Last night instead of ringing in the New Year with champagne toasts and midnight kisses, my husband and I were firmly planted in bed by 10pm and asleep by 11pm. Now that’s a party!
I should confess that neither of us were ever the party till you drop type. We spent the last few New Years Eves playing board games at home with friends or curling up on the couch at my parent’s house watching other people live it up in Times Square. So in bed by 10pm wasn’t too far fetched a plan, baby or not.
But yesterday as evening set in, I found myself wanting to get out of the apartment. I didn’t like the idea of being tied down by a 5-month old baby who, if we were lucky, would be sound asleep by 8:30pm. It’s the age-old problem of the wanting what you can’t have. In past years I was perfectly content with a quiet night at home, but now that quiet was my only option, I wanted anything but that.
Why is it that the moment I’m forced to do the thing I would willingly choose to do on my own, I become resentful? Or as my husband would say, you have to do what you want to do, whether you like it or not!
When I was pregnant I remember my sister-in-law telling me that kids make a great excuse to get out of undesirable social outings. You’re feeling tired and don’t want to meet up with friends for dinner? Sorry, can’t make it…baby. You cringe at the notion of having to attend your mom’s uncle’s nephew’s something or other? Sorry, can’t make it…baby. You think your ears will implode if you have to listen to Aunt Betty recount her gall bladder surgery one more time. Sorry, got to go…baby.
Now that I have my little built in excuse with me all the time, I find myself wishing I didn’t need an excuse at all.
I think most new parents have these thoughts from time to time. Just do a google search for “missing my life before baby” and you’ll hit upon numerous message boards where new moms and dads lament their lost freedom. It doesn’t make you a bad parent for feeling a bit nostalgic for your pre-baby life; it just makes you human.
The problem that can arise, however, is that we spend so much time longing for our old lives that we are incapable of enjoying the ones we have now. I know I’m guilty of this. Last night instead of having fun blowing raspberries on my son’s tummy and eliciting laughs with silly sounds and faces, I spent much of my time daydreaming about what my baby free night on the town would look like.
And the moment I started longing for the past, the present suddenly became a whole lot bleaker. I want to stop doing this…stealing joy from the now in order to fuel my daydreams of the past. This morning when I woke up I resolved in typical New Years fashion to make an honest attempt to only focus on the present moment. I want to find gratitude for what I have, not what I had. I want to be happy with what I am doing, not what I did.
2013 has the potential to be a great year. I just have to make a conscious effort to stay in it.