I guess I've been reflecting a lot lately on before and after mom-dom because I'm nearing that one year mark ever so quickly, and since little man is now starting to talk, walk, and be generally more self-sufficient than I think I'm ready for, I have more time to reflect on just how different reality versus my expectations of parenthood are.
I think I feel the opposite way of what I heard before having a kid. I heard a lot of "you will never sleep/eat/have a romantic date again" and while I get that for some people looking back at their child's first year, that may be what it feels like. But I feel so much more fulfilled, settled, and just right. I'm pretty sure I underestimated my own abilities as a mother before my son was bored. I had a lot of "wow, is this really going to work" moments during pregnancy. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and I basked in the attention, the coddling, the thought of those last few months to be a family of two and a dog, but I also wondered what would happen when my monthly "free" nights to have a bath, order Indian takeout, and watch a chick flick alone in my house disappeared. I feared that I would be resentful to my son for this loss of freedom and personal space.
While on vacation at the beach last summer, I watched other mothers as they chased their kids around, making sure they had sunscreen on and/or didn't poop in the sand. They couldn't kick back and read a book while catching some rays. They had to drag so much more crap down to the beach...umbrellas and cabanas and cooler bags and extra towels and beach toys and a hat and a rash guard and...it was never ending. At night, I took as much time reading in the recliner as possible because I just knew it would be the last vacation where I would be free to do that all I wanted. I thought I would dread this year's vacation because I would finally realize how much my mom's "vacations" had really been harder work than she did at home all these years.
But, as we're getting ready to take one of these beach trips soon, I find that I am in a totally different place than expected. The thought of 9 days with my son, husband, parents, and sister's family sounds amazing. I may be more excited for this vacation than any other. My son is going to hang on the boat with Pops. I will have built in babysitters for the evening that my husband and I choose to go out for a nice dinner and walk on the pier. I get to take my baby to Cape Lookout and show him the fun I enjoyed growing up. We can play in the sand (which I've always secretly loved to do anyway, even after I was kind of too old to do it alone). I don't care that I have to load a pack n play, high chair, and other assorted baby junk into the trunk of our sedan.
And, after he goes to bed exhausted at 8:30 each night, I can spend all the time I want in that same recliner, reading a new book.