Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What was life like before kids? Can I even remember?

I had an exceptionally difficult morning this morning. I went to bed early but lately I’ve been having trouble getting out of bed. I think I may have a bit of the winter blah’s. Combine that with a three year old who fights with me every morning (about socks, what she eats, how the blanket covers her as she lays on the couch, the clothing she has to wear) and I have a recipe for disaster every morning. This morning I also left a few extra chores for myself because I was tired last night and only wanted to sit on the couch after dinner. Imagine, I just wanted to SIT for an hour. My need for quiet and calm is often overlooked in my daily life as I strive to be a working parent. It seems the only quiet and calm I get is at work. I’m sitting here right now enjoying a cup of coffee and reflecting on my morning, on every morning since I had kids. I have always been someone who enjoys – no relishes peace and quiet. I can sit for hours with a book or staring out across a lake and daydreaming, wishing, fantasizing, visualizing, being calm. The best part of camping for me is the peace and quiet. I don’t like sleeping on the air mattress, cold mornings, having to walk over 50 feet to a washroom or showering in a room where my clothes get wet despite my every effort to keep them dry. But the benefits of the quiet and the beauty, the clean air and the calm of sleeping outside far outweigh those other things for me. So it’s not surprising to me that this morning I was thinking about how much easier my life was before I had kids. It was mostly because my three year old was moaning and crying for about 20 minutes while we got ready to go. She was tired, I was tired and no doubt she’d rather be home instead of going to daycare today but it’s a fantastic daycare and I know she’s having fun right now as I write this. Both of our children were planned and very much anticipated. They have made our lives so much more wonderful in many ways. But I couldn’t help but fantasize how much EASIER everything was before I had kids. How much MORE MONEY I had in my pocket. I had time to volunteer, money to have my hair done, I sat and watched the morning news before work, I went to movies, I had conversations with my husband, I had baths…….the list could go on and on. It’s just a fantasy, a daydream of what my life once was before I had two little girls to take care of. It’s amazing how resilient you eventually (out of necessity) become when you are a parent. Firstly you give up your body, then sleep and your body (if you are nursing), then all your free time, your ability to shower whenever you want, your brain cells, your social life….. And all of this has made me a stronger person, a more patient person, a more reliable person. Would I trade my kids for money or free time – not a chance. But I need a break from this tiresome routine of getting up with the kids Monday-Friday, feeding, dressing, brushing hair and teeth between 7-8am. Remembering lunches, snow pants, mittens, hats, extra clothing, permission slips for school, gas for the van…it’s an exhausting routine. Next week I’m off for four days and I’m so looking forward to just living. But this morning I wondered, would being a SAHM give me more free time? More money? Probably not - but the idea of just getting up, throwing on some yoga pants, feeding the kids, taking the older one to school for 8am then coming home, cleaning the kitchen, playing with my three year old while I decided what to get accomplished that day, sounds really appealing right now. So I asked my husband this morning if he would consider working full-time and part time (and I would also work part time). He was reluctant but I know I could change his mind if I really tried. When I am feeling this disconnected, I feel the need to take action and make some changes. Because that’s what I am right now, disconnected from what really matters in life. Peace, family and my own happiness.

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