I’m the mom of an amazing four-year old boy. I love him more than I could use words to describe here. I want to bottle his laugh. Soak up his spirt. I’m in awe of his curiosity and imagination. I melt when he tells me, “Mommy, I love you. We will always be together.” A mom can only dream, right?
When I can’t sleep, I find myself getting out of bed to check on him. I watch him sleep. I kiss his forehead. I’m essentially his stalker.
In just four years he has taught me so much. I had my chart read by an incredible astrologer two months ago (yes, I am a sucker for all that stuff) and she told me my son was here to be my greatest teacher. I believe her. I’m grateful for him and this life we get to live together. It’s a life that started off rocky because I had to fight through postpartum depression to get to here. But I fought my ass off and I got here.
It’s extremely difficult to articulate what motherhood is like. Maybe that’s why no one talks about it enough. How can a mom explain the conflicting feelings of having all the above with those moments where she misses what life was like before ever knowing about any of the above? Because as amazing and fulfilling as being a mom can be, there are plenty of moments where you miss, even crave your old life before you became one. There are plenty of moments when I miss, even crave my old life before I became one. And I think that’s okay. More than okay.
I miss sleeping in on weekends. I miss those mornings where my husband and I would wake up late and stay in bed for hours. I miss being able to see every movie in the theater. I miss curling up on the couch under a cozy blanket to read a book in the middle of the afternoon. I miss not paying attention to my watch when I go out because I don’t have to worry about getting woken up at 6 am the next morning by a tiny human pointing a light saber in my face. I miss being able to pick up and travel for all my family and close friends’ milestones. I miss when planning girls’ weekends were easy. I miss wanting to talk to people on the phone.
I miss having energy. I miss peeing in private and taking showers without that same tiny human shining a big black flashlight inside and yelling, “Vagina, vagina, vagina!” I miss when the only food negotiations that took place were inside my own head. I miss not having to stop a movie 11 minutes before it’s over because my little one has decided he wants to watch Moana for the 87th time. I miss blasting 90s pop music and not having empty snack cups thrown at my head while driving. I miss living in a house with other girls.
Sometimes I even get jealous of the couples who can just go to a brewery (we have so many in Charlotte now) to day drink on a Saturday whenever they want (there were no breweries ten years ago when I moved here and didn’t have a kid yet). Or when my siblings and their spouses don’t have to share a hotel room with their kid on vacation, forcing them to whisper, tiptoe, and watch TV on their iPads with headphones after he goes to sleep. I’m jealous of the people who get to watch Game of Thrones on Sundays the way I used to watch Sex and the City—with lots of friends and too much wine.
Let me be clear. I’m not complaining. I’m not even venting. I’m just trying to be real about something I think most moms experience. I’m sure my list could go on longer. And it’s not like I don’t get to do any of these things anymore. They just get done a little less and take a lot more planning. They require the extra money it takes to pay a babysitter. They require the extra coordination it takes between lots of other moms who have their own kids, husbands, schedules, and lives too. They happen less spontaneously. They have to be scheduled in advance.
Does this make me a horrible mom? I don’t think so, but this question coupled with feelings of guilt often accompany these moments. That’s probably why I started this article by letting you know how much I am in love with my son and how incredible he is. As if I need to make sure everyone, especially all the moms including myself, know that just because I sometimes want my old life, it has no bearing on how I feel about my new one. I wouldn’t want to be judged for any of this. I’m trying not to judge myself!
What I’ve realized is, I don’t think I’m the only mom caught somewhere between loving this new life and missing my old one. I think all moms go through this. No matter how many moments like this you might have, we shouldn’t be afraid to be honest about them.
Again, it’s hard to articulate how it feels to be a mom, but we should still try to. These ups and downs we all experience are what connects us to each other as moms. We share the common bond of motherhood and should be able to let each other know that missing life before children is normal, happens to all of us, and definitely does not make us horrible moms.
So, next time a mom you know feels that mom guilt, take her out for a martini (or three) and let her know you sometimes miss life your life before kids too.