Remember those spur of the moment night drives you used to take with your husband/wife or those random lunchdates with your colleagues from work? Do you remember being able to get rest at home or just pigging out the entire day? These small things we never anticipate having to give up. To some extent, we take them for granted. When you have kids, things change. Time changes, people change, relationships change, and priorities change.
Having kids is no easy task, we know this. But do we really know how much we change about ourselves once we do have kids? After the initial chaos surrounding having with us a new life, when I finally got the opportunity to breathe, I truly realised how much had changed for me. I realised how my priorities had almost completely shifted from my pre-child life to my ‘one child too many’ life, now.
Before I had a child, I had so much time to focus on things like my career and my hobbies and my social life. These are things I held very dear to me. I thought they were all important and all consuming.A reunion of friends from school? There is no where else I’d rather be!. Trying to impress the boss by putting that extra effort into your next submission and staying late? Oh what’s the harm? Shopping on the weekend? Yes please, I’m in!
Post-birth, I realise just how much it was that I took for granted. Socializing? What’s that? Must I really excel at my work? I don’t mind being just your average Joe. Shopping? My old clothes aren’t torn just yet! All my priorities shifted from all those trivial things to my child; this little person that had come into my life. If given an opportunity, there’s no way I’d change my priorities now, I like them as they are. I would however, have taken them less for granted in the past. All my time and energy went into my little one. Weekends spent, not at a mall but on the carpet at home with building blocks and stuffed toys spewed all around me. Weeknights were spent singing my baby to sleep in my arms. Meetings with friends turned into play dates with other babies. I put my extra effort into finding new ways to teach my kid how to learn new things rather than putting it into the newest project at work. Work is piling up, friends are being ignored and shopping is at a zero level. Holidays, man, don’t you wish you had cashed in on some vacation days last year? Travelling with a baby is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. This is referring to the 15 minute drive to the departmental store in peak hour traffic. (I couldn’t swear at the crazy drivers with mini me in the car).
Some of the less noticeable things I’ve given up, I see now are things like learning how to make that new fancy dish I saw on that one TV show a month ago, or how clean my house used to be, or how not-often I had to do laundry. With a baby in the house, it’s hard to remember the last time I saw the floor or the last time I got to have a day off from doing the laundry (for something that tiny, they sure do make a huge mess). You don’t really get a chance to experiment too much with new kinds of dishes because you need to cook whatever food you can for the crying baby in the next room. Her new toys litter almost every surface of your house; clean one spot and it’s a mess again by the next hour. Get ready to clean every bed sheet, table cloth, and onsie on an almost daily basis. However, the baby does give you more time together with your hubby/wifey over weekends and candlelight dinners forgone because the babysitter (i.e. mummy ji) cancelled.
On no accounts am I saying I want to change anything. Having a child is the best thing you will ever have. They bring insurmountable joy and love into life and a concrete purpose, an unshakable direction. It’s just important to note that there are a lot of things we take for granted that could do with a little more attention. Just so that we know we made the best of everything in life and have no regrets.