Earlier today, I had a moment when I was wondering about my BC days (Before Children.) What did I do with all that spare time?
I remember having to wake up for work and hating that. I remember having hangovers that lasted for entire weekends. I remember only going out after dinner… I mean, leaving the house at ten pm.
I don’t miss those things so much. But there are a few things I do long for from time to time. So here goes, in a moment of unprecedented nostalgia…
A private pee.
My bathroom is the nicest in the house. I get that. We built it to make it a private sanctuary, and truth be told, my bathroom is just that. So I shouldn’t be surprised that my three little ladies want to be there too… I’ve raised them to love pretty things. I’m usually kept company by at least one. This morning it was all three. And the best is when they’re trying to be helpful and offer to get toilet paper for me, to wipe for me. Oh gosh. I miss having that moment all to myself.
The remote for the TV.
How many times, exactly, should I have to watch Sing! or Rock Dog before it’s my turn to ask for the television remote control? There are shows I wish I could watch, all by myself, or with my husband. Game of Thrones, which is completely inappropriate for children, for example. It’s nudity and sex and sometimes even foul language. It’s violence and dragons and death walkers. I mean. So much of ADULT!!! But instead, I find, even after the children are in bed, I stay awake in order to see if the dog finally finds a rock and roll band. Which, (spoiler alert!) even after the seventh time watching it, he always does.
We are a really noisy house. I’ve noticed that compared to other homes with children around the same age, we are disproportionately louder than we should be. But it seems that the noise is non-stop. I crave silence. Is there such a thing as noise exhaustion?? I think I may suffer from that? Which goes hand in hand with the next one.
Not being touched. All. The. Time.
Sometimes, it’s nice not to be touched all the time. Even when my kids are sharing the same sofa as me, they have to sit partly on top of me. I’ve learned to type with my elbows tucked in close. I’ve managed to squeeze three children into various crevices of my body so that they don’t argue over each getting to be with mommy, but sometimes, it would be good to go a few hours without getting grabbed, clutched, elbowed, pulled or lain-on.
Being able to eat supper without sharing what is on my plate.
That’s right: I am selfish when it comes to my food. And when I dish up the exact same supper on five different plates and yet my baby only wants what is on mine, well that tickles me pink. NOT. What’s wrong with your chicken? I want to scream, while everyone else laughs that Mommy doesn’t get to eat her own supper again.
Being able to choose what we eat for supper.
Hmmm… We can’t eat aubergine? Why not? You get what you get and you can’t be upset… well, not actually, because you need to eat to grow… and it’s my job to make sure you grow… so I guess we need to eat plain chicken, plain veggies and plain pasta for supper… again!
Having my Own Time.
Waking up on a weekend morning and being able to go for a run, even at eight am. That’s amazing. I don’t need copious amounts of alone time, but having some, well that’s a real luxury.
Well, those are the ultimate luxury. When I only had one baby, that was easy enough to get right, we could sleep together. But with three. Oi.
Having no other identity.
Even my daughter’s friends only know me as “………’s Mom.” First question I’m often asked is, “How are the kids?” First conversation I’m often drawn in to is almost always about something our children are doing. There was a time that I was interesting. Gosh, I hope there was at least. But these days, I seem to be Mom first…
Well, it’s the mantra of a mother: I’m so tired. These days I wake up before the alarm sounds at five-fifty am, I’m awake and the day begins. We have fourteen to sixteen hours of life and then sleep. Sort of. It’s a long, busy day. Night time doesn’t always allow for great sleep, with three children there always seems to be one waking up for something between dusk and dawn.
Knowing that my “stuff” was safe.
I’ve had wallpaper ripped off the walls. Precious cups and plates broken. Perfume poured onto a fairy garden and name-brand eye cream used for foot massages. Nothing is safe or sacred. Little people don’t understand that there are certain things off limits. I’ve had to learn not to care so much about the stuff, to see the innocence where the exploration led to mistakes and to breathe. But sometimes, I wish my lipstick wasn’t so water-resistant, because it’s tricky getting it off our couch.
Holidays where one can actually sit down with a book.
In fact. I miss reading during the day. Period. I have to read on a Kindle because I have to do it in secret. My children see a gadget and they think it’s fair game (see above,) so I get to read when they’re asleep. We don’t get holidays where we have down time, reading time. We are up and about, we are milking cows or swimming in pools, we are riding bikes and pushing prams. Holidays require a great deal of energy and allow for very little down time. Ah, the days where we could sit and read or simply sleep in, are gone for now.
It’s not a case of wishing my children away. I would never do that. But like a mommy can look down at her tummy and wish for her bikini days, or have a sleepless night due to a sick child and long for eight straight hours. You’re absolutely allowed to do that.
My children are, undoubtedly, my greatest gift. All these things I remember once having or doing, could never compare to the joy I feel spending days loving these little people. Any mother worth her salt would agree. One day, we will get our own back. We will look at young mothers, possibly our own daughters, and say, “Don’t worry, this will pass.” and tell them, “It’s only a season.” We will remind them that in a few short years they will long for children who cling to their legs and keep them up at night. We will be those people: the ones who’ve come out the other side and lived to tell the tale.