They say that comparison is the thief of joy. And I believe that. If you spend all of your time counting other peoples’ blessings and looking up, green-eyed, at their successes, then you end up overlooking your own blessings, and you miss what is right in front of you.
I try really hard to live in the moment–to be happy with what I have now — to not want what others have (except all of those people on Fixer Upper, I am TOTALLY envious of them…CHIP AND JOANNA, PLEASE COME TO WV!!) But there is one person that I just keep comparing myself to, even though I know it won’t do me any good: ME.
When I think about my pre-baby self, I get instantly envious of all things she was able to do…and all of the responsibilities she didn’t have. After some careful consideration, I’ve narrowed down my list to share with you, so here they are (in no particular order):
The 4 Biggest Reasons I’m Envious of My Pre-Baby Self
1. One word- Showers
Before I had kids, I never thought much about showers. Most days, showering was just something I had to do. Every once and a while I would make a shower luxurious by using aromatherapy oils, or I would make it fun and blast music so I could sing and dance while I was in there. My showers could be as long or as short as I wanted them to be. I could shave my legs every time I showered.
Now, showering has to be strategically planned.
Do I take my chances are hope that they all nap at the same time, so I can grab a mid-day shower? If so, can my errands wait until late in the day so that the whole town isn’t subject to my unwashed hair that may or may not have baby spit-up in it? What about just dry-shampooing it, running the errands without showering, and hoping I make it through bedtime without falling asleep. Then I can shower in peace (and let my hair dry overnight…bonus!) As of late, the best option has looked like this: shower in the morning with the door wide open so the baby can be in the jump-jump in the doorway. Give the toddler my tablet so she can do puzzles and give my oldest my phone so he can watch those weird surprise egg videos on YouTube.
Ideal? No. But, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?
2. Alone time with my husband
It’s no secret that once kids come along, it gets harder for parents to have quality alone time with each other. Add in a job that keeps my husband at work approximately 15-17 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, and it gets even harder! With a 4 year old, an almost 3 year old, a 10 month old, someone is always wanting attention, and when Daddy is home, it’s his attention they want.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing my husband play with or read to the kids. I love watching them together. But sometimes I want alone time with him, too….and I’m not just talking about “in the bedroom.”
I think of us, pre-kids, and while he still worked a lot then, his off time was ours. We could go out to a leisurely dinner, maybe grab a drink or two. We could snuggle on the couch and actually be able to stay up long enough to finish a movie. We used to enjoy cooking together while listening to music and just talking about nothing. I miss that. Sure we can get a babysitter for an evening, but it’s not the same. My mind (and his, too, probably) is still on the kids.
Which brings me to my next point…
3. Hakuna Matata Attitude
Come on. You know the song.
“…It means no worries, for the rest of your days. It’s a problem free philosophy. Hakuna Matata!”
Boy would that be nice!
I think about pre-baby me and I wonder sometimes, “What on Earth did you think about all day?” My thoughts now are consumed with the kids. Their health. Appetites. Social skills. Discipline. Bathroom habits. Futures. Literally there is not one minute of my day that my kids are not on my mind in some way.
It is wonderful that I was given these 3 beautiful little humans to care for.
It is also exhausting (and kinda makes me feel like a crazy person.)
Before kids, I only had to answer to myself. I could do what I wanted when I wanted to do it. I didn’t have to think SO DARN MUCH about everything. Once my my kids are grown, I know I will have more freedom to do things, but will they be on my mind any less? I know I will never stop wondering and worrying about them.
But just for a day, I would love to be able to lay outside by a pool (in a tiny bikini that only pre-baby me could pull off!), listen to the breeze, and think of nothing but the warm sun on my face.
4. Wardrobe Malfunctions
Or lack thereof, I should say.
Ever since November 2011, when I got pregnant with my first baby, I have been steadily pregnant, nursing, or both. That is almost 5 YEARS STRAIGHT of sharing my body with little ones, with all of the growing and stretching and shrinking and leaking that comes with it. While I LOVE being pregnant (I know I’m a minority here) and nursing my sweet babies, I would also love to be able to pick out clothes without having to make sure they pass rigorous testing.
You know what I mean, Mamas. One of the first things to be considered: can I easily pull this down to nurse in public? No good boob access?…might as well forget about it, no matter how cute it is! Another big factor is material. Can it be washed at home? If it’s dry clean or spot clean only it will never pass the test. My kids consider me a human napkin/tissue/garbage can so I am always getting some sort of yuck on me. If I have to spend extra time (beyond the already 926501365 hours I spend doing laundry) washing that pretty shirt, realistically, it will never get washed.
Some other important qualities clothes must have are stretchiness (because no matter how sexy those tight pants are, they won’t be hot when I split them down the middle after the bending to pick up kids all day), straps (buh-bye beloved tube tops!), and long enough length to cover my belly/back AFTER it has ridden up from the friction caused by baby wearing.
This is why I have approximately 4 go-to outfits for when I leave my house with the kids.
And despite all of this, the One Reason I’m Not Envious of My Pre-Baby Self
My life is infinitely better than hers.
Where she had calm, I have chaos. Where she wore big earrings and heels, I wear the arms of my sleeping babies around my neck. She got to travel the world and see amazing sights, I just open my eyes in the morning and I have a view that rivals the great masterpieces.
Before I had kids, I was selfish. Sure I thought about other people and I tried to do right by everyone, but I lived for myself and my own desires. I was also totally unaware of who I was. I never knew the depth of my own heart, the song of my soul. I had no idea how strong (in mind and body) I really was, or that I could be both brave and terrified simultaneously.
While I may sometimes crave the solitude and ease of my pre-baby life, I’m glad I can never go back. I’ll choose the mom-life…complete with unwashed hair and stretchy pants… over everything else.
What are some things YOU are envious of from your pre-baby life?? Comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear from you 🙂