If you are new to the parenting gig or still have young babies at home you will almost definitely have heard at least one person tell you to ‘savour every moment’ or to ‘enjoy this time because it goes so quickly’ or something along those lines. And you may be like me and think quietly to yourself ‘ummmm… I didn’t ask you and having a baby is hard work and can’t you see I’m exhausted and who the fuck gives unsolicited advice to a stranger at the shopping centre anyway??!” Or you may be far more gracious and evolved than that and smile and say “I know” because you may actually know.
I’m not here to tell you those things. Because you didn’t ask and you probably are absolutely exhausted and I know better than to mess with an exhausted mamma with a kid on her boob and quite possibly another one drawing on the sofa in permanent texta.
What I will tell you in ALL MY WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE is that there are some things about those days that you’re in the midst of that I miss. Oh, don’t worry, I’m as shocked as you are.
I miss having a pram.
I loved the moment that I passed my boys’ prams on to my sister-in-law. It heralded the day of grown-up little boys who could walk next me and I had so much more room in my boot! But man, shopping was so much easier with a pram! Now when I go shopping I have to actually CARRY all the bags. I have to hold my coffee and there’s nowhere to hang all the clothes I’m considering buying as I continue browsing. Plus, when my kids whinge that they’re tired I have to actually do something about it instead of just leaning back the seat and suggesting they close their eyes for a minute [hour]. Also, the best parks in the shopping centres are the PRAM PARKS. I miss them too.
I miss being fat.
Easy everyone. I’m allowed to say ‘fat’. I really was fat when I was pregnant. I put on 20kg with my first and 25kg with my second. Those babies were both under 3.5kgs so god knows what I needed all the rest of that extra ‘me’ for but man was there extra! Even my face was big. It was an uncomfortable time and I felt like I was pushing maximum density but it was also so liberating! I was huge and it was wonderful. No hiding it. No sucking anything in or covering up. I was loud and proud pregnant. Now I’m all like ‘does my bum look big in everything?’ when before I just didn’t care. Did. Not. Care. I miss that.
I miss breastfeeding in the middle of the night.
I cannot believe I’m saying this. I seriously can’t but I really, really do miss it. Yeah it’s tiring. Yeah there were many, many nights that I desperately hoped my son would sleep through. Yeah I resented my husband plenty of times for being able to continue sleeping while I was y’know nourishing his child with my body with milk that I made. But here’s the thing. I made milk, people. I created life and then I made the only food that went into that human being for six months. I was the sole reason that baby was alive and thriving. And sometimes, in the fog of exhaustion, all of that was clear to me and those moments were some of the most validating and empowering moments of my entire life. And the love! Oh my stars the love. In the dead of night when it felt like the rest of the entire world was sleeping and it was just me and my son together in the lamp-light and there was nowhere else I needed to be [except asleep in bed] and nothing else needed my attention and there was nothing more important than feeding my baby [except sleeping] it was possible to just drink in the preciousness of the moment. Now I have to negotiate in terrorism-esque conditions just to have him finish off his dinner and put his plate in the dishwasher without scowling. Ungrateful. He used to adore me.
I miss the warmth of carrying a baby next to my heart.
Ok so I think I miss this so much at the moment because it is bloody FREEZING this winter. I’m putting on the electric blanket and going to bed at 8.30pm just to defrost my brain so I can think straight. I remember when my babies were permanently attached to me and they were so warm! Their little swaddled bodies rested against my heart and my days were spent kissing their sweet warm, round heads. I miss the feeling of cold when I would put them down [you should NEVER let your baby sleep in your arms all day – I can’t remember the reason why but apparently it was very bad parenting] like something was missing from me. My babies kept me warm and I miss the pureness of that. Now I’m too scared to kiss their head because I’m sure they never actually wash their face in the shower and who knows what hideous germs they’ve brought home from school on that head.
I miss stewing fruit and vegetables.
Oh those early solids! It used to drive me nuts having all those little ziplock bags full of various cubes of pureed food in the freezer. Organic fruits, veggies and meats all labeled and dated. What a hassle! What a moron. That was paradise. Going out for the day? Just pop a selection of ice-cubes in your snack pack next to the teething rusks and you’re good to go! Nowadays I’ve got to pack two different types of sandwiches, drinks, chips and be expected to fork out for a treat [which will definitely NOT be organic] while we’re out. And I’ll have to remind them AGAIN to use their manners. And stop kicking each other.
I miss changing nappies.
Nappies. Blegh. Except they’re not blegh. They were [usually] well-contained, sanitary human waste options. Sure, they cost a fortune but I had those awesome, scented nappy disposal bags which just packaged them up and in the bin. And those cute little bums that were all lovely and clean ‘cause I could use wet wipes were delightful! Now? There’s piss on the seat and on the bathroom floor. There’s shit stuck on the side of the toilet bowl and skid marks in jocks. Those bums are at the end of very long, skinny, hairy legs with dirty knees. I miss changing nappies.
I miss rocking a baby to sleep.
JUST GO TO SLEEP! I remember thinking this a million times. Yes, really – ONE MILLION TIMES. When my boys were babies, I was obsessed with getting them to sleep. OB.SESSED. Them? Not so much. How hard is it? “YOU’RE TIRED BABY. Close your eyes and go to sleep. Here, watch how easy it is for Mummy.” I hated being in those trenches. But fuck I miss it now. Rocking a baby to sleep is a walk in the park compared to sending a defiant 10 year old to bed. Pat, pat, pat and a bit of singing vs an all-out screaming match with threats of taking away everything that’s in any way important in the 10 year old life? It’s a no-brainer. Pass me that baby.
I miss toddler tantrums.
Toddlers are hard work. They are demanding and inflexible on so many levels. They’re loud and emotional and exhausting. Just when you think you’ve worked them out, they do a full 180 [figuratively, emotionally and sometimes physically] and you’re left standing there with triangle toast pieces thrown all over the floor and a crying monster screaming that they only eat squares. There were some days that I didn’t think I could cope. Coping was a breeze. How easy is it to make another piece of toast and cut it properly? Or clean up the toast from the floor and ignore their screaming until they wore themselves out? Or even distract them? Tantrums these days involve slamming doors and stand-offs that last hours and harsh consequences. And I reckon I’m not far off the dreaded ‘I hate you!’. Yep, toddler tantrums were a walk in the park by comparison.
I miss living by a 24 hour clock.
I hated living by a 24 hour clock. It was relentless but now I miss it. I miss the time when the only commitments I needed to meet were bath time, tummy time and the next feed. When I could lose HOURS of my day encouraging my son to roll and nothing else would be affected by that lost time. When that was not even considered ‘lost time’. That was called parenting and the things my baby did was called development. Now it’s all actions and consequences and attitude. LOTS of attitude.
What do you miss that you never you never thought you would?