20 Things I Took For Granted Before Having Kids

Family Matters on 04.02.12
Contributor bio

Photo: mgrayflickr/Creative Commons

I love my kids. I really, really do. I love them so much that I wholeheartedly accept these tongue-in-cheek truths to parenthood as necessary bits of child-rearing that will be over with before I know it. But sometimes a poor (literally), sleep-deprived mom just wants to pee in private, you know?

Every time I feel like the chaos and messes will never end I remind myself that someday they will - and I'll probably be horribly bored and lonely as a result. In the meantime, this is the stuff that I truly miss about pre-motherhood days:

1. Lazy Saturday mornings. Even if you don't have anywhere to go, parents are still responsible for feeding, dressing, bathing and otherwise entertaining young'uns. By the time you're done with all of that, Saturday morning is a thing of the past!

2. Eating without cutting anyone else's food up. It sounds paltry, but it gets pretty old after you've had a few dozen meals where your food is ice cold by the time you get done prepping everyone else's.

3. Nice boobs and abs. I'm sure some of you came out of pregnancy, labor, delivery and months of breastfeeding with everything still intact, but many of us aren't so lucky and now sport deflated balloons in place of perky bosoms. I never understood the point of plastic surgery before I had kids. Now, I totally get it. Sign me up!

4. Going six months without puking my guts out. Kids are so very sweet. They are also completely germ-ridden. No amount of hand-washing is going to completely safeguard any family from catching the stomach flu funk. To make matters worse, it always seems like I'm the last one to catch it. After I've nursed everyone else back to health, washed their puke-covered sheets and cleaned all the bathrooms. Which brings me to my next point...

5. Actually being able to be sick when I'm sick. People don't just magically learn to care for themselves when Mom's down for the count. We still have to do everything we normally do, just looking and feeling like something from a zombie horror movie.

6. Waking up on my own. I literally cannot remember a time when I woke up leisurely at the time my body decided it should start the day. I'm usually jolted out of a nice dream about hunky actor Ian Somerhalder when someone runs screaming into my room because his brother peed on the wall and he stepped in the runoff.

7. Money. My husband and I used to complain about making ends meet when we both had incomes and zero children. If I could talk to those stilly people I'd punch them right in the jugular for being such idiots. We had so much expendable income back then that we never appreciated. To my starved bank account: I'm sorry you're so hungry all the time. Gymnastics lessons are freakin' expensive!

8. Being able to go to the grocery store for one item without it taking 3.5 hours from start to finish. I've been tempted before to hit the pharmacy drive-through at Walgreen's and ask for a gallon of milk. Perhaps someone would take pity on me and spare me the indignity of hauling three children out of their car seats and through a store where they beg for one of everything they see, even though they have hundreds of pieces of junk at home that they never look at.

airplane

Photo: puddy_uk/Creative Commons

9. Air travel. It really bothers me when people shoot irritated looks at mothers and fathers traveling with young children. Chances are, they'd rather be absolutely anywhere else in the world than on an airplane with children, so you should grant them exemption from the occasional whine or short crying jag.* Taking a toddler on a plane is not at all dissimilar to having your toenails surgically removed while being forced to watch "Michael Bolton - Live in Concert." So the next time you see a mom trying to get her stroller, diaper bag, suitcase, lovey, shoes, belts and assorted other crap through the security scanner, offer to lend her a hand before her head starts to spin around.

*Of course, if you are so unlucky as to be seated near the dreaded "parents who let their kids do whatever they bleeping want - including kicking the back of your seat - and don't do anything about it" feel free to become very, very annoyed or eat something that'll give you really bad gas. That'll show 'em.

10. Traveling with only one bag and carry-on. Occasionally, I take the odd weekend trip here or there on my own. It takes me 15 minutes to pack and I actually get to read on the plane. Enough said.

11. Reading for pleasure. I do get to read something other than parenting or work-related materials occasionally...for about five minutes before I pass out into a sleep coma at the end of the day. I've been working on the same e-book since January. It's now the end of March.

cocktails 

Photo: brians101/Creative Commons

12. Happy hour. Even if you're lucky enough to get out for the odd date night, chances are that you're so tired you'll fall asleep during your first course if you hit happy hour first.

13. Having an uninterrupted, intelligible telephone conversation. I hardly ever talk to my friends anymore. No, I don't think I'm too good for them or that they're any less important than they were before. I just want to spare them all the annoyance of having to listen to my children (who largely ignored me before I got on the phone), try to impale each other or beg me for assorted snacks and drinks. I have been known to hide in the closet for the odd conversation here and there, and I don't apologize for it. If they can't find me, it's their fault.

14. Watching a TV show in the morning that does not air on Nickelodeon, Disney or PBS Kids. What happened to Regis??? The last time I watched he and Kelly were engaged happily in awkward banter. I don't take kindly to change.

15. Eating dinner out later than 5 p.m. We eat out ridiculously early specifically to avoid crowds, wait times and turned-up noses by diners without kids. I hope to one day become one of those snobbish diners again.

16. A living room where the amount of adult stuff outnumbers the amount of kid stuff. As I look around I see a baby swing, pack and play, assorted monster trucks and one of those grabber things with a dinosaur head on the end. There's also padding on the edges of our beautiful stonework fireplace to keep our kids from requiring stitches to the noggin.

17. Staying up late just for the heck of it. Sure, I could stay up late anytime I want to, but I'll still have to rise at 6:30 when the boys do, so what's the point?

holding hands

Photo: katerha/Creative Commons

18. Holding hands with my husband. We are usually holding much smaller hands and juggling sippy cups.

19. Getting my hair cut in a timely fashion. There are many places moms have to go that children can easily tag along. The salon is not one of them. As a result, I usually look like the bizarre love child of Diana Ross and Weird Al Yankovic, particularly when it's humid out.

Lastly (and I'm sure this will come as a surprise to absolutely NO ONE IN THE WORLD WHO HAS CHILDREN):

20. Sleep. Not just a few hours here or there. I'm talking about sleeping hours upon hours without anyone climbing in your bed, asking for a drink of water, farting (yes, that one's meant for the husbands out there), having a nightmare or otherwise interrupting your zzz's. You know, the kind of sleep where you actually wake up feeling well-rested in the morning. What a novel idea!

I'm sure I missed a few dozen or so examples. What did you take for granted before entering the messy, but joyous world of parenting?

Top Articles on Moms
Why a Mommy Time Out Will Save Your Sanity

Why Isn't There an Emergency Help Line for Mothers?

25 Things You Should Never Say to a New Mom