DISCLAIMER: No children’s feelings were hurt during the writing and conceptualizing of this message. Furthermore, I love my children dearly and thank God for their existence. Let me mention though, I have four-year-old twins and a 24-month-old.
I have had my fair share of wild, shot drinking nights, wearing inappropriate shirts and staying up til dawn. Those days are long gone; like at least five years ago long gone. I am now the mom of three young children who I love more than anything. And yet, I would not mind getting crazy for a night and forgetting where I put the baby’s pacifier.
Aside from a wild night or two, these are the 10 things that I miss most about my life, pre-babies:
1. Not having to prevent all surfaces from becoming a climbing destination and fall hazard. My children climb on EVERYTHING! This means the kitchen table, their dressers, beds, train table, couches…Should I go on?! Needless to say, trying to prevent and safeguard these surfaces is agonizing, and what am I going to say to the ER doctor when he asks why my son fell off the dining room table! “Well…I’m actually a very negligent mother.” Currently, our dining room chairs are lying flat underneath the table so that no one can manage their way up on the table and swing on the chandelier. This has happened.
Recently my two-year-old spent time in the ER because her elbow was pulled out of joint after my four year-old daughter tried to unstrap and take my two-year-old out of her car carrier. I was in the room the entire time that this happened when laughing turned into screaming, and I had to explain this story a good five times to the staff in the ER. Every time, I got the “You must be a negligent mother” look.
2. Slightly coming close to a shelf at the grocery store. When I shop with the three kids, they like to grab any and everything they can get their grubby, little hands on. I’ve had to pay for fallen strawberries and opened yogurt containers. Furthermore, can I just say that it’s not a party to place one baby and one toddler into a “car” cart, and have another toddler walk near me (not beside me God forbid) and then shove groceries for five people into a small compartment on the bottom of said “car” cart. Once I check out, I usually have to drag another cart behind me to get the groceries to my car. The bonus to this scenario is all the stares and the “you have your hands full” comments from people, especially older men. “Yep, I have my hands full with two carts full of stuff that I’m not sure I need…three kids, and zero sanity.”
3. Pre-nursing and pumping boobs. I breastfed and/or pumped for my children for 14 months each; two of them at the same time. So, I’m now working with what resemble tube socks made for a three-year-old filled with about $.52 each.
4. Doing laundry only once a week. Between the poop, food stains, puke, he pee, bedwetting and the rest of the messes, I do laundry constantly. Shout and Tide are still in business because of my continued loyalty.
5. Sleeping in, even just for 10 more minutes. I’m not even going to comment on this one any further; all parents of young kids will get it. And forget about taking a nap when you’re sick or pregnant. That’s hilarious. And don’t even think about going out for a drink or two on a rare occasion. If you go to bed after 10 p.m., it’s guaranteed that your children are waking up early just to piss you off. And, you're over 30 body can’t handle booze like your 25-year-old body could so this is a lose, lose situation.
Though this list is in no particular order, #6 takes the cake for me these days on the top 10 things I miss most pre-babies.
6. Never having this conversation: “Do you have to pee? Are you sure? Do you have to pee? I think you have to pee. You should try. No, try. Oh, you already went in your pants.”
7. Taking a shower that lasts more than three minutes. I’ve got a baby walking around the bathroom who often sticks her head into the tub and cries when she gets wet, one kid hitting the other with a racecar and the dog eating their snack off the floor after I told them to put it in the sink. The day that I drop them off at college, I am taking a really long shower.
8. Making a hot meal that people are satisfied with and will eat. This is a two-fold issue for our household. First off, the kids won’t eat anything that is slightly warm or they claim that it’s too hot. Secondly, they like something that I make one day and then hate it the next, so I can’t win. However, if my husband is on meal duty, they’ll eat whatever he gives them because “Daddy is my best friend.” It’s sweet but it hurts.
9. Getting ready to leave the house in under 10 minutes. I couldn’t do this if I was promised $1 million, or if the house was on fire or even if I was on fire. The process of getting them up in the morning, dressed, fed, doing last minute diaper changes and getting everything and everyone in the car takes an hour at least. If someone throws a fit, well, the ship starts to sink. The pinnacle moment of tardiness is when we are all strapped in and ready to go, and someone has to go to the bathroom, even though we already had the conversation: “Do you have to go pee? Are you sure? You should try. You DID NOT go in your pants. You should try.”
10. Wearing shoes with heels. You can’t carry kids, diaper bags, lean down to wipe noses or chase after bolting toddlers in heels. Heels used to go nicely with clothing without buggers and dried food. And heels don’t go well with yoga pants and that’s my uniform. And you all know…Yoga pants are for the ass that doesn’t quit after having three kids in two years, so I’m not giving those up.
All this being said, my twins were born at 31 weeks. They came via emergency c-section and there were no cries when they came on to this earth. They were not breathing and were less than three pounds each. All I heard from behind the curtain when they were born was “Baby A, boy, need NICU.” Two minutes later, “Baby B, girl, need NICU.”
They were fragile and sick, and we did not know if they would ever sleep in the beds that we made for them. I sat over them for six weeks in the NICU and prayed for their survival. Once we finally took them home, I bolted out of bed in the middle of the night when their apnea monitors went off as their heart rates slowed or their breathing labored. I tirelessly did physical, occupational and speech therapy with them so they’d grow up to be as healthy and prosperous as full-term babies. Now they are four and make my life crazy. I have days, many in fact, where I need to look at the images of newborn children and remind myself that they are actually here and they are alive.
My little baby, who is now two, was born early but was healthy. She has a tranquil spirit, kind eyes and radiates happiness. Most importantly, I have a strong sense of fulfillment when I look at her because my family is now whole and it was not without her.
To all of this I say, bring on the yoga pants, the fast showers and my hands being extremely full. My heart is more full than I could have ever imagined.