Life Before Kids-Living It Up
Life before kids was quiet and self-serving. The few responsibilities we had (work, rent, bills) seem so frivolous now. I can’t believe we complained about them so much. Things were pretty simple back then. There were no screaming kids, no toys to trip over, and personal bathroom time was just that, personal. Our biggest struggles were figuring out what to do with our evenings or what to eat for dinner. Any leftover money was blown on shiny new things, trying out new restaurants, and exploring the nightlife in our city.
We stayed up late almost every night while still managing to get some reading in before drifting off to a full, rejuvenating 8 hours of sleep (or more). Like most parents, we took these things for granted. Yep, things were pretty carefree and easy-going. While I miss those days… it isn’t the reason why I wish I could go back to life before kids.
The years prior to starting our family were filled with fun, romance, and entertainment. We never so much as even thought about starting a family for almost a decade into our relationship. Because we waited so long, we had an abnormally long honeymoon phase. Most of our time was spent traveling, moving around and just enjoying being a couple with no tie-downs. At the risk of sounding too cheesy, every night was date-night.
We were happy for a long time with it just being the two of us. The biggest step we ever took toward starting a family was adopting our dog, Finnegan. We loved to imagine that we understood what it was like to raise a child, having reared a rambunxious puppy. It was a pretty exciting life. We lived by the notion that nothing ever had to be permanent. When we became bored with where we were living, we just packed up and moved on to the next city, Finnegan in tow.
Now that we’re a family of four, our relationship is different. It’s not like it’s bad or anything, it’s just that our priorities have shifted. The nightly one-on-ones we so cherished 5 years ago, have been replaced with bathtime, teeth brushing, and bedtime routines. While I see my husband daily, I miss him and the connection we had before kids. Having a family definitely turned our lives upsidedown, so I’m thankful for the years we had when it was just he and I. Not a lot of couples get that. Our pre-child days were romantic and passionate, and though I miss it dearly… it’s still not the reason I wish I could go back to life before kids.
Life Before Kids-Having Second Thoughts
We definitely had the “family” conversation a time or two. But they weren’t what you’d expect. They mostly focused on the idea of never having kids, and how inconvenient it was just finding accommodations for our dog when we went out of town. We were far too selfish back then. But as the years passed, we found ourselves longing for more. We couldn’t help but feel like something was missing from our lives. What did we have to show for the life we’d been living? Sure, it was fun, but we had no one to share our memories with, and no home to call our own. My husband never had a big family growing up, and I grew up in a stereotypical large Italian family. We were ready for a change. We both agreed, we wanted family dinners around the kitchen table with our little ones, Saturday morning pancakes in our pajamas, and summer vacations at Disney.
Life Before Kids-The Best Decision We Ever Made
If we had known beforehand how much our lives would change for the better after starting a family, maybe we would have done it sooner. It’s not that we regret waiting, there were definite benefits. We were financially stable, emotionally mature, and both established in our careers. However, it’s hard not to think that by waiting so long, we were ultimately taking away from the time we’d get with our kids in the future.
Having “geriatric” pregnancies with both of my kids was already an eye-opening realization. It put a lot of things like time and getting older in perspective for me. Sure, there’s no way of knowing that things would be the same had we started earlier. Nevertheless, it’s these kinds of reflections keeping me awake at night. Thoughts like, “I’ll be in my 50s by the time my son graduates high school”, and “what if my health declines at an early age?” are often the types of nagging reminders in the back of my head.
Life Before Kids-No Regrets
While there’s no way to turn back the clock, and no point in dwelling on the things we can’t change, getting a move on starting a family is the reason I wish I could go back to life before kids. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t wait until my late thirties to consider having children. Likely, I would do what people in the movies do and get to baby-makin’ on my honeymoon. Knowing how much having kids has changed our lives for the better, I might have considered having one or two more, had I the fertile years to do so. My babies mean the world to me, and having a family is so much more fulfilling than we could have ever imagined. While I don’t regret our responsibility-free years, I do view some of the time as missed opportunity.
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