It might sound a little cliché but having children has enriched my life in so many ways that it could fill a novel unto itself. It goes without saying that they are the love and lights of my life and bring myself and their father immeasurable joy. There are many things that I'm grateful for about my life with sweet girls. But. BUT. There are a handful of things that I really, really loved from my days before the kids arrived that have now become—to be frank—just the worst.
Here are eight things I used to love but have grown to dread since having kids:
Did you enjoy Victoria Day? I did! It was a fabulous day off spent frolicking in the sun with my beautiful family. Until, that is, the sun went down. In my pre-kids days, I'd have thrown together a blanket and snacks (and wine), and made my way with friends to party it up at the nearest fireworks display. Now I rush in a panic to seal up and soundproof the house and then spend the next four hours consoling my terrified toddler as she screams and tries to actually crawl inside of my clothing, while simultaneously trying to convince my 8-year-old that yes, she can totally sleep through it (even though NOBODY can possibly sleep through it). Fireworks fun times? Not anymore.
Remember when bedtime was the best? I'm speaking of course about when it was yours and yours alone. You decided when to go to bed. Heck, you even decided where to go to bed. Post-kids "bedtime" refers exclusively to those two hours you spend trying desperately wrestling your kids into baths and PJs and then trying to play it cool as you silently pray they will a) get into bed and b) stay in their beds (which never happens on the first try).
Aren't beach days just the best? You pack the car and haul wagon-loads of stuff with you, including a fat stack of mags for yourself, envisioning a peaceful day kicked back on your towel catching up on celebrity gossip as your kids frolic happily at the shore. But then you arrive and glance out to the water to see, oh the horrors, waves! Turbulent, kid-tossing, wind-whipped waves. As a younger, braver, kidless person you'd have run out with joyful abandon and body surfed for hours. Emerging only to dry off in the sun and breeze before diving back on in. Now? The kids are thrilled, they charge toward the surf and dive in while you pace the shore on high alert until your calves seize up and your lips are blue and shivering from nerves and the sheer excursion of literally keeping their happy little heads above water. Magazines will have to wait.
4. Long Walks
My husband and I used to take to the city streets every weekend, strolling leisurely for hours and popping to shops or patios whenever we liked. These days we can't get to the end of the block without the kids crying and whining about how far we've gone, and how much longer we can possibly force them to go on before the world ends. Thinking you might pop into that cute boutique? You'd better read on to #5...
I was a pro-shopper. Like the best of the best. And I loved it. The thrill of the hunt, hours spent in change rooms preening in the mirror until I found just the right fit. These days the mere thought of entering a shop with the kids sends a shiver up my spine. Even the grocery store is hard to take, let alone a fancy boutique. Even online shopping is a challenge, trying to get the right sizes in my cart while my kids hover and beg to play Minecraft or scream in my ear about how much they hate whatever I'm trying to buy. No thanks. I'm sure there will still be stores and shopping to enjoy when they turn 18.
Brooke already nailed this one, with her recent post about dining out with toddlers. I know it used to be a fun, relaxing, even dare I say romantic way to spend an evening, but rather than attempt to dine out with kids why not take all the money out of your wallet and set it on fire. Then go whip up some grilled cheese sammies and call it a day. Because that's all they will eat anyway. And trying to substitute it with a fancy restaurant-version ain't fooling nobody.
Do you remember the days when you could watch something that was not a cartoon on TV? Me neither. But I have vague recollections of really enjoying kicking back at the end of a long day and binge watching my favourite shows. These days, if I even think about turning on the TV, I'm suddenly covered in children fighting over the remote and screaming loudly because one hates Caillou (um, same) and the other wants to watch a movie that is clearly rated way beyond what her 8-year-old eyes can handle. This includes turning on the tube on after "bedtime" (see above), which only results in the little one calling down to make sure I'm watching Caillou.
Used to love'em. Now I loath'em. For basically the exact same reasons listed above for fireworks. Except worse! Because they are unpredictable and can happen any day, at any moment and last for varying lengths of time (even a five minute storm can seem like five hours when you have kids).
Ah, yes. Last but not least. Never much of a bath-person but oh how I used to luxuriate in a long hot shower. These days I shower with the door open, listening to make sure nobody is throwing marbles out the window or cutting off their sister's hair with craft scissors. God-forbid it is quiet! All parents know that quiet is worse. I have learned to shower in three minutes flat, often forgoing significant stages of showering in order to cut my time down to something akin to practicing for a pit stop in the Indy 500.
Okay, your turn! I know all parents have a few things they look back on wistfully and wonder, "will I ever enjoy that again?" What's on your list? Share with us in the comments below.