Becoming a parent means you give up so much of what make you happy. Your whole life changes and priorities shift. You can no longer focus on what you want, it's all about them and their needs. Your life is not even recognizable once a child enters it. Things that you once cared deeply about, can not even be on your radar. Here is a list of things that I have lost by having my son:
#1- Sleep: Everyone talks about loosing sleep when you have a newborn. The problem is, it doesn't stop when they reach a certain age. My son has been consistently sleeping through the night for more than a year now, but that doesn't mean I get to. I've always been a light sleeper, but if he even moves I'm wide awake. Even when they "consistently" sleep through the night, they still wake up on occasion, sometimes several times a night. Worry also keeps me up late at night. Worry about his safety, concerns about whether or not I'm a good enough parent, thoughts about how to make tomorrow better, planning for days to come. I've never had less sleep, than I have since Liam was born.
#2- Time to myself: Before having my little guy, it was just my hubby and I. I used to have lots of time to myself: to read, take a long bath, relax, go shopping, do things I want to do. Now, I can't remember the last time I got to use the bathroom alone, it took me a week to read a 100 page 6th grade book (and I can't remember the last time I read an adult book), I haven't gotten myself ready in the morning alone for two years, going shopping now includes a critic who just wants to run around the store, when Liam goes to sleep I have to get things done, so no relaxing then.
Joe has notices this too. He hasn't been able to play video games pretty much since the day we left for the hospital, watching a movie is no longer enjoyable with a screaming/running kid around, watching the news in the mornings has become a treat, choosing what's on TV at all, now that's a treat! Time to myself is shot!
#3- Adult time: Before having Liam, Joe and I were pretty social, we went out with friends almost every weekend. We had fun at bars, went on fun vacations like Las Vegas and Europe, we could make plans at the drop of a hat. We could sleep in the next morning, so their was no fear of staying up past 10pm. Having a few drinks was more than ok, if we had too many, we could just sleep it off the next day. What truly free time we had could be spent doing whatever we wanted. When shopping, I actually bought things for myself. I didn't immediately head to the children's section of the store. Taking a walk to one of the local pubs, or spending the day working on a project was always a possibility.
I've lost all of these things and possibly many many more aspects of my life before Liam. There are times were I miss my freedom and my old life. Fortunately for me, my husband, and my son, there are far more rewarding things that we have gained by adding him to our family. These are just a few of the things that I have gained by having my son:
#1- A purpose: Before Liam arrived my purpose in life was to make myself happy and to be a teacher. Being a teacher is still part of my overall purpose, but it's no longer my biggest goal in life. Being the best mommy I can be, teaching my son how to be a good person and friend, protecting him from all that I can while helping him see the lesson when I can't. Making sure that he ends up as an independent, caring person is what I strive for. Having Liam has made me a better woman.
#2- Love: I have always loved the people who surround me, in fact I think I jump into loving someone quite quickly. But I truely didn't know what love was until having my son. There should be another word to describe the love that a mother has for her son, because the same using the same word I use to describe my excitement over ice cream just doesn't seem like a good comparison. My son is my world now, and I would never give that up!
#3- Being proud: I feel pride in myself, family, friends, students, home, even my pets, but the pride of a mamma toward her children is not even close! I'm proud of every little thing he does. When he says a new word, I can't stop smiling. When he learned to walk, I couldn't stop telling people about it. The first time he smiled at me, I cried with excitement. The day he was born, helped me to know that he would be strong and brave. Everything he does makes me proud to be his mommy.
Based on my tally, I've lost several of the things that used to be so important to me, but I've gained more than I ever knew existed. It's easy to dwell on the things that I miss about my past life, but it is far more exciting to focus on all the things that I gained when my son entered my life. There is nothing more rewarding than being a parent. Your life changes, your priorities change, your free time is non-existent, but so much more fills those spaces. My life truly didn't begin, until I say the plus sign on the pregnancy test.