You are here

The Thing I Miss Most About My Pre-Kids Days Is ________

Erin Zammett Ruddy

I’m curious how you’d fill in the blank. And you’re not allowed to say that you love being a mom so much that you could never possibly think back to life before. I’ll go first...

Nick and I went out to dinner last night and after spending our requisite 10 minutes discussing our two children (the good, the bad, the baffling) and whether we’re going to make that three children (we’re both 100 percent on the fence and neither of us wants to budge), we switched the convo to some of the fun we had in our pre-kid days. Talk about a 180! We have always been secure enough in our love for our children to have some fun talking about life before they came along. We don't sit around whining, wishing, lamenting; we look back lovingly—and sometimes shockingly—on who we used to be. Obviously we all love our kids, obviously our life is better with them, obviously we are all lucky as hell to have children who we adore and who adore us back. But it’s also healthy—I think—to remember that you had a life before them and to, occasionally, revisit some of the stuff you kind of miss.

I’m sure this annoys some, but I still get plenty of sleep and Nick and I do a lot of other things that parents often complain go missing once kids come on the scene. It’s all a little different, obviously, but the basic stuff that you’d think a mom might miss aren’t tops on my list (would I mind sleeping till 9 every weekend? No). What I really miss: Thinking. Clearly. Having the quiet time to follow a real thought all the way through to the end. I used to be a big dreamer, a big brainstormer, someone who loved to plan and fantasize and self analyze and just think about life and the future and what I wanted to do and be, how I could be better, what it was all about. I still occasionally get struck by some biggish thoughts (big to me—I’m no genius), but within seconds someone is tugging on my shirt or needing to be wiped or, most often, whining about utter nonsense and it’s all over. With kids, so many decisions, so many actions, so much of life is done on the spot. There's no time to examine something from every angle (I was a champion overthinker, too, which I suppose wasn't my best trait) because you've got needy little creatures who need now. You have to live in the present, a lot. And if your mind starts to drift, you're constantly snapped back. Also, some of my favorite thinking spots—the shower, the car, the morning before I open my eyes—just don’t exist anymore. At least not uninterrupted.  

What I need to do is carve out this quiet thinking time for myself, something I haven't been very good at. Instead of working out on the treadmill while watching Don't Be Tardy For the Wedding reruns, I should walk outside in silence and think. I should get up before my kids, get into bed early enough to daydream a little before the actual dreaming kicks in. In other words, I know there are ways to get this back and I know someday I will. But for now, it's tops my what I miss most list.

OK, your turn. What do you miss most from your pre-kid days?