Updated: Oct 29, 2019
My baby is the best thing that ever happened to me. He expanded my heart and my mind and fills me with intense joy. But I think it's okay to say that some things are more difficult now. That does not make me less joyful that he is around. There's only really a few things I miss, and all of it is temporary. Once my kid is older, most of these things will come back:
1) Lounge Days. God what would I do for a lounge day. Our weekends are now more action-packed than ever. We pretty much go from park to park. We always find new ways to let Matteo run around and get his energy out of his system. When we try to relax at home, it's worse. He is pretty much jumping off the walls. There's nothing worse than trying to relax while your toddler is jumping on your chest yelling SLIDE! MAMA SLIDE!. Before baby, my husband and I would spend the whole weekend watching movies and ordering takeout. No more. By Sunday night, I'm so exhausted from all the park hopping that I can't wait to go to work so I can just sit down for a second.
2) Being alone in the house. I'm never alone in my own house. I would love a whole week alone so I can organize my closets. That's my fantasy these days. I've pretty much accepted a perma-mess at this point. I'm also never able to do my personal errands, like my own laundry, cleaning out my car or going to the dentist. I've rescheduled my dentist appointment at least five times this fall.
3) Seeing my girlfriends. I have a few girlfriends I miss so much. But when we try to meet up, it's never for the long happy hours or late nights dancing that we used to. Now, it's always during a specific window (nap time, or after the baby goes to bed). And SO many times, I've had to flake because my baby got sick or fell off the couch. When I do bring my baby, I can hardly keep my focus on the conversation, and we're constantly on the clock ("He will explode around 7pm so we'll have to leave at 630pm").
4) Working past 5pm. Once the clock hits 5pm, I'm out of the office because I have to pick up my kid from preschool. Most of the time, I am able to adjust my workday so I can leave with a clean desk. But a few times, there was a meeting at 4pm that lasted long, or I was in the middle of something important at 4:45pm. Before I had a baby, I was notoriously a late-night worker. I loved the quietness and the lack of interruptions. It was my golden time. I miss those quiet nights.
5) Sleeping in. My husband and I alternate waking up with the baby and we let the other parent "sleep in." Waking up with the baby is usually at 6am, and "sleeping in" is 7.30am. As a night owl, I'm actually quite proud of how I've been able to roll with it, but it's still very hard. What I also find difficult about these early mornings is that you have to shift your evening routine. We can never stay up too late, because we know we will be sorry the next day. So our relaxing time in the evening has significantly reduced. When we go on a date, we never stay out late.
6) Leaving the house without hauling Mary Poppin's bag. The stuff! Ahhhh how I hate the stuff. When we leave the house, it's always this mental checklist: diapers, water, snacks, extra clothes for everyone, wipes, changing pad, teddy, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses... Before we had a baby, it's just your phone, your wallet and your keys. So many times, I have forgotten something. And forgetting something has the potential of derailing the whole day.
7) Arranging constant child care. With two working parents and our families living in different states and countries, we are constantly shuffling caretakers like my husband's batting pick in his fantasy league. "Okay, X will watch Matteo in the morning, but she has to leave at noon, Y is not available that day, I can check with Z but she's already watched him a lot lately and I don't want to ask too much, can you please move your afternoon meeting to next week?" It takes a lot of mental effort to make sure there are no gaps in the long chain of constant care. The risk of messing this up is high. We've both had to leave important events on numerous occasions because there was a miscommunication.
All of this is so worth it though. And this is just the stage I'm in. I know it will all get better. But at the very least, we can give ourselves a pat on the back because it's not easy, not even a little bit.