Life Before Children

Last week somewhere between finding lost socks and transporting children to endless activities I was struck by a thought (just one, my crowded mind can’t cope with more than that at the moment).

I realised I’ve got no memory of life before children.

Is it some sort of parental dementia designed to help your fragile brain cope with the post-traumatic onslaught of raising children?

I simply cannot remember what I DID with all that time I had on my hands.

When every waking hour wasn’t devoted to the care and needs of others how did I fill those endless hours of “me” space?

In a second between arguing about who was going to feed the dog and creating a meal out of left-overs (I’m turning the spag bol  into chilli con carne just adding a can of beans and a sprinkle of curry powder – see it’s a completely different meal) I wondered what life will look like when it’s just me and Mr Shambles rattling around in this big unfinished house.

What will the conversations be when they no longer revolve around finding money for braces, who’s responsible for the soccer pick-up and why we’ve run out of toilet paper AGAIN?

I have a vision of the children heading out into the big, wide world to lead highly successful lives … leaving behind a shell-of-a-woman, clutching a wine bottle and yelling “oh yes they are great NOW, you have no idea what it took to get them there”.

Life after children, what does that space look like? Perhaps endless, uninterrupted blogging accompanied by chocolate?

Imagine you have one child-free day to yourself, how would you spend the time?

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15 thoughts on “Life Before Children

  1. Unfortunately if I get one child-free day I tend to waste it, not doing very much at all. Which is fine, but I’d rather imagine when they are all finished school and I can: travel, read books, learn the piano, learn lots of other things, exercise when I want… not looking forward to it at all 🙂

  2. Hmm… child free day? Let me imagine that! Take a nap, do some writing, go for a bike ride… drink coffee while reading the newspaper without being interrupted. Sigh, I may need to call in sick for work tomorrow and enjoy.

  3. I remember what I did BK (before kids).

    I cross-stitched, embroidered, tapestried, made my own clothes, and also made some of the 90-ish pairs of earrings I own.

    I watched movies. I didn’t have to pause them to jump up and get food or drinks for short people, or referee arguments between aforementioned short people.

    I read. Lordy, how I read. Anything and everything I could lay my hands on. I went to the library. For long luscious hours, I would browse and read and love every minute of it, without checking my watch to make sure I wouldn’t miss the school pickup time.

    I worked night-shift. Got home at 6am, had a bourbon and coke and felt quite wicked because of the time even though it was a normal after-work drink, sleep ’til lunchtime, and then hit the shops pleased that everyone else was stuck in an office and I was out in the sunshine.

    I walked. For pleasure. Just to gawk at gardens and say hello to Canberrans who don’t quite dig the concept of being chatty to strangers.

    I had long fingernails, which were, gasp, painted all the time!

    My hair was styled every day. Come to think of it, I was styled every day.

    I certainly never drove anywhere in my pyjamas while reciting “have you got your lunch, have you got your hat, have you got your jacket, yes I’ll pick you up this afternoon, we’re all getting haircuts, stop tormenting your brother, did I ask if you have your lunch?”.

    And it’s only about 2737 sleeps until my youngest finishes school and I get my life back. Sigh.

  4. ONE child free day would mean sleeping in til noon than cleaning and rushing to run errands before they return…more than that? I honestly have no idea…

  5. What about children free vacation?
    I chatted with a friend earlier today. She told me she would be taking children free holiday with her husband later this year, while kids are with grandparents. My children are 7 and 5 and I have never had children-free hols yet. Frankly I cannot even imagine them…Aren’t i weird?
    As for a day without kids, yeah , that’s easier to picture for me: simply getting on with coffees, books, papers, blogging, doing business all without the interruption by ‘muuuuuuumy he spat on me and now my skin is burning’ or something to that silly effect.

  6. I am almost paralysed with overwhelm when I have a mere few hours of toddler-free time. So many things to do – how can I possibly choose? How can I maximise those precious 180 minutes on a Wednesday morning? Do I relax? Energise? What do I doooooooooo?

    Thankfully I have a long while to work it all out

    Becks xx

  7. Janine, the humor in your writing reminds me of Erma Bombeck. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erma_Bombeck ) I suspect, if you submitted your motherly adventures to the right sources you would find a sympathetic audience; one that is living the same life your are. You could probably rake in some big bucks with your talent. I understand exactly where you are coming from, although I walked your road sometime ago. Still, I remember the challenges. Now, I find myself helping with my grandchildren. My maternal instincts have become a permanent fixture. And through the headaches, complaints, and near nervous breakdowns, you know your life has a mission; a purpose. One day, you will look around and these days will be past and you’ll wonder where the hell everybody went. Then, you can sit down and relax … until the grandchildren arrive. 😉 Have a great week, dear.

  8. Janine I agree with Orples – life is soooo hectic and as you know I had two children, two dogs two cats, 2 service stations ( for 3 Years) but thank god only ONE husband who wanted THREE HOT MEALS every day- but really we muddle through and now I SO enjoy my grandchildren, going to all their soccer games, concerts award days etc., wouldn’t change a thing.
    Mum

  9. Must agree with those who’ve commented that their children are grown and things don’t really get less hectic. I don’t know if I remember what my life was like “BK” either because I had children when I was 20 and that was sooooooo long ago but I know that having grown children doesn’t make things less hectic. I had 4 children in the years between 20 and 26 and my youngest will be 22 in a less than a month but my house is still just as chaotic or maybe even moreso. As difficult and time consuming as it is/was to care for a bunch of little ones it really isn’t as bad as caring for grown children (who keep moving back home to live) and having to clean up after them because “they are too busy to clean up after themselves (and of course I have nothing else to do)! I am looking forward to grandchildren when I can clean up after a little one and teach once again how to put your things away! LOL

  10. Haha, great post. I don’t have any children yet, and after having read this, I’m not sure if I want any 🙂 You write very well, loved the phrase: “Is it some sort of parental dementia designed to help your fragile brain cope with the post-traumatic onslaught of raising children?”

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