Buh-bye spontaneous sex!
Being a parent comes with a cost.
There’s an actual financial cost, of course. (Kids aren’t cheap.) But sometimes the cost is much more personal.
Maybe your new family commitments mean that you don’t have as much time for the other things in your life anymore. You can’t make band practice or it’s suddenly harder to grab a drink with your friends.
Or maybe parenting takes an actual physical toll on you — your knees hurt, your back aches, you never seem to get enough sleep.
Regardless of what the cost is, it’s very normal for parents to have to abandon things from their previous lives to accommodate the all-encompassing time commitment of being a full-time mom or dad.
And that’s not always an easy process. You find yourself mourning the things you used to be able to do when you were free and unencumbered. “Remember when we used to stay up until dawn? Or go on a vacation at a whim?”
But now you have the kids to consider and their schedules, school, playdates. Their needs trump yours, which can take some getting used to.
Here are 7 things from my previous life that I had to give up when I became a parent — things I remember wistfully in those rare quiet moments when I reminisce about what my life was like before I became a dad.
1. Watching live television
I don’t know how parents functioned before the advent of the DVR. How could you happily sing your child to sleep or bring them their fifth glass of water for the night if you knew that you were missing the season finale of your favorite show? Now TV schedules are just meaningless to me. I plop down after a long day and just say “TV, what do you have for me?”
2. Sleeping naked
I used to LOVE sleeping naked. Loved it. It felt so freeing, the sheets were so smooth and warm on my skin. But, when you’re a parent, kids have an amazing ability to worm their way into your bed in the middle of the night. And the first time that happens and you realize how perilously close your sweet little angel just got to your junk, you’ll never sleep naked again. (Sigh…)
3. Seeing terrible movies in the theater
In retrospect, I can’t believe all of the shitty movies I used to see before I had a kid. I’ll think to myself “Really? I saw Jeepers Creepers 2 AND The Chronicles of Riddick at the movie theater? On opening weekend?! REALLY?”
Because, now, getting to see a movie in such a rare treat that I almost never see guilty pleasures at the theater anymore. If I’m going to arrange a date night and a babysitter, that movie better be a certified fresh, Oscar-contender all the way.
4. The concept of sleeping in
In college, I once slept in so late that my roommate had to wake me up to go to dinner. I look back on that memory now as if it was so decadent that it would make Caligula blush. Children keep their own schedules and, when they’re young enough, they can’t make their own breakfasts, so that means you’ve got things to do Saturday morning, whether you like them or not.
5. My sense of aesthetic.
When you’re a parent, you find yourself filling your house with objects, books, and music that you find completely abhorrent. Big dumb plastic things, ugly books that beep and boop, cloying Kidz Bop covers of popular songs — these are all things that would’ve given your 20-year-old self hives, but, because they make your children happy, you quietly tolerate them (while they offend you to your very core).
6. Spontaneous sex
It’s like living with a permanent third wheel. You can just never find time to get your partner alone and, when you do, you have to make sure that no one is going to actually stumble into the room looking for Daddy while your partner is calling you the exact same name for entirely different reasons.
7. My illusions
I’m not going to be a famous actor. I’m not going to have time to take up guitar. I’m never going to have as much money as I’d like. And I’m going to be afraid all the time because I’ve now brought a kid into this scary, scary world. Those aren’t bad things, but they are things that I can’t kid myself about.
I’m a dad. I have new priorities. There are elements of my old life that I needed to give up in order to make room for my new, terrifying life as a parent. So, yes, sacrifices do need to be made from time to time to accommodate my kid, but you know what?
It’s worth it.