Jyothi was eating her lunch and working away at her desk. Suddenly one of her colleagues shouts out from the other side of her cubicle, “Hey, we are having a ladies night out today, you should join us, it’s going to be fun!”
While that invitation excited Jyothi for a minute, her mind raced back to her child, Sia, who she dropped off at daycare before coming to work. “Not today Sarika, I need to pick up Sia from daycare and my husband is working his late shift. You guys should carry on; I’ll join you next time,” she said with a disappointing smile. She knew deep down in her heart that even the next time is not for sure. It would take a while for her to shout out impromptu “YES! Let's go!”
Many of us soak ourselves in the new adventure of being parents and situations that take us on a learning curve. As much as we love being parents, don’t we sometimes wonder how life would have been without kids? Weekend plans, movie nights, date nights, dancing into the wee hours of the morning, unplanned vacations -- they all seem different once we become parents.
Melinda, 32, a mother of two children, says, “The most-used word in our house is MOM, in different tone variations and volumes – MOM, MOOOOMMMYY, MAMA, MA, Maaaaa. Sometimes, I really wish I could have a peaceful evening, with slow-dancing music and wine but I don’t think that is happening anytime soon.”
Here are 10 situations where every parent wishes they could go back in time to relive their lives without children:
1. Morning Routine – Gone are the days when we could get up 15 minutes before work began for a quick shower, to look as fresh as morning dew. Being parents' means waking up two hours before the children wake up, making breakfast, getting them dressed and so on. And this means arriving at work exhausted.
2. Nature’s call – During toddlerhood, when children face separation anxiety, most parents are forced to have company when answering nature's call. It is either in the bathroom holding a toddler or you have a visitor (aka your child) knocking on the bathroom door.
3. You come last – This is something many parents warn new parents about, but it is not understood till you are in the situation. This means having to put your child’s needs above and beyond your own. Every - Single - Day. Ensuring your child is safe, clean, and has eaten with all their needs looked after, is the priority. However, the fact is that by the end of the day, as a parent you will be too tired and overwhelmed to take your turn.
4. Hectic weekends – Weekends are a time to relax, have fun and wind down - or is it? When you are a parent, the weekends are the most dreaded. This means gearing up for all the extra-curricular activities for the children, watching the new animated movie (which wasn’t the first choice for you and your spouse) and before you know it - the weekend is over!
5. “ME” Time – Going for a relaxing massage, a trip to the saloon or even some quiet time alone - have to be timed and scheduled when children nap. And when do children nap? That again, is unpredictable, which means “ME” time for parents, does not happen very easily.
6. Going on an unplanned vacation – Going on a vacation usually means exploring new places, sightseeing and trying out new cuisines. When you are a parent it is impossible to say, “Let’s just go!” You have to plan in advance, make sure the place is kid-friendly and so on. You will have to have backup plans - from eating with a fussy child, children having tantrums because they are bored and going to places, which you would not visit if you were not a parent. Plane ride? That’s another situation we parents dread.
7. Goodbye to sleep – Manya is a parent of two children, who are seven years apart. She doesn’t remember the last time she has had uninterrupted sleep. Being a parent means saying goodbyes to sleep and siestas. Sleep is one of the few things you thought you could do without when you were not parents. But, as parents, you wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
8. Getting out of the house –This is a task not many people talk about. Being a parent means juggling too many things -- so you are getting dressed to go out and your child pulls a tantrum that he doesn’t like the dress he/she is in, while your spouse is waiting for you in the car, wondering why you are late. This is when you ask yourself, “Can we just stay in today?”
9. Impromptu plans – For a quick dinner date or a party with close friends, the answer to the invitation is often uncertain. While you are sure about wanting to have a lovely dinner and dancing into the night, thoughts about who takes care of the children, come to mind. You feel that you may as well trade it for some well-needed sleep time.
10. The guilt trip – This is a trip parents are inevitably on. The worries about responsibility and the feeling of not doing enough as a parent is a never-ending thought-process. Blaming yourself is never the answer, but when you have a tough day, you always wonder if you could have made it better.
Parenting is a beautiful journey each of us simply loves and all journeys will have obstacles. The secret is to enjoy the ride.
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