversations.
Before living with tots, I barely had conversations with kids. Now the opposite is true. I relish the moments when I get to talk with another adult. Even if it’s just for a couple minutes while my kids are distracted. Oh, and by “adult conversation” I do not mean exchanging birth stories, talking about sleep training, hearing all about the latest diapering product or any other mom-talk. I mean, like, the kind of chit-chat that reminds us that we are women. Not just milking stations or butt-wiping assistants.

8) The ease of making plans.
My time is not my own. My schedule completely revolves around naps, tantrums, sitter availability, other people’s health, etc. I miss the days when I said “yes” to the things I wanted to as opposed to first having to ask my husband’s permission. I miss saying “no” to invites due to other dashing plans rather than because my kid melted down resulting in me having to miss a lovely graduation party (or something else completely made up). Sigh. Making plans is by far the most challenging thing to me about having kids. It’s a full-time job making sure that I have childcare when I need to work, clean the house, date my husband, spend time with friends, go to meetings, etc. Seriously, I should document how many hours a week I spend coordinating this. It’s pretty ridiculous. Now I understand why I was such a hot commodity when I was a live-in nanny!

9) Errands.
Never would I have expected that grocery shopping and dentist appointments would be so exciting. But they are truly a time I look forward to. The ease of getting in and out of the car and simply running in somewhere quickly makes me feel like an Amazing Race contestant. Pretty sure I can be in and out of my library for a pick up in about 2.2 seconds when I’m alone. Compare that with the 1.5 hours it takes when the littles are accompanying me. Oh, errands. Until we meet again!

10) Simple morning routine.
Pre-kids, I knew that I needed to wake up exactly one hour before I needed to arrive at work. Post-kids, it’s still a gamble. Some days my kids are somewhat motivated to cooperate. Most days that’s not the case. It takes If I could just skip bathing, feeding and brushing them I’d be out the door in a jiffy. But DCFS frowns upon that kind of behavior. So instead I spend my mornings repeating the same phrases over and over and over. I’m nostalgic for my potty reminder-free mornings.

Moms, what are the things you find “special” now that you have kids?
Non-moms, are you fully appreciative of the above-referenced things?

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