Everything’s Coming Up Tulips

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This is not a disclaimer. I really enjoy being a mother.

Moreover, I really enjoy being a mother to this particular kid. He makes me decidedly happy, proud, inspired to do my very best every day. No buts about it … however, there is an “and yet.”

I really enjoy being a mother and yet there are moments where I miss my old life. Now, I know some women who think it’s downright cruel to think back to those pre-mama days. Think it’s not right to talk about what was, what used to be.

“There’s no going back to that,” they say.

“Why put yourself through it?” they say, physically waving away the very notion.

And then, “Plus, look at your son and this great life you have now.”

It’s that last line that often finds me biting my tongue. There’s something about the don’t look a gift horse in the mouth-ness of it that scratches at my nerves a little. Fact: I had a life before a had a baby. I had a life before I got married. Also true: Those days were different. Not better. Different. And there are definitely things about those stretches of time that I think back on and smile. They, too, were enjoyable.

  • Going to the cinema on the corner for some midday inspiration on a Tuesday afternoon.
  • Heading back to the fluffy bed with my stack of magazines, the crosswords from earlier in the week and some tea and toast after a morning run or, better, a marathon phone call with someone special.
  • Getting up from that fluffy bed after an out-of-the-blue text or e-mail folds into an impromptu Sunday brunch/lunch somewhere in Brooklyn.
  • Strolling solo on a sunny day without a destination or schedule, stopping only to study the colors of the tulips. Just aimless and content.

Thinking back to those times doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful for all that’s going on today.  Quite the opposite, actually. I think it means I appreciate everything that I have squeezed out of this sweet, plump life. And I’m drinking it in.

Moms, we need to feel fine about looking back. It’s in that review that we can look forward, look around, and look over at our fabulous little family and be thankful for all that has blossomed.

10 Comments
  • 1

    Things I miss: Going to the movies, period. Spontaneously meeting a friend for dinner or drinks. Getting to the gym regularly (and the healthy body that came with that). People watching on the subway. Working (Yeah, yeah. Outside of the home.). Spending all day with the Sunday Times and Jonathan Stewart.

    And I’m with you on the feeling just dandy about looking back. I was a totally different person in my 20s and 30s, but I am also a product of that person. And darn it, that means there some vestige of cool left in me somewhere.

    • 1.1

      Don’t get me going on the nostalgic trip back to the movie-going days. I saw LOTS of movies, and then happily married someone who also likes movies too. Add to all of this, a cool art-house cinema was literally a one-minute walk from our brownstone and you’ve got movie junkies defined. :)

      You said it right: You’re a product of that person of yesterday. And, yes, you’re still cool!

  • 2
    Erica says:

    I often remember good times about my single days. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Those times shaped me into who I am today. They were fun. That said, I do miss my alone time, and the ability to be completely spontaneous…but I wouldn’t trade my family for anything!

    • 2.1

      Thanks for the comment, Erica.
      Yes, I hear you on the alone time. It’s important to find some of that, no matter how many hurdles you have to clear in order to get it. Definitely an interesting trade-off: you turn in your Spontaneous key only to get something wonderful like Family Days. Good things, both of them. Just different.

  • 3

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  • 4
    Eliana says:

    I’m not a mother yet but hope to be one soon. As a newlywed though, having children has been the topic of countless conversations and what you talk about here is the sort of thing I think about as the reality of a family gets closer and closer. I don’t think one “life” will be better than another. It will be just different. In the meantime, I am enjoying life with just me (and the hubs) in it as much as I can.

  • 5
    Gillian says:

    Thanks for this Nicole, you put into words exactly how I feel. Sometimes I do feel a bit guilty about looking back, but I also know that I would never trade what I have now, as you said neither is better, they are just different. I also know that without my fab past I wouldn’t be who I am today.

    • 5.1

      The key is to not feel resentful about things. That’s an ugly road to go down, for sure. And you’re correct, what was helps shape what is. Thanks for the comment, Gillian.

  • 6
    Enjoli says:

    Definitely sleep. I think about that every single morning and every single night. How I wish I’d relished just lying in the bed in complete silence. Now I wince when I hear my daughter’s footsteps hit the hardwood and run toward my bedroom. I hush her so she doesn’t wake her brother, a newborn usually co-sleeping next to me. At night, I reminisce about those times I’d nurse a glass of red next to their father while watching TV and only having to rock/paper/scissors over who would take the dogs out for their last walk. When people say to enjoy sleep before they have kids, they speak the truth.