This post was originally published on September 17, 2007…although the sentiment still applies today.
Some of the comments to this post got me thinking about what, if anything, I miss from my pre-kid days. The travel? Nah. Living in a little loft downtown? No. Being able to sleep in on weekends?
(I’m lying. I do miss that one.) Certainly not, I relish every waking moment with my precious children, even if it’s first thing in the morning!
Anyway, the events of the past 24 hours have made me realize that there actually is one thing that I really, really, miss about my life before children:
Having this whole parenting thing all figured out.
When I was pregnant with my first child I stopped taking new clients for my business so that I could just focus on enjoying the pregnancy, reading, and learning. I met other likeminded pregnant women through the midwives at the birthing center and through Bradley class, and boy did we have some opinions about parenthood! From childbirth to babies to breastfeeding to discipline, I was a sort of one-stop shop for all answers as to the “right” way to parent.
Now that I was all knowledgeable about kids and stuff, I took a keen interest in other people I knew who were parents. I remember meeting a friend of a friend at a birthday party, who mentioned that she really wanted to breastfeed her baby, but gave up after a couple weeks because of low milk supply issues. The horror! Though I nodded politely, inwardly I sort of imagined a neon sign with an arrow hovering over her head that flashed in bold colors, “NOT DEDICATED TO BREASTFEEDING”. Had she not heard of pumps or lactation consultants or kellymom or La Leche League? Perhaps somebody (ahem) was just not trying hard enough.
And then there was my husband’s coworker’s wife who frequently mentioned that she spent a lot of time cleaning up after her two-year-old, who had a penchant for pulling things out of draws and cabinets. Old Jen Who Had It All Figured Out thought something along the lines of, “Just get control of your kid! Simply teach him that he’s not supposed to do that and offer him alternative ways to amuse himself. It’s all about consistency and discipline, honey.”
And then there was my friend who let her three young children watch TV. Clearly she hadn’t read the research on children’s brain development and television! I couldn’t quite find a polite way to inform her that it is not ideal for young children to watch television, even for just an hour a day, and that she needed to find some nice classic toys for them to play with — perhaps wooden blocks, or a wagon — and use that to entertain them instead of the television. Sheesh!
So as I stood in my living room this morning, warming a bottle of formula because my baby isn’t getting enough to eat despite herculean efforts at breastfeeding, watching my one-year-old pull every single pot and pan out of the kitchen cabinet, listening to random crashing sounds coming from the living room where my toddler was throwing toys at the window while watching Dora the Explorer, I realized exactly what it is I miss about my pre-parenthood days: having all the answers. I’d like to have Old Jen Who Had It All Figured Out back. Because Current Jen Who Evidently Sucks at Parenting has learned many a hard lesson that she really, really does not have this motherhood thing all figured out.
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