I write this post from the plane, on our way back from a much-needed vacay to Vegas for my husband’s 30th birthday. This was a kid-free trip, and while I knew we needed to recharge, I was reminded of the simple things that we used to take for granted – before we were parents.
Sleep. Uninterrupted sleep that begins and ends when you say so. There is a tiredness associated with parenthood that is incomparable to any other cause of fatigue. Yes, you can be tired from a late night of partying, an all-nighter studying or an overnight shift at work. But the parent version of tired is different because it is unending – there is no reprieve in sight. Pre-kids, I never fully appreciated the luxury of sleep. I do now, and so every sans kid vacation for the foreseeable future will allow me some time to sleep more than I can at home.
Free time. Having nothing to do and no one to take care of was awesome. At home, even when there is “free time” it’s not really free. If you manage to steal away an hour while the kids are sleeping, even if you’re doing nothing, the weight of responsibility for all the things that you could or should be doing is always present. The cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, household projects, yard work, work related work, and the list continues. This too I took for granted before babies. I used to think I was so busy! Ha!
Eating. Eating where you are only concerned about feeding yourself. Not fixing plates, cutting up food, teaching manners, cleaning up messes, wiping mouths, refilling drinks, encouraging good eating, and getting to take a bite only in between feeding the little one who will squeal (and by squeal I mean high-pitch scream) when he wants more food (more on this fun behavior trait in a later post). No, before kids I never thought that eating a nice dinner with only adults would be such an indulgence. But it is, and we enjoyed it!
Time with the hubs. Let’s face it, kids are stressful. They can create stress in even the best marriages. Sometimes you need to just be spouses again and not have to play the role of parents. A lot of our conversations were still centered on the kids, but we didn’t have to deal with the in-your-face responsibility of the kids. There were no “not it” conversations around the dirty diapers, no figuring out who will give baths. When we were a family of two, I did not fully appreciate this time. But I welcomed it on this trip. It was just us, being the “us” that we were the five years together before we had kids. It was great.
We always knew we wanted to be parents. We wanted to have kids right away and were pregnant before our one-year anniversary. It turned out for us that the grass was greener – being parents is awesome! We wouldn’t trade our side of the pasture for anything. But it is nice now and again to hop back over the proverbial fence and enjoy some of those green patches too.