Wednesday, August 12, 2009

...and then I had kids

I used to think, how hard can having kids really be?
Then I had kids.
And the truth walloped me across the face: hard, incredibly hard, ceaselessly demanding, backbreaking, heart-achingly worrisome. Hard. But good.

I used to quite like coffee.
Then I had kids.
And suddenly coffee was no longer an occasional treat to be slowly sipped and savoured, but an all-out necessity, prepared in large quantities and gulped down in between preventing someone from tripping and banging their head and wiping up yet another spill.

I used to think I didn't identify with people with children.
Then I had kids.
And I found myself crying when someone else's child was seriously ill, and fervently standing up for the parenting choices of someone I'd never met in my life.

I used to think I had very little patience.
Then I had kids.
And I found I could be as patient as I needed to be. If it meant rocking my son to sleep at intervals through the night, I could. Or waiting fifty minutes for him to finish eating a meal that should have taken four, while discussing in toddler speak the particulars of Bob the Builder, I could.

I used to think I could learn anything from a book.
Then I had kids.
And I realized all the books I had read while pregnant meant nothing to me and my baby. For the first time in my life, the only way to learn was simply to do. And there was no trial run.

I used to wonder what it meant to find big happiness in small things.
Then I had kids.
And the mere sight of my son kissing his brother, or resting his head on my shoulder, or calling for me in the middle of the night, sent a bolt of happiness through me so sharp that I knew.

I used to define success by wealth, career and recognition.
Then I had kids.
Now success means raising a family of thoughtful, intelligent, happy, healthy people.

I used to loll around at the weekend.
Then I had kids.
Now I want to yell profanities at back-then-me for not traveling to fancy destinations every weekend, not eating out at more swanky restaurants, not catching an impromptu movie with friends more often, and generally not taking advantage of every inch of available freedom.

I used to think I would crack up at the prospect of having to deal with poo, puke, pee, or any other undesirable substance.
Then I had kids.
And one day I looked up and realized I didn't even notice, let alone care about dealing with those things any more.

I used to think people whose kids yelled at the grocery store were highly annoying.
Then I had kids.
Now, occasionally, I catch someone scowling at me impatiently from behind their cart when my kids are simultaneously melting down at the checkout.
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111 comments:

The Any Key said...

I've only just had my first 4 months ago, and already the difference between worlds is so extreme.

I love this post. <3

Canadian Bald Guy said...

I used to have hair.

And then I had kids.

Of course, the bald part is voluntary but it still makes for a good comment, right?

Loukia said...

Beautiful post, mama! So true, so well said, just beautiful. I wrote a similar post like this a while ago. It is amazing how many things change after you become a mom, huh?

Mammatalk said...

Fabulous post. I am going to re-read it!

And, why didn't we enjoy our free time back then? Foolish, so foolish.

Amber said...

I can totally relate. I remember changing 2 poopy diapers when I was a teenage babysitter, and telling my friends my war stories in dramatic tones. Now I have poop on my walls and I don't even blink.

It's not glamorous, but I do sort of love it. Although I also wished I'd enjoyed my child-free time more while it lasted.

Momma Sunshine said...

It's amazing how having kids can totally change our perspective on the world, huh? I've often said that I've learned at least as much from my kids as they've learned from me...

Theta Mom said...

Love, Love, Love this post! You are so spot on! This is the true essence of being an authentic mom, something I strive to write about in my own blog. Nobody ever "truly" prepared us for these everyday things, nobody. Now, we are writing our own scripts.

Fabulous post! :)

Mwa said...

That was like a prayer.

Amen!

..... Carmen said...

This was a wonderful post Sarah. It brought back many memories for me of the early days, and just a few days ago, days with Grace :) Thank you for that :)

Maria @BOREDmommy said...

Great Post Sarah!!

Maternal Tales said...

Love this post. Love you. You're clever and funny...and a great Mother too! Am with you on all of these x

LZ @ My Messy Paradise said...

All of it - so true!
When I had my first child, I used to get frustrated with people who didn't understand what I was going through, or why things weren't so easy, and then I realized that there is just no way to know until you're there. And then I got my direct IV drip from Starbucks.

Tatiana said...

LOL - you're making me want to have kids! :)

JulieChats said...

Hilarious! I used to have lot's of opinions about kids & their parents, until I had my own!!!

Happy VGNO! Have a great weekend!

Susan Campbell Cross said...

So true, so true. Great post! Motherhood is the toughest job there is. But...it's also the most rewarding!

Happy VGNO!

Susan
www.secretsofasuburbansoccermom.blogspot.com

blueviolet said...

No matter what you've heard and how much you think you're prepared, there's nothing like the real thing. And we wouldn't have it any other way, right?

Happy VGNO!

Martha in PA said...

Happy VGNO. Great post!


My ATWT

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Oh how I love this post! I was smiling and laughing and nodding and agreeing with each. and. every. sentence. :)

Happy VGNO!

Shop with Me Mama said...

Haha! Love it! happy VGNO :)

James (SeattleDad) said...

This was a great post. I could relate with almost all of those points. Especially the one about the coffee.

Gena said...

I love this post.

Happy VGNO

Lisa @ This Mommy Works said...

So incredibly well said. It is absolutely amazing how having a child will change your life in ways you never even fathomed it could.

Happy SITS Day!

Christian Mommy Writer said...

Sounds like we have a lot in common!

I can wholeheartedly agree with you on these. Having a child totally revolutionizes your life! But it's a good thing and i think I am a better person now than I was before I had my son.

Melissa Papaj Photography said...

What a great post - I can totally relate! I often say to my husband...I don't think I was meant to be a mom. I also would have gladly given birth to the instruction manual if God had sent it with them and gladly paid for it even if insurance didn't cover it...the hardest job I have ever and will ever know :)

Melissa Papaj Photography said...

What a great post - I can totally relate! I often say to my husband...I don't think I was meant to be a mom. I also would have gladly given birth to the instruction manual if God had sent it with them and gladly paid for it even if insurance didn't cover it...the hardest job I have ever and will ever know :)

Simple Organized Sanity said...

Happy SITS Day to you.... I loved this post! Every mom out there can relate to these truthful insights. Looking forward to following your blog.

Gamma Sharon said...

You sound like a wonderful Mom!!! Enjoy, they grow up really fast and then you have grandkids Lol... and they are wonderful.
Hope your SITS day is great and that was a great post!!!

Minky said...

WORD!!! To all of it. Gah. This should be crosstiched on a very laarge Sampler or something. If I was the kind of woman who could do that...I might., but I'm not. So I'll just comment again: WORD!

gaelikaa said...

You said it, girl!

Happy SITS day!

debi9kids said...

Pure brillance :)

Glad I popped over from SITS .

Kimmy said...

Ah yes, the joys of parenthood! It is great though but the worrisome part may overtake me. UGH! lol

BTW...CONGRATS on your SITS day!! How exciting. Enjoy!!

Mary said...

Yeah, they change everything don't they?

Happy SITS Day!

When did I become my Mom said...

What a great post - so true!

Sharon said...

Ditto to everything you said!!! :)

Loved this post! Couldn't agree anymore with the coffee! I started drinking it when I started teaching....but then when I had babies my intake tripled! ;)

Happy SITS day!

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Kids change everything, don't they? Love this post that really nails how you changed after having kids.

Congrats on your SITS day!

Tutus and Tantrumns said...

Oh, wonderful post..and Yes, I can relate to ALL of it!
The coffee part cracked me up!

Congrats on your SITS day!

Julie said...

This is my life! My baby just spit up on me and I hardly noticed because I was chugging my coffee! Happy SITS Day!

Queenie Jeannie said...

Ohmygosh, isn't it the truth??? Being a Mother is the hardest, bestest job in the world. Period.

Cyndi @ 6 Ring Circus said...

So, so true! It's amazing how kids change your life in every way possible. This was a great post.

leigh said...

This is an awesome post. You are so right on.

jackie fo said...

I am now a tiny bit scared to have kids. No leisurely coffee breaks??? Yikes. :)

cat said...

Every sentence in this post is so true! I could have written every word.

Sandy said...

So true! Kids definitely add a new perspective to life!

Hear Mum Roar said...

So true, so true!

Jessica said...

What a great post!:)

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

you summed it up quite well! happy SITS day!

Annie @ astonesthrowfrominsanity said...

It's amazing that such a little addition can change us so vastly, isn't it? You did a great job summing it up!! :)

Kim said...

Very well said! They (kids) do have the ability to change you.

Angelia Sims said...

Awesome tribute to before and after kids.

Mine is almost 16, I can actually look at your list longingly and say, "Then they grow up and you get all those things back", but man do you MISS them.

:-) Now I have two little step daughters to help me at least every other weekend that is.

Melissa @ Cellulite Investigation said...

I like the one about enjoying the simple things in life. The others, I am going to selectively forget ;)

What's New with Mrs.T said...

We are trying to conceive...and this post really said it all. Thanks for sharing!!!! Congrats on your SITS day!!!

Marie said...

That was a great post, thanks for sharing. :)

Sharon said...

EXACTLY! Amazing, isn't it?

Randa @ The Bewitchin' Kitchen said...

Amazing. You are so incrediably blessed :)

LisaDay said...

And we wouldn't trade any of those things.

Happy SITS day.

LisaDay

Baby Sweetness said...

haha - see I'm utterly jealous of the me that's lying on the couch, lolling around. I want to BE her for a day!

Caroline said...

This was a wonderful, wonderful post. Loved it.

AmberRay said...

As a mother of 3, I can attest to all of this being very true. Happy SITS Day! I enjoyed reading.

Laura said...

My parents never really tell me about how different life is once I became a mom. But I love it!

Happy SITS Day!

cbsmom said...

How true! I never thought I'd let my kids watch the Wiggles or any other crazy show, but alas, it was like their crack, so I was all for it when I was allowed to pee in peace. Wonderful post.

Jamie said...

Such a great post!! Happy SITS day!!!

Lacie @ Creative Attempts said...

Okay this sould be read by everyone everywhere it is brilliant. Happy sits day!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I have learned many of the same lessons. Stopping by from SITS!

Lisa said...

You brought tears to my eyes! I think I'm emotional today. Happy SITS day!

Jenn said...

This is an amazing post!!! So well-put! Your family must love you... as I can tell you love being a mom and your family. Thanks for telling it like it is, Happy SITS Day!

Date Girl said...

Great post! I think I will take advantage of those free weekends I've got right now, since we're thinking of starting a family in the next few years. I better get on those travel plans too!

Scraps said...

So very well said--even to this non-Mom :)

Anti-Supermom said...

Perfect Post! Exactly what I needed this morning to remind me I *might* not suck.

Mammatalk said...

Perfect choice for a SITS post. I think this is my favorite of yours.

www.thehusaileybunch.com said...

Stopping by from SITS! That's hysterical, and so incredibly true...you know us moms all identify! Thanks for the morning giggle!

Yankee Girl said...

What a great post. I don't have kids so I can't identify, but one day when the kiddos come along, I will definitely be thinking about this post!

gringationcancun said...

Sweet post! I think I'll take your advice about traveling to exotic destinations before having kids of my own.

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Helen McGinn said...

Hon, ditto on everything! I'd add "I used to be so vain, spending ages getting ready every single day"
Then I had kids....
"Now, if it's clean and ironed, I'm waaaay ahead of the game and happy"!.

Great post. xx

Aleta said...

Interesting perspective on this post! I don't have children, so it was eye-opening for me :)

Kelly said...

These are all so very true. I sometimes wish I could go back and do it all over, but lord knows I'm too far in to start from scratch.

Zeemaid said...

great post! Very true. Particularly the wish I had taken more advantage of my freedom before kids one.

Happy SITS day!

sarah Baron said...

Oh yes, this reads like a responsive prayer. And yes, it is oh so true. Just wait till they get older. It keeps getting better. They do change you, don't they?

Sarah Baron

Tonya said...

I love this post! It's funny how much things change after you have kids. :) Happy SITS day!

Carrie said...

Were you reading my mind? LOL, great post and SO TRUE!!

Happy SITS day

Molly Burke, Queen of Confidence said...

Happy SITS Day! As a childless woman, I am always amazed at the wonders you moms are.

Molly Burke CPCC MSU
Queen of Confidence
www.lifepurposeworks.com
"Everyone can use an extra boost of confidence every now and again."

It's "Ask the Oracle" Tuesday on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Molly-Burke-Queen-of-Confidence/343969645120

Shana said...

I love this post. I don't have kids and I worry...particularly about the patience thing. It's nice to know that it comes with time.

Christine said...

Popping in from SITS and so glad that I did. Loved and identfied so much with your post, my particular favourites were the coffee one and the throw stuff at yourself over how little you enjoyed all that free time on weekends before kids. I cannot tell you how much I miss those lazy afternoons with hot coffee and a good book. Only moms can truly understand one another. I'm looking forward to reading more!

CoconutPalmDesigns said...

I'm with you on all those things except the patience. I used to think I had some... not so much anymore but I'm working on it.

Happy SITS Day!

Cheers :-)
- CoconutPalmDesigns

Loni said...

Someone else popping in from SITS but I couldn't resist, this post is so funny and SOOO true! Love it, my favorite read of the day, probably more! Wish I had been clever enough to write it. Your blog in general is great! :)

Judy said...

Fantastic post. You are a wise woman. (Now that you have kids.)

Joann Mannix said...

Oh, what a beautiful post! Spot on about the life before and the life after.

Hi, I'm here from SITS and glad I found you.

You're so right on so many levels. The books, gosh, the books. Before my first child, I read every educational book known to man and then one day, right before I had her, I panicked and said to my husband, "I don't know what do with a baby! I have no earthly idea what to do with a baby!" It is the scariest, just jump in and swim, job there is in the universe.

And the highly annoying thing: I was on a plane recently and a little guy was shrieking at the top of his lungs. His poor momma was all alone and so utterly flustered, apologizing to those around her, trying her best, explaining it away by saying it was his ears. And it totally was. His cry was a cry of pain as he grabbed at his ears. The folks in the section of the plane we were in started mumbling and soon it was this gang mentality with many passengers talking loudly amongst themselves about how annoying this baby was. I wanted to cry for her. As soon as we landed, I stood up and called to her from across the aisle, telling her I was so sorry her baby was in pain, since ALL babies suffer from ear pain while in flight and that I would help her off the plane. When she insisted it wasn't necessary through her tears, because she was going to wait until everyone got off the plane since she had bothered everyone enough as it was, I told her I would wait, too and that some people should be ashamed of themselves for not being able to tolerate a baby in pain. As people shuffled off, many of them apologized to her, realizing that this is life, babies cry and have tantrums. It is the universal truth and if we all just had a little more tolerance...

Anyway, I've hijacked your blog long enough. One more little thing and I'll stop. Those days of fun and spur of the moment? They'll come back. My girls are all teens and it is so freeing to go when I want, travel because I can. My sister hates my life because her kids are still small and I tell her it'll be here sooner than you know, so enjoy their little angel sweetness while you can.

I'll stop now. Loved your post!

gamommy2two said...

You hit the nail right on the head. The things we thought we knew before children were just silly little random thoughts. The reality of life with kids is so very different than I ever expected it to be...and I certainly didn't know I was as strong as I am...Then I had kids.

Linda said...

I used to be able to think of cute and witty things to comment on blogs, then I had kids.

Congrats on being the FB today. Enjoy your moment in the sun!

Natalie at Mommy on Fire said...

So beautifully written and so flat-on. Joann - I am flying in August with all three of my children ages five, three, and 18 months. Can you please come with us?

Mrsbear said...

So true. And it's funny only parents will be able to understand how accurate these are. Telling someone without kids, they won't get it until they live it. ;)

The Black Kitteh said...

I related to way too many of these!

Great post!

Debbie in Nashville said...

I don't have kids but love this post! Now I will think twice next time I hear kids upset in the grocery store!

Ramblin' Red said...

Amen! LOVED this, and have so many more "then I had kids" sentiments of my own...

Kris said...

I feel guilty at all the moms I judged before I had kids. I always said "MY kid will never do that"
Now I'm sorry I ever thought badly of other mothers. I try to explain this to my friends without kids but they won't get it till they have kids

simplysandi said...

Stopping by from SITS. Great post.

simplysandi said...

Stopping by from SITS. Great post.

theUngourmet said...

I love this one! I can completely relate to every one of these!

MsBabyPlan said...

Oh my Gosh, this awesome post. I love it because is eye opening. I still feel ready for the role that I hope will be open to me soon.

Please keep in touch.

Life with Kaishon said...

I think this post is SO dead on! I love it : )

Rhaven said...

Soooo true! (I type as I drink my fourth pot of coffee of the day)

Lourie said...

I used to think people were terrible for not brushing their children's hair. Then I had kids and realized you can brush a kids hair 50 times a day and will still look like they just rolled out of bed in less than 5 minutes.

I used to think parents were terrible when their babies would have no socks or shoes in the middle of winter, Then I had my second baby and she hated anything on her feet. She still does! haha.

I LOVE this post as it speaks volumes of a true parent!

Happy SITS day to you!

Sabreena said...

Happy SITS to you! This post was a very articulate way of explaining some of the MANY changes children bring to our lives.

Kim said...

I use to look at parents with fussy kids in church. Sometimes with annoyance.

then God gave me a screamer.

Happy SITS day!

Sara Plays House said...

Love this! Totally just shared it on the Facebook. :)
Happy SITS Day to you!

Miz Dinah said...

Rock on, lady mama! I hear what you're saying. Visiting from SITS. ♥

Joy said...

Great post and boy, what woman with kids of any age can't relate?! Belated congrats on your SITS day!

Cathy said...

This post is great, so true. Big congrats on your SITS day too.

Alicia said...

Found you on SITS! Greaty post, gave me chills because it is so true!

Tsquared417 said...

Great posts!! All the naps I could have taken!! ;)

Rachel said...

This is great. Kids do change everything.

My husband and I have talked about how when you are a kid your teachers will say, "Just wait until you get to middle school. It will be a lot harder then." But it doesn't change much. Then you hear, "Just wait until high school. School is going to get really hard." But it just slowly gets harder and you don't really notice.

Next you hear, "Just wait until college. Then reality is going to hit." But college doesn't change things much. Next comes the "get ready for the real world" and "get ready for marriage. Your life is going to change so much." But all the changes are small and happen slowly.

Then people say, "Just wait until you have kids. That will change everything." And they were right.

Michelle said...

So true!