Before having kids, I thought luxuries were things like taking an extended vacation in Maui, getting a spa treatment, or dining at a 5-star restaurant. When I was nine months pregnant and eagerly awaiting the birth of my first child, little did I know that my world was about to change in ways that I couldn’t have imagined before. My definition of luxury made a drastic shift as I saw most of my simple pleasures get funneled into the 90-minute time slot after my kids go to bed and before my eyes can no longer stay open.
If you aren’t a parent, then perhaps this list will remind you to relish in life’s simple moments. If you are a parent, then maybe you stand with me in solidarity. Following are the top 10 pure luxuries I gave up when I had my babies.
Makeup every day. Don’t get me wrong; I love looking as beautiful as I can all the time. It’s just that the “as I can” part has changed. Most mornings I’m lucky if I can eat a little breakfast, do some exercise, check my email, and manage to put my hair in a ponytail. The priority now is getting the kids fed, pottied, dressed, and out the door. So the joy of looking as glamorous as I can is reserved now only for special occasions.
A full night’s sleep. You knew I was going to say that, right? I heard about that a lot from parents before I had kids, too. Now I understand that they really, really meant you don’t get a full night’s sleep when the babies are still young and nursing. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure their wakings synchronize with mommy’s deepest sleep period. I’m still waiting for the study that proves that.
A yoga practice at home for longer than 20 minutes. My home yoga practice was one of my most treasured treats for my well-being before I had kids. Now it involves a 3-year-old climbing on my back and a 1-year-old pulling the ponytail I put so much effort into. If I get 10 minutes to do a variety of postures, I’m good. If I get 20 minutes, then I feel like a total rockstar.
Uninterrupted time to myself that isn’t scheduled. Pre-children, having time to myself was just a matter of sitting on the couch with a book in hand and a cup of tea on the windowsill. Now if I want to so much as take a shower, I need to make sure there’s a pair of eyes and ears on the little ones, and sometimes it does requires scheduling it.
Dates with my husband. We used to enjoy being able to go out together whenever we felt like it. Yes, I know we need to get a sitter and have a date anyway. And we have, ahem, a few times. However, it’s a far cry from fun nights out with my husband multiple nights a week.
Dates with myself. If not dating your husband sounds sad, imagine not even being to date yourself. Sure, my husband stays with the kids while I do other things, but long gone are the days when I could check the local bookstore calendar in the morning and see a Wednesday night talk on a whim.
My body all to myself. This is an extraordinary concept that I couldn’t possibly have conceived of as a luxury before I had kids. However, between being pregnant, nursing, soothing tearful faces, being climbed on, sat on, and laid on; most of the time it feels as if my body is cellularly fused with my kids’.
Not worrying about someone else. The day before I went into labor with my oldest I was watching an iconic 90’s film on Netflix without a care in the world. The next day after my daughter was born it felt as if 83% of my brain was delegated to worrying, planning, or just plain thinking about my baby. Never could I have imagined that simply having that unoccupied space in my mind was a luxury.
Sleeping in. Before having kids, I loved getting up at 6 am to get the day started. Now, after having yet another night of interrupted sleep, there would be no greater treat in the world than sleeping in until 7:15 am without being woken by the shrieks and yells of another morning with wee ones.
However, with the loss of these most cherished luxuries, I also scored big time with laughter, smiles, hugs, kisses, and snuggles. Having babies taught me how to soak in the pleasures of my simple and ordinary life as a mom. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.
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