News flash everyone: I survived my kids being gone for 3 1/2 days, 4 nights. They had an absolute blast, as did everyone who camped with them. Nothing makes you appreciate how awesome your kids are like a) having them vacate your house for almost four days and b) hearing other people tell you how much fun they had hanging out with your kids for four days, along with all the cute things they said and did.
Pictured: the #1 reason why she agreed to go camping.
Being pregnant and sans kids for almost four days let me re-discover what life was like before I had kids. I had a few mind-blowing insights that I’d like to share with you about life pre-babies:
1. Before kids, life was pretty damn boring: When I used to hear my friends or coworkers talk about how their weekend was boring because all they did was watch TV, play video games, and take a goddamn NAP, I admit, I would get jealous. “I want to be bored, too,” I used to think. Guess what? It’s not as awesome as you remember it. Granted, I kept busy with projects that can’t normally get done with little kids floating around the house, but still, you can only do that for so long. Inevitably, you’ll find yourself on the couch watching old Parks and Recreation episodes on Netflix or catching up on all six episodes of Game of Thrones while folding clothes. At first, it’s awesome. It’s everything you imagined it would be. You’re watching grown-up TV shows UNINTERRUPTED. LIVIN’ THE DREAM, BABY!!!! However, after awhile, it gets old. You start wandering around the house, not wanting to do anything you know you should be doing chore-wise, and you’ve already run out of TV shows to watch. Even the dog is pretty much done with all the extra affection you’re heaping on him. I know you don’t believe me, but trust me: before your kids were born, you were bored.
2. It’s more difficult to be pregnant when you don’t have any other kids: I know this one goes against conventional wisdom. Everyone says the first time is easier, because your body is (presumably) younger and not stretched-out, you take better care of yourself, and you can get more rest since the only person you’re responsible for is yourself. The second, third, fourth, etc. time, you’re busy chasing younger kids, which makes you more tired. All those things are true; however, I still beg to differ. Yes, you have less time to yourself when you’re pregnant and caring for another child already. But that’s the beauty of it: you’re so busy taking care of another kid (or two) that you don’t notice how tired and achy you actually are. The way I was walking around the house this weekend, you’d have thought I’d flashed-forward two months. I was moving slower, feeling more tired, and found it harder to climb stairs and get up off the couch. It’s amazing what kind of motivation a sassy four-year-old and needy two-year-old can be for a slow-moving pregnant woman. Amazingly, now that they are home, I’m getting around much easier and faster. Uh, thanks, kids?
3. People stare at pregnant women in public only if they are not accompanied by other children. I noticed this at work, but it didn’t really hit me that it’s a universal thing until I went out shopping by myself this weekend. When I’m with my kids, people do not normally stare at us. The girls are generally well-behaved and not outrageously dressed. Also, I think the more children you have with you, the less people want to engage you in conversation, or even potential conversation. Maybe they’re afraid you’ll slip one of your kids into their cart without them noticing, or ask them to hold one while you run to the bathroom. Who knows. My point is this: going from absolutely zero eye contact from strangers in stores back to everyone in a 50-foot radius staring at your belly in the store is a bit unnerving. Imagine how comfortable I made everyone feel when I was shopping at Old Navy this weekend for clothes! I’ll bet you’ll never guess how many pregnant women were shopping in the store besides me at the time (hint: less than one, but more than negative one).
People stared directly at my stomach throughout every single store I visited. Maybe it’s because they feel more responsible for you when they think it’s your first kid, in case something were to happen to you, like spontaneously giving birth in the middle of Target. If they see a couple kids, they figure, “Oh, okay. She’s got this. Imma just roll on by that baby on the floor. Peace out, lady.”
4. Sleeping without kids when you’re used to sleeping with kids is really hard. After night number three, I got up the next morning and said to my husband, “I could NOT sleep last night. I was awake every couple hours!” He said, “Me too, I don’t know why.” You know what, though? I know why. It’s because sleeping by yourself after two solid years of sleeping in a kid cocoon is a little difficult.
5. Kids actually improve your diet. I’m not a fabulous cook, by any means. However, since I realize my children need to regularly be offered something to eat that didn’t come directly out of a box or a can, I try to cook an actual meal for them at least 3-4 nights a week. Nothing fancy; usually either breakfast for dinner, spaghetti, tacos, or some variation on chicken — chicken and rice, baked chicken with roasted vegetables, etc.
Spaghetti OR tacos, but definitely NOT spaghetti tacos.
GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY FACE WITH THIS GARBAGE, iCARLY.
They hate all of these meal options except for spaghetti and the eggs with breakfast, but still, I try (plus, I literally don’t know how to cook anything else). What this means is not only do they get a decent meal offered to them on a regular basis, but I actually sit down and eat a nutritious meal several times a week as well, and get the added bonus of healthy leftovers to eat for lunch for most of the week. Unfortunately, without children to worry about, nutritious meals went soaring out the window. It was all fast-food, all the time this weekend in Casa de No Kids. Arby’s, White Castle, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, IT’S ALL GOOD.
I’m lovin’ it!
Except for that huge brick left in my stomach after eating your food.
I’m not so much lovin’ that.
I did actually cook a decent meal for myself on the second night the girls were gone, since I got home from work with plenty of time to get something decent together (plus I was a leeeeeeeeetle short on cash). Other than that, my eating habits were pretty abominable.
So, after so much time to ourselves, my husband and I concluded that while it was fun going back in time, all the way back to 2007, when sleep and TV were cheap and easy, and good eating habits were hard to come by, we were definitely glad to get back to our real life, with silly girls, funny imaginary conversations between toys, and huge hugs out of the blue.
I gotta admit: it’s not too shabby.