I sat on the toilet, nursing my five month old, while my two year old was trying to help me wipe and the four year old shouted to me from the other room. And I thought to myself, “I kinda miss being able to go to the bathroom alone.” I started to realize that there are a lot of small things I didn’t appreciate before I had kids. Little, everyday things I gave up to be mom (which is the best thing ever, BTW).
I don’t regret it for a second, and I love my kids more than anything! But certain sacrifices do come with parenting. This is a list of the small things I wish I took a moment to be thankful for every time I got to experience them, instead of taking them for granted like I did, until they were gone.
What I wish I appreciated before I had kids:
- Going to the bathroom by myself
- My kids follow me everywhere, including the bathroom. Sometimes I miss when pooping wasn’t a spectator sport.
- Taking a complete shower
- Do you ever find yourself switching what you do first in the shower, because that may be the only thing you get to do that day before you need to jump out and find out what they baby’s eating off the floor? Because I do. In fact, today, I only got to shave my right leg…tomorrow I’ll start with the left.
- Making a snack for myself and actually getting to eat the whole thing
- Exit the days of making the amount of food I’m hungry for. Enter guess-timating how much of my snack my kids are going to devour.
- Eating junk food at 8 in the morning (or any time, for that matter) without hiding.
- Not going to lie, I may have pretended I was washing dishes while hiding my face and shoveling a few (…or more than a few) Hershey Kisses in my mouth.
- Lying in bed all day, watching movies or reading books.
- Before kids, a rainy, bleh-day meant snuggling in bed under a cozy blanket, drinking tea and binge-watching Netflix. No longer.
- Staying up late and being able to sleep in the next day
- Speaking of Netflix, sometimes, after my kids go to bed, I stay up to watch a movie with my husband. When I’m getting in bed at 11:30, I regret my decision as I realize the baby will be up to nurse in half an hour, again at 3:00, and the other kids will be up and ready for breakfast no later than 5:30.
- Making a “quick stop” at the store
- I used to be able to grab ketchup real quick on the way home. But now, if I’m in the car and I realize I need ketchup, stopping at the store would mean waking sleeping babies, unbuckling carseats, putting everyone’s shoes back on, parading into the store and saying “no” to all the candy in the checkout aisle, buckling everyone back in, and realizing I forgot the ketchup. Not doing that! DIY recipes on Pinterest, here I come.
- Working out with real weights, instead of kids climbing on me
- I guess it’s a great muscle builder when I have a kid on my back for planks and a kid on my front when I to crunches.
- Spending an afternoon doing a favorite hobby
- You ever see those living paintings when the lady paints right on people and puts them in front of a background, so they look like a part of the painting? That’s not my hobby. But if you saw my kids after I spend half an hour painting, you’d think it was! They’re covered in paint, and I’ve barely had time to put a few brush strokes on the canvas.
- Having a conversation without spelling
- I had to F-L-U-S-H the F-I-S-H down the T-O-I-L-E-T….
They say hindsight’s 20-20… Or rose-colored. Something. But it’s always easier to know what we should have done (or in this case, appreciated) in the past than to know what we should do now. So I know what I should have appreciated back then, but I also try really hard to focus right now on what I’m going to miss in the future.
Here are a few of the many things I love about having kids right now:
- Waking up to the sweet pitter-patter of running feet
- Those little feet are going to grow big and walk their way to a life without quite so much of me in it.
- A constantly nursing baby
- I try not to dwell on the fact that I’m tied down for hours a day, and realize instead that I’m going to miss that special snuggle time when it’s gone.
- Answering “Why?”
- There are only so many times in a row I can figure out “why” before I answer in exasperation, “I just don’t know!” But my kids won’t always want to chat with me so much. Some day, I’ll have to work really hard to coax a “fine” out when I want to talk to them about their day.
- Putting kids to sleep
- Nevermind the snuggling to sleep, some day they won’t even be texting me any more to say they’re on their way home.
- Carrying and holding my kids
- No matter how convinced I am that my arms are going to fall off, I always try to cherish the weight of my child in my arms. They don’t fit there for very long.
- Listening to and watching the kids play
- I LOVE this. Hearing their sweet little voices solving problems, watching them focus on their Legos so intently.
- Shopping with my kids
- Some day I’ll be able to speed through the grocery store in 20 minutes. But no one’s going to tell me I have my hands full, or smile and compliment by big helpers.
- My kids thinking I’m awesome.
- It’s only for a very short time that my kids think I’m the smartest, prettiest, coolest person in the world.
- Cute little bed-hogs
- Even if I’m squeezed in a six-inch space, with feet in my face, I am the person my kids feel the safest and most loved with. I’m their happy place, but only for a short time.
- Being with my kids all the time
- One day, my toddlers will get bigger and go to school. Then they’ll get even bigger and move away to college. Then they’ll get their own houses, make their own decisions, and could even move across the world. Some day I won’t see them every day, but maybe once a week if I’m lucky, or once a year if I’m not. My kids will have their own families, their own lives that don’t revolve around me, and I’ll miss this more than anything.
Thinking about all these things I’m going to miss is making me cry. Time goes by so fast, and even though those days seem like they’re forever away, they’re going to be here sooner than I think, and definitely sooner than I’d like. I need to appreciate ever single moment before it’s gone.
So now, when I sit on the toilet with spectators, I don’t focus on the privacy I’m missing out on, but on appreciating those precious children that I love more than anything in the world.
They want to follow me, help me, ask me questions, hug me, and feel the love and closeness between us.So I let them follow me; I let them help me. I answer their questions, hug them back, and cherish that closeness and that love.
I may not have appreciated what I had back then, but I can make it up by appreciating what I have now, right now, before I miss it.
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