Appreciating Life Before Kids

I had intentions of getting up to run this morning, but exactly 5 minutes before my alarm clock was to go off (at 5:35am!) something else woke me up. Gavin was banging on his door to get out. I rushed in there before he woke up his sister. He immediately laid down on the floor for a diaper change and then got up to head either downstairs or into bed with Steve and me. Only 1 time has he ever slept with us, but he does frequently hang out in our room on early mornings watching tv while we desperately try to fall back asleep. So at 5:37 am, he was asking to watch Toot-Toot (aka Thomas). I explained that it wasn’t time to get up and tried to get him to fall back asleep. After about 15 minutes of snuggling with him, which consisted of me teetering on the edge of the bed while he moved my arm into different positions and locations, I finally grabbed the remote and turned on the tv. Once he was settled with Toot-Toot, I gave up on sleep and started getting ready for work.

I’m sure many of you have experienced similar morning scenarios. It got me thinking about aspects of life Pre-K(ids) that I never really appreciated. Here are a few of them.

Grant it, we do sleep well. Both kids go to bed around 8pm with no problems, and the baby sleeps all night. In fact, she sleeps better than Gavin, so most nights our sleep is uninterrupted. However, mornings for children are different than mornings for adults. Children wake up and are ready to go. They want to play. They want to interact. They want to eat. And they want to do this much earlier than I want to. As a parent, you have no choice but to get moving whether you’re awake or not. I didn’t appreciate the opportunities to sleep whenever and for how long I wanted Pre-K. I can’t just take a nap now if I’m tired. There isn’t any dozing on the couch in the middle of the day. You’re awake when they’re awake.

Free Time
I remember days where I would get home from work and be bored waiting for Steve to get home. What?!? I’m mortified that I was ever bored Pre-K. If I only knew how scarce and valuable time would be for me to do whatever I wanted once I had kids, I wouldn’t have dreamed of wasting any of it with boredom. Our free time is really when the kids are asleep. Currently, they don’t nap at the same time, so free time is limited to when they are asleep at night. And that free time isn’t always for you to do whatever you want. There are household chores that have to be done, bottles to be washed, sleep to be had, etc. This time is when you exercise, watch tv, read books, surf the internet and whatever hobby you enjoy. Trust me, there isn’t enough free time to include all of these items, so you need to pick and choose wisely.

We are not couch potatoes, but we do watch television. We use TIVO, and really only ever watch recorded shows. Gone are lazy Saturday mornings, where we would lay on the couches with coffee catching up on our weekly tv shows. Even if everything we watched was appropriate for our kids to see, you can’t really watch it. You’re distracted with playing with toys, reading kids books, and crying babies. Tv becomes a free time activity. Steve asked me the other night (after I tried to do some weeding in the dark!) if I wanted to watch a show. When I said yes, his response was something like, “Good we can knock out 1 or 2 shows.” Watching tv that we enjoy is working its way to a chore rather than a relaxing and unwinding activity. As a parent, if you want to do more things than watch tv in your free time, you need to be selective about what you want to watch because you just don’t have the time.

There are so many more items to add to this list like wearing a pair of shorts twice before washing (everything I wear ends up with food or spitup on it), not taking 20 minutes to leave the house to run an errand (you need to pack a diaper bag, change diapers, pack snacks, fill sippy cups, etc), not having to clean poop out of the bathtub (if this has happened to you – you understand)…what have I missed?

Being a parent is far more rewarding then sleep, free time, and tv, but if I knew then what I know now, I would have appreciated those things so much more. *sigh*


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