There are two questions that enter every parent’s mind at some point along the journey known as parenthood: how is having children going to change my life and remember our lives before we had kids? On expecting parent boards across the internet you always hear new moms-to-be fretting that “I’m scared that after I have a baby, my life won’t be the same” and as mom groups gather at play grounds for play dates, someone will eventually utter the phrase “do you remember your life before children?” Both of these thoughts are a perfectly natural part of the parenting process and every parent has them as they transition from thinking about having kids to actually raising kids and beyond. And the truth is, yes, having children will change your life, but more importantly, it’s not really fair to compare your pre child life with your post child life. It’s not even like comparing apples to oranges; it’s like comparing apples to boats or oranges to bookshelves. They’re just too different to warrant comparison.
Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I LOVE reminiscing about our pre children days. Oh the adventures we had. We’d take impromptu weekend camping trips, sleep in on weekends and spend all day in bed watching marathons of our favorite television shows and we went bowling every Sunday night. We’d spend our Friday nights (and often Monday nights and Tuesday nights) sipping adult beverages and gorging ourselves on bar food as we played darts at our local watering hole. We even owned our own set of darts! Professionally, we both worked long hours, brought projects home with us and attending every after hours function to mingle with the rest of up and coming young professionals. And we traveled. Oh we traveled. Over a six month period we took three international trips and visited five different countries, not to mention all the domestic road trips we took on a whim. As a double income, no kids household, we had disposable income for the fun things – and man did we have fun!
To compare that life to my post children life is entirely unfair and not realistic. When you line them up side by side, how can diaper duty, spilled juice and unyielding colic possibly stand a chance when positioned against jet setting, indulgent, absolute freedom? But here’s the odd part: my husband and I both agree that while we LOVED our fabulous, pre child life and we had a ridiculous amount of fun, our life with kids is way better. No, we’re not those spontaneous, crazy kids any more who went out socializing every night – we’re something bigger, something better, something different. I think the main challenge when thinking about how your life will change once you have kids or when looking at how your life has changed since they’ve arrived is accepting that the two lives are just different. Different. Comparing the two as if they were somehow equal subjects is at best laughable, and at worst depressing.
I’ve seen many Moms in tears over the loss of their pre child life – and that’s ok. It’s a lot of change and no one tells you how to adequately prepare for it. But personally, I found comfort when I stopped comparing the two and started accepting them as unique, different phases of life that should be remembered for what they were at the time, not how they compare to where I am now.
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