Thursday, November 20, 2008

It Won't Be Like This for Long

I remember when Dennis and I could actually stay awake long enough to watch an entire episode of Saturday Night Live.

At the time in our lives when we could actually accomplish such a feat, we also lived in an apartment that was a whopping 365 square feet in size. So, maybe the same thing that allowed us to live in such a confined space for our first years of marriage without killing each other is what gave us the uncanny energy to stay awake at what I now consider to be such an ungodly hour.

When I tell you our life was simple back then, I mean it was real simple. Just the two of us. We went to school, worked part-time jobs that were total cake, and had almost no bills, thanks to our financial aid. It wasn't until I approached the end of my studies in social work when we learned about poverty and all that fun stuff that I truly understood why the financial aid gurus were so good to us. I learned that we were actually living below the poverty line. We honestly had no idea.

We never felt poor (well, aside from the type of "poor" that all college kids feel...the ramen noodle type of poor, if you will). We were so happy, and we had a blast pretty much all the time. We'd pick up and go on a hike or a picnic in the woods on a whim. We'd pack up the chess board and set up a game in a grassy spot on campus (where I would then proceed to angrily knock all the pieces off the board - multiple times - after losing. Repeatedly.). We were really very care free, except during finals week, of course.

Life is different now. Way different. We've had to grow up a bit. Now we have a mortgage, real jobs to go to, lots of bills to pay, and an extra mouth (that likes to babble, blow raspberries a lot, and make fake coughing noises when she wants more attention) to feed.

Kaylee came into our lives at the perfect time. We were thrilled to find out she was on the way, and I was blessed with an uncomplicated pregnancy, as well as a good labor and delivery experience. Being the avid reader and information junkie that I am, I read a butt load of stuff about pregnancy, labor and delivery, but not a whole lot about what to expect after all of that. There just aren't many books out there about it, and frankly, I didn't think I needed to read many of them even if they were out there.

Being a mom was the part I thought I could handle. I was confident that it would just come naturally. I was good with kids, I knew I had the necessary motherly instincts, I've taken care of babies and kids - I was ready. Ready to have the baby, get home, and start living life as our new little family. Dealing with the pain of pushing a kid out was what terrified the daylights out of me that whole 9 months, and not much else. I survived the labor, discovered that chocolate is a girls second best friend because epidurals were actually a girl's true best friend, and thought the toughest part was over. I wasn't all that worried about missing some sleep and dealing with newborn poop.

I could have worried a little bit more, perhaps, but it wouldn't have done any good, because I've had a hard time adjusting, in spite of my assumption that it'd be just hunky dory. (More posts about that will be sure to come)

People always said once you have a child, you'll never get to eat an entire meal before it gets cold again. So, I expected that, but I didn't realize that after a while, that gets really old. We are the kind of people who occasionally partake of delectable breakfast foods for dinner, and I don't care who you are - cold eggs SUCK. I just want to eat my eggs while they're hot! But, the eggs have to wait when you've got a stinky diaper to change or tears that need to be wiped away.

Sometimes I miss not being able to watch a full episode of my favorite TV shows because they interfere with bathtime, bed time, or rice cereal time.

Sometimes I miss being able to take a nice, long shower without mini me right outside the shower door because she'll cry if she can't see me every 13 seconds.

Sometimes (try every night) I miss being able to sleep through the night.

To be honest, I really miss having more time for myself.

A good friend of mine helped me to realize that new moms often actually go through a grieving period of sorts - a grieving of the parts of your identity and your life that aren't really so evident anymore. Your life changes the minute you become a mother, and no matter how hard you try, you can't really prepare yourself. I'm still trying to grasp the fact that it's *okay* that I miss a few things about my pre-baby life. And there are a lot of things that I do miss.

But you know what? Give me the cold eggs. Give me the sweet little girl in her jumperoo whose face lights up brighter than the sun when I open the shower door to remind her I haven't gone anywhere. Give me the 7 p.m. screaming session, signaling to me that the rice cereal and squash are exactly 2 seconds overdue and they need to be delivered NOW. And I mean RIGHT now. Give me the 3 days worth of dirty dishes and the 6 loads of laundry. Give me 15 minutes of The Office instead of 30. And yes, give me the middle of the night wake-up calls from the 6-month-old down the hall who has already proven that she is capable of sleeping in 8-hour increments - she just chooses not to most of the time.

I might complain about how hard things are sometimes, and for good reason, because they are hard. In reality, though, I know that people aren't lying when they tell me I'll miss these things someday.

This - right now - this is what we were going for all along. This is what we always wanted. And I'd eat cold eggs every day if I had to because it won't be like this for long.

(Head on over to Mama's Losin' It to read more Writer's Workshop posts from other bloggers.)



Ashley said...

I feel the same way about motherhood! There's a special balancing/multitasking aspect to motherhood that you can never prepare for. Great read. I go to bed at 10/11! Where are the days of being a night owl?

Jenners said...

Hello--Just visiting from MamaKat's writing workshop. Kind of freaked out when I heard music playing..."What the heck is that," I thought before noticing your little doohickey on the side. Totally cool...I might have to try that on my blog!

Loved your post. Totally related. I'm a little further down on the Mommy Train than you (my son is now 4 years old) but I totally felt the same way. There is a definite grieving process for your old life that no one really tells you about. But it does get better...although you never do quite get your old life back. One thing I always feel is that I have to justify any complaints I have about being a mommy with "But I just love my son to pieces...wouldn't change anything!" But I would if I could. I sometimes experience profound feelings of ambivalence about being a I'd just like to get in my car and drive away and set up a new life by myself where no one bothers me. When I feel like this, I tell my husband and he lets me go to a movie or spend 2 hours in a bookstore -- some kind of reminder about what life "used" to be. And then I come back and shove those feelings back in their place. I've realized it doesn't mean I'm a bad mom, just a human one. Come on ... NO ONE enjoys eating cold eggs for dinner or changing a diaper when they just want to sit down a read a good book.

On a Practical Note: If you don't have one, get a DVR. You can record your shows, watch them when you have time, pause if needed and then resume where you left off, skip commericals. A parent's best friend! I think all new moms and dads should register for one!

April said...

Great post. After 3 kids, I still miss stuff from pre-kid days.

Diane said...

This was SO sweet. I felt the same way. Then she turned 3 1/2 (aka her Anti-Christ period... I'll let you know when she's out of it ;).

Sometimes Sophia said...

Lovely post. What you say is so true. You do miss certain things and you grieve for the easy life you once had. The hardships you have now will be replaced by others, but the joys will be multiplied tenfold.

Found you through Mama Kat. Your site is beautiful. Love the music.

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

Fantastic...I was 27 when I had my son...I should have been ready...but I don't think you can prepare enough for that. And yes...I too would like to have a whole meal to myself, warm and fresh...but I am sure that when they are grown and gone, I will miss it...

Great writting..

Debbie said...

What a wonderful and sweet post. I am new to your blog and you are a great writer.

Jen said...

I remember those days too. Sometimes I wish for them back but not often.

Kelly said...

Oh my Gawd! I feel like you just took the words right out of my brain! I too was more afraid of the birthing process than of what I was creating! Boy, was I wrong! Tay had colic for 3 straight months! That was rough! I am also grieving for my "old" life! I thought I would be over it now that she is almost 2, but no such luck! I'll definitely be back!

Mama Kat said...

girrrrrl, I could have written this MYSELF. SO true for me. Every bit. I'm sure I did the grieving...I still grieve sometimes. They are definitely worth the work, but you're never ready for it!

Gwen said...

Ahh ~ I remember the good old staying up late nights too!! Now I'm lucky if I can stay awake at a movie theatre even with all the noise. Great Post and thanks for paying me a visit. :)

Jenni foo foo said...

That's so sweet Sera!

Jenni foo foo said...

MAKE time for yourself. When Dennis gets home, leave. Even if it's for 20 minutes to walk around Target- at least 2 or 3 times a week. Trust me, you will be so happy to return home! Try it!

kimmers said...

I think the labor is the part that will terrify me, too... I can see how it would be kind of hard to focus on some of the other issues.

PS - 365 sf!!! Our place is 580 and I'm amazed every day that goes by and we don't kill each other.

Genevieve said...

Oh, I'm sorry to intrude, stopped here unexpectedly during a journey through the blog circuit, got stuck on the ACE OF BASE song you had playing. Wow, haven't heard it in awhile. lurrve that song!

btw- I'm still a nite owl. But it's decreased by an hour, gahhh...old age is setting in.

Sam said...

that's lovely - I don't have children myself but can totally appreciate how much your life changes and how much you wouldn't want your old life back!

jubilee said...

Moving post. My chickadees are seven, five and four. I already have forgotten so much and THAT is what terrifies me.

The other day my mom showed me a pic still on her old camera and it was of my seven year old when he was about 18 months old. I teared up wanting those days back again.

When they say the days go by fast, they are mercifully true. And then you get to a point where you'd have them back again in a flash. We must be made with some kind of mechanism that helps us forget the not-so-great parts!

jubilee said...

Oops. I forgot to mention that I found you through SITS!

Sera said...

Oh my goodness, would you check out all the comments! I'm so thrilled! You have all said some wonderful things, and I'm glad you could relate to this. I tried to reply to each of you on your blogs. I'm taking Jen up on her suggestion - and Jenners also talked about a similar thing relating to just getting away by myself. After reading these comments yesterday, I told Dennis that when he gets hoem, I'm leaving the house for a while. And Jen, I do believe Target is in the cards for the evening. Thanks again for all your sweet comments. :)

thrilled by the thought said...

This is a great post. And your title is right: it won't be like this for long. My baby is almost 1, and I honestly don't even remember what it was like to live the life you're living. That's how fast it all goes!