If you love your kids but still want to spend time away from them then this is the parenting column for you. We get it, they're great and all but they're not the be all and end all of your life. So, we're going in. And we're going to discuss the reality of being a mam who also has her own shit going on.
Sometimes I hear other moms say: “Oh, I don’t remember what it was like before we ever had kids." I’m not that Mam, I do remember and more so, I sometimes daydream about it.
If like me you do too, you’re normal. You don’t love your kids any less, you just remember what it was like before they were the start, middle and end of, well, basically everything.
I thought there was something wrong with me when people said that. I actually had a bit of guilt because I do remember and I’ll be honest, at times I miss it. It’s like when you see your friends posting pictures on a Saturday afternoon having brunch in some lovely place like Beckett and Bull with a glass of something delicious in hand and you have a pang of jealously thinking “look how carefree they look”.
C’mon lets have a wander down memory lane
It was a time before you became the head of operations, entertainment & catering for your household.
You were carefree and you left the house at a whim – A WHIM, oh the thrill. You could leave without having to pack for numerous people and all eventualities.
As a parent with babies and toddlers, even the basic trip bag includes: nappies, bags, wipes, bottle, formula, Ella’s food, spoon, clothing, changes, bibs, teetha, water, snacks and lots of other crap. That’s the technical term for it too, crap. It’s like a baby crap Jenga game, forget one and you’re goosed because it’ll be the very day that you will need it all. I’ve been there, we all have.
I remember a time when I could just jump in the car, just me, my sunglasses and handbag and go literally anywhere.
Oh and a handbag?!? Sometimes I miss my handbag the most, but more so the beauty of ownership of all the things in my handbag. Yes; I could still bring one but I've so much other shit to carry. Basically all theircrap is in my, now slightly wilted, bag.
I remember wandering aimlessly around shops Just causally looking at lovely things and thinking; I’ll pick it up because I’ll get a wear out of it at something. Now shopping is for food and clothes shopping is online. As the meme says, there is no judgement shopping online. I had to assess a darker stain on a bright orange top the other day because, you actually never know. Remember clean clothes that lasted pretty much all day?
Remember popping for a Sunday afternoon sneaky scoop. You’re lazing around and suddenly in a flash you're sitting with your drinks in front of you, delighted..
You need your nights out
A date night or time with friends, but getting out now can become a UN negotiation. It starts by trawling around to find someone to babysit, followed by the stress of having kids in some sort of bedtime order for said sitter. I'll tell the babysitter anything to get them to come and mind my kids and once they’ve agreed, the game is on.
And as a point of note, a toddler can scream: "It's mine." But a full grown woman saying the same thing to a child while in McDonald's does not go down well.
Which brings me on to my next memory.
Having a conversation without being interrupted. There was a time when you didn’t have to worry about anyone, except yourself.
Now, we never switch off, even when we do get a break we still worry, from the very first moment that line or pregnant pops up the worry begins and as my mam of a forty something year old says: “You’ll worry about them till your last breath.”
And here's the irony
When you do get five minutes to yourself if you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself picking up your phone to watch a video of them or staring at a picture thinking Jesus we made them.
I do remember what it was like before I had kids, but they add so much to my life I couldn’t picture my life without them It’s all a bit mad and manic but it’s temporary; and before I know it’ll be writing about missing the madness of it all.
So, remembering the before kids doesn’t make you a bad parent or make you love your kids any less. It just makes you a normal human being who would like to have a wee solo from time to time.
Suzanne Kane is mam to Oisin and Hannah and can normally be found sharing her thoughts on motherhood over on SuzySays.com