Liz Parker-Cook is a proud mom of a 9 month old baby boy and a 4 year old chocolate lab. She lives in Toronto with her wonderful husband and the aforementioned dependents. She is currently on maternity leave and writing her thoughts in her blog Newbie Mom Site for you lovely people, as well as contributing to sites such as Mommy Connections East Toronto, Only a Season, Her View from Home and Bluntmoms. In her other life, she is a high school music school teacher, which is much louder than parenting, but has fewer dirty diapers. You can read more from Liz at Newbie Mom, Facebook, or Twitter.
The first few months with a baby are daunting, to say the least. In a very short time, your life changes dramatically. As much as I love my son, there are lots of things I miss about my old life. I think this is normal, and I expected this. What I didn’t expect was that there were also quite a few things about my old life that I was happy to leave behind.
Here is a short list of the things I miss – and don’t miss – about life before baby:
1. I miss going out at the last minute, but not going out at night
I miss those boring weekends, where my husband and I would decide to head out to lunch and a movie. Movie starts in 20 minutes? No problem! Want to stay out for dinner? Why not! We’ve got time. Let’s go shopping too, while we’re at it. Now, any outing involves at least a week of prep time, a baby sitter and almost zero flexibility.
However, I do not miss pretending that I like to go out at night. Maybe it’s turning 30, or maybe I am actually an old lady at heart, but if an event starts after 8pm, it is probably not happening. A night event on a school night? Big fat nope (I am a teacher, after all).
Before the baby, I was supposed to enjoy dressing up and going out at night to dance or drink. While I am a very social person, I just do not love going out at night. I love going to see my friend’s band or enjoying a night in a pub, but man do I hate clubs and drinking. When I was childless I didn’t have an excuse that wouldn’t make me sound lame. Now, I can play the baby card and go straight to bed. Enjoy your shots. I’m dishing out rounds of breastmilk here.
2. I miss eating when I wanted to eat, but I don’t miss late dinner reservations
Since extreme nausea prevented me from eating for most of my pregnancy, I couldn’t wait to finally eat when the baby was born. But here’s the thing; even thought I can eat what I want, I never get to eat when I want. When my son was a newborn he seemed to only want to eat when I was going to eat. He would be completely content in his bouncy chair, but the minute I picked up a fork, he was suddenly ravenous. So I would sit, staring sadly at my rapidly cooling plate, while my husband enjoyed his meal. Now I know how the dog feels.
Oh, and now that my son is eating solid foods, I never get to eat all my food either. Even though I mostly cut up our meals into appropriate sizes for him, he seems to need to taste my food as well. He is basically a tiny Chef Gordon Ramsey, tossing his food over the side of the high chair with disdain, and reaching a chubby fist toward my (identical) meal impatiently. “Right, I’ll have that. Thanks.” If he is close enough to reach my plate, he will just help himself with a gummy smile.
While I miss eating (oh, so much!), I don’t miss pretending it is fine to eat dinner at 8pm. If my husband’s work hours allowed, I would actually eat dinner at 5:30pm every night. Since I am forced to eat lunch at 11am, by 5:30pm I am absolutely starving. Eating at 7:30 is pushing it, and eating at 8pm means that I would have to eat a pre-dinner to avoid passing out before the appetizers. But, since we have had the baby, we now eat earlier and, friends, it is everything I hoped it would be because it is now socially acceptable to go out to eat at 5pm without bringing a senior citizen. There are no crowds, no waiting for tables and we can be in and out in 45 minutes. I am living the dream, folks.
3. I miss my pre-baby boobs, but I don’t miss my pre-baby body
Oh, where to start on this one? Like everyone else, I expected my boobs to get bigger, and, as a smaller-busted lady, this had major appeal. However, as with most things, be careful what you wish for! Oh, I got a major increase in cup size, but I really was not prepared for how much of this increase would be nipple. For those who are curious, it was approximately 70% nipple and 30% rest of the boob. Apparently nature does this to make it easier for newborn babies to find their food source. Nature must think my baby is blind or needs to see his food from very, very far away.
I also miss my old bras. They didn’t need to open from the front. They could be a little lacy or colorful because no one would see them, except maybe a glimpse of cleavage here and there. There was a little mystery, a little sensuality. Now the girls are pretty much on display all day, and the mystery is gone. I miss the mystery.
While I mourn my pre-baby boobs, I don’t especially miss my pre-baby body. In fact, something funny happened when I had my baby. Well, lots of funny things happened actually – childbirth is messed up.
What I mean is that all of those hateful thoughts I had about my extra belly chub and wiggly thighs do not affect me like they used to. It is like someone turned down the volume on my negative body self-talk, and replaced it with a sense of acceptance I have never had about my body. Having the baby gave me permission to accept my flaws. It is a beautiful gift that I never expected from becoming a mom.
It almost makes up for those missed meals…almost.