This morning I watched my 15 month old daughter cutely toddle her way back to the bedroom to search for her daddy. She was so excited, so adorable, and I was in awe just watching her. I began to wonder, what did I do before I had this lovely little child toddling around in my every day life? Was I bored? I don't think so. Was I complete? I didn't know then that I was not.
I know that BC (before child), I actually got to watch television, at least 4 recorded shows each week. Now, I'm lucky to catch up on Grey's Anatomy once in awhile (but it's Grey's, so I have to!). I also got to eat dinner while it was hot. Or, rather, I got to eat dinner. Now, it's constantly cutting up tiny pieces of food for her or picking up chunks off the floor before the ant motel sets up a home base under the couch. BC, I enjoyed drinking a beer or four whenever I had the time to relax. I enjoyed taking a long hot shower without a baby banging on the glass door while I sang 'Old McDonald' with every single animal included known to man.
BC, I had actual free time, not just 45 minute windows of my life where I could do whatever I 'want' (or rather, what I need to get done while she's sleeping aka: vacuum). Before I was a mom I could go shopping for countless hours without having to worry about crankiness seeping in because of the need for a nap. A quick Starbucks vanilla frappuccino pick-me-up or finding the perfect bargain outfit was all the motivation I needed to keep on shopping. Now, shopping is about absolute targeting and planning- just get what you really need and get out, the clock is ticking...
Before I was a mom, my house was actually clean at times. I could spend 5 hours on a Saturday doing all the dirty work of cleaning toilets, working on laundry, cleaning floors, wiping baseboards, etc. and have a fairly clean house for my house guests that evening and for a couple days after that. My efforts of cleaning had a fulfilling result of actually appearing to have a clean house. Now, I spend half hour segments multiple times a day cleaning up various things around the house and yet my house NEVER feels or looks clean. How can it with baby toys strewn about the entire living room floor (despite picking them up twice a day), or with food bits caked on the kitchen floor? 'Were you busy today?', my husband will ask. Yes, of course I was busy, busy keeping up with the baby, teaching her new things, keeping her happy, and busy cleaning up 10 different tiny pockets of the house that will never be noticed and never result in the house actually looking clean as a whole. (P.S. Whoever invents a self-emptying dishwasher will be PERSON of the century...).
My life before child was great; I had (and still have) a wonderful husband whom I actually got to have life conversations with quite often. I had my best friend in the world to share my life with, the good and the bad, and there is really nothing better than that. Until you have your child. After child, your life changes SO much, as you know. Not completely, but certainly a lot. You wonder if you'll love your husband 'enough' after you have a baby to love in your lives. Babies, after all, take a lot of attention and love. And you're so beautifully surprised that not only do you love your husband as much as BC, you love him even MORE than before because you see how he loves your child, too. Your heart opens up, expands exponentially, and there is enough love to go through the roof at times. Not that it's all love and rainbows in parenthood and marriage, but there are certainly moments of the journey that you explode with love and want to cry because you feel so lucky to have this exact man and this exact child as your very own family. It's nothing short of amazing. It's nothing but a beautiful, perfect and imperfect life blessing in its own way.
What did I do before I was a mom? I had a great life, full of free time and beer time, tv time and 'me' time, but it was not the kind of great life that I now have with my child in it. BC, my life was complete without knowing what I was missing, but so incomplete in the hindsight of knowing what I would have missed without this child here, toddling about and dropping food on my floor, making my life more amazing with every passing wonderful (and frustrating) moment. So what did I really do before I was a Mom? Nothing. Nothing as important as I do now. And I wouldn't change a thing.