Before being a parent, I had more time. I could wake up at 8am, and that was early. I could make a cup of tea and not feel like I have to rush to drink it. I can fix my hair. My husband and I went out more, whether it was to movies, museums, long drives to destinations. I saw my friends more often, and had more time to talk to them on the phone. I stayed up much later, often sleeping at midnight. I could shop for clothes in a store whenever I wanted to. I could go home for work and do whatever I wanted to do, whether that was exercise, cook, eat, read, use the computer, anything.
Now that I’m a parent, things are a bit different!
I wake up at 6:30 to get ready for work before LO wakes up. I prep LO’s meals, dicing the ones that are too big to chew, and packing his snacks into little tupperwares ready to go. I listen to children’s music. I check out children’s books at the library and read them over and over. I attend library story time and children’s events. I watch movies on DVDs that we borrow from the library. I blow bubbles, squish Play-Doh, and color with crayons. And I cram all my errands and chores in the evenings after LO is asleep, but not past 10:30pm, because that’s my cutoff bedtime.
The wonderful thing is that I actually enjoy all of that! Maybe not the sleeping and waking up early part, but everything else! I love how LO looks when he wakes up in the morning, with his hair tussled and his smile all energetic (even when I’m still groggy!). I love reading to him and hearing him saying all the hundreds of words he says. I love giving LO structure to his day, laughing with him, taking walks around the neighborhood with him. I’m amazed at how everything is a novelty to him, and it makes me wonder at all the things I’ve missed because I didn’t see it with the same “newness” as a kid his age does.
I replaced going to the movies with DVDs because it wasn’t a priority. I just brush my hair for work instead of flat-ironing it every day because I just stopped caring whether my coworkers think I’m fashionable or not. I’d rather use that time to take care of myself (e.g. get a few more minutes of sleep!), my family and my home. And there’s always ways around things. For instance, there’s no way my husband and I would not watch Harry Potter in the theater, so for important movies, we leave LO with a babysitter. Night out with friends? I just found out today that I’m going to see Janet Jackson in concert! Okay, so it’s the first time I go out in 21 months, but still, not saying it’s impossible!
I like to think that I’ve replaced one set of fun for another set of fun. It’s a different life, parenting is, but more fulfilling to me.