If I Only Knew

The other day, DH and I were talking about how lazy we were before we had Evan. I mean, we had so much time we were constantly complaining that we were bored. I wish I could go back, slap the both of us, and tell us to:

– Travel as much as you can
– Go out for long, quiet dinners at expensive restaurants
– Read books and newspapers in bed on Sunday mornings (or anytime, really)
– Have adult-only dinner parties, and linger at the table with lots of wine and good, uninterrupted conversation
– Watch your favorite TV shows at the actual time they air
– Go to sporting events, concerts, movies, and plays
– Play different sports and hit up the gym whenever you can
– Sign up for classes, like cooking, yoga, and photography
– Enjoy eating all meals at a leisurely pace (actually, enjoy doing anything at a leisurely pace)

I do wish that we had taken more advantage of the (now) seemingly infinite free time we had. But, would I trade Evan in to do any or all of the above? Absolutely not. Our lives are busy now – hectic even – but we’re also happier and more fulfilled with the little guy around. And, as Evan gets older, we’ll be able to do those things more and more, and have the best of both worlds.

For the parents out there: what are things you miss about your child-free days?

For the non-parents: what are your favorite things about being child-free?

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Comments on: "If I Only Knew" (13)

  1. From a currently child-free person: my days are so full right now I constantly worry about how I'll manage when I have children. (Answer: my mom is going to have to visit ALOT). We bought an old farmhouse, and every night I have a giant task-list that I dutifully complete before falling into bed. I had a friend say three days ago “Whenever I think I've had a really long day, I just have to ask Natalie what she did and then I get a reality check”. We DO get to travel alot though, and spend an inordinate amount of time on food preparation. Don't get much time for reading books (unless I'm traveling) and we don't turn the TV on at all.

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  2. Well, I became a mom at such a young age that I wasn't really in a position to be able to do a lot in the first place. I do wish I would have gone straight to college after high school and gotten my degree earlier. My son is also old enough now that it makes it easier to do a lot of things with him.

    I guess for me what I miss about my child-free days was the fact that I had a lot less responsibility and that I didn't have to deal with the tween attitude. lol. Being a parent doesn't get easier as they get older, the hard things are just different in different stages.

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  3. Yep, this pretty much sums up why I don't want to have children at all. I work 80+ hours/week, and I absolutely cherish every last minute that I am not stuck in the lab. I'm afraid if I did have a child, I'd wind up resenting the fact that I would have to sacrifice every other thing I enjoy in my life just to fit in work and being a mother.

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  4. My favourite thing about being childfree is being responsible only for myself (hard enough after all) and being able to do all the things you list above. And having the money to do all of that. I make a lot less money than my seniors (obviously), but I always have enough to do the things I want to do, whereas the seniors with kids are always complaining about not having the money…
    But mostly it is the freedom I like.

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  5. My favourite thing about being childfree is the spontaneity. If someone calls us on a Friday to ask if we want to do something fun that weekend, or if we get a call at 4pm offering us hockey tickets for a 7pm game (which actually happened twice this year), we can usually do it without having to think about babysitters or what have you. We have friends with a 2 year old who do their best to stay spontaneous, too, but it'll get harder as she reaches school age and starts joining sports teams and other activities.

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  6. Parenthood is quite a life changing event eh? I often have had the same thoughts as you and regret not having used the time I had more effectively. I do not regret having kids, I look upon this as a lesson on the value of time. I think the best thing to do is to pass along this lesson to your kids; hopefully they don't have to learn the hard way like the rest of us!

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  7. Natalie – you do sound super busy! See, we were just lazy, so being busy is a big shock to us! LOL!

    Good Witch – yeah, every stage has it's positives and negatives, I suppose. Tween attitude I can live without for a long time!

    Sugar Scientist – yes, with an 80+ hour work week it would definitely be tough to fit anything else in!

    Nina – definitely the freedom to get up and go whenever is nice.

    Cath – I think that's the biggest thing: not being able to be super spontaneous. That and having to worry about whether what we want to do is child-friendly. We really wanted to go to the Brier when it was in town a few months back, but thought it wasn't the best place to bring a 4-month old.

    El Mathematico – I feel the same. I in no way regret having Evan. Honestly, I don't even miss those things that I listed, I just wish I did them more when I had the time, you know?

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  8. Nobody can really prepare you for how your life changes after you have kids, so one can only have 20/20 hindsight… It's been so long since I was kidfree, and didn't really have much money before that, so lots of things I would have ideally done I could not afford anyway.

    We don't really use babysitters like, ever, and there is no family around, so I do miss being able to go to grownup places like a bar and just people watch. Or just get out and go for a walk for half an hour on my own, without one kid wanting to go and the other not, and the endless tug of war. I have started grocery shopping at 10 pm when everyone's in bed to be able to do it in peace.

    I love having kids, and I am used to all the constraints, but would be nice to catch a breather every so often. Luckily, hub and I both work at the university so we can sometimes sneak out during the day to catch a movie or have a lunch date.

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  9. GMP – I love that you and your husband have dates during the day. DH and I will probably do that now and then, since we also work at the university.

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  10. Ha ha! Everything on that list is what I miss most! I have *no idea* what I was doing in all the free time I had before kids!

    By the way, have I congratulated you on your new job yet? (I know it's been a while since I've commented here). If not, congrats!!! And Evan is growing up so fast, and looking so cute!

    (And blogger is giving me massive sh– in signing in here, for some reason!)

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  11. I love this post. It is so true. There is nothing that I really miss that much. I like you, used to say how I was always bored and wanted something to do. Now I wish for the moments that are quiet and boring.

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  12. bean-mom – thanks for the congrats! I'm liking it so far!

    cheryl – ha! Grass is always greener, right?

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  13. Laurie K said:

    I love being child-free because I am able to change my life almost instantly.

    I value my independence from a relationship.

    I have the freedom to develop a rewarding career.

    I can move to a new city or country, I can see the world (and have money to do it), I can take advantage of sudden opportunities as they arise.

    Life is so full of twists and turns, and I want to keep it as diverse as possible.

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