If you think back to your life before kids, do things seem kind of fuzzy? Like that time period did exist but it takes far too much effort to draw up any sort of lucid recall? It's hard for me to remember what my life was like before I became a mom. If I dig REALLY deep into those dusty brain file cabinets, I can draw up brief little glimpses of that me...like, really, really deep. Like those quick flash montages they do in the movies in fast forward? Those are my memories of me pre-kids. I will admit, sometimes I miss that me, what I can remember of her anyway. Sometimes I envy the simplicity of her life. I certainly wouldn't change anything that I currently have, there is a reason it's so hard for me to remember life before kids, right? Because my kids have changed my life so profoundly that they have blurred those memories for me...right? RIGHT?????? Yep...kids definitely changed my life in SO many ways...
Before Kids: Leisurely strolls through the mall, perusing such stores as Ann Taylor Loft, J Crew, Abercrombie, The Gap. Buying things for ME, taking my time in the fitting rooms. Getting a diet coke at the food court for ME and not even having to consider the possibility of having to share "just a sip"...
After Kids: I avoid malls like the plague for the following reasons: Disney Store, Justice for Girls, the play area (aka: rotovirusville), the food court, and the multitude of 25 cent candy kiosks scattered throughout (not to mention that bitch of a Graco stroller doesn't cooperate in malls....)
BK: Being able to buy myself new clothes from aforementioned stores...need I say more?
AK: Let's just say I haven't purchased myself anything new in quite some time, my kids however are ridiculously well dressed so until I can start squeezing my ass into Gymboree or Oshkosh clothes you'll see me wearing things that were purchased BK (wait...I DID find a shirt for myself on clearance at Target last week for $2.47...SCORE!)
BK: Much like regular shopping...leisurely, took my time, the hubby and I would often go together picking out foods that WE enjoyed.
AK: Make every effort to go alone, rarely happens so I'm the one you see harried as I push my gigantic, ungainly space craft cart through the aisles while trying to placate one child with a sucker or marshmallows, attempting to extract one from under the steering wheel of said space craft, and explaining to another that nothing but fruit snacks, Doritos, and Chips Ahoy do not qualify as appropriate lunch box foods.
BK: I would pour myself a glass of wine while I experimented with new recipes I had found online or from Food Network, interesting, sometimes exotic meals...back in the day when dinner was eaten at an appropriate temperature...sigh...
AK: A typical daytime menu for me consists of the following: a handful of dry cereal while trying to get backpacks together and find lost mittens, the leftover crusts from one child's grilled cheese, washed down with the remains of a juice box (hold the backwash), and at some point I'll find my cup of coffee that WAS hot earlier in the day. Dinner is a whole different beast...one will often find me in my kitchen with a straw stuck directly into the bottle of wine while I amble my way around trying to make dinner with a toddler serpentined around my leg. Gone are the inventive meals, taken over by nothing but the basics, if I get creative the kids can have no idea that I have pureed a vegetable and disguised it as something else; all hell will break loose and no one will eat. There IS a plus side, mealtime as a family is one of my favorite times of the day, we're all together at the table talking about our day, telling jokes...for about 12 seconds until one of the 3 does one of the following: drops a fork or other utensil and looks to me as if to say "are you going to get that for me" requests a refill on their drink, needs something cut up or replenished, or needs me to take a closer look at their food so I can identify whatever it is that they are classifying as "nasty". I no longer remember what it is like to have a hot meal, my taste buds reject all hot foods now.
BK: we would often make plans with friends for dinner or meeting up at a bar for drinks after work, enjoying ourselves as late as we wanted and marveling at not having to get up for anything the next morning so of COURSE I'll have another one!
AK: breaking up fights over which Disney movie we are going to watch, which any one of the kids could recite in their sleep but that is a moot point as apparently we ALWAYS watch HIS movie so this time we get to watch MY movie. Chasing the toddler as she shovels in discarded popcorn kernels and steals her sibling's juice boxes. Carrying limp bodies up to bed, forcing toothbrushes into their mouths and contemplating watching a big people movie but deciding that since we're already upstairs we may as well go to bed too.
BK: I try not to think about what sleep was like BK, I tend to get a little weepy and wistful...if any of you remember life BK, you remember sleep so I'll refrain from rehashing for all of our sakes.
AK: broken snatches of sleep, puncuated by visits from children who inevitably find their way into our bed despite me telling my beloved spouse that it NEEDS to stop. Said children often become what we like to call the "human X" Their little appendages seem to lengthen at night and become violent weapons of mass destruction and harm. My husband has taken many hammer-kicks to his nether regions while I find it shocking that my eyes have not been blackened by elbow drops. If said children DO remain in their beds, we bolt upright wide awake at every little sound, sniffle, and whimper, often unable to return to any normal semblance of a sleep cycle. Whatever sleep we DO get is brought to a screeching halt by the shrill ringing of an alarm clock or on the weekends when we HOPE and pray that maybe, just maybe we can sleep in...a child is up and at 'em before any rational human should be functioning.
My mom often tells me to enjoy this time, as it all goes too fast and I'll be left wondering where the past several years have gone. I cherish my children and the memories they have given us, that should go without saying. But there are days when I'm running on yet another night of broken sleep, I've nuked my coffee one too many times and it has evaporated, all I've eaten so far that day are fruit snacks that I stole from my toddler when she wasn't looking, and one of the few cute items of clothing I own have just fallen victim to my son's attempt at putting toothpaste on by himself...I think of me before kids, smile, let myself drift back for a minute and then return to my life of Nick Jr., lunchboxes, and cold meals with an even bigger smile. Yep, change is good...