I’m blessed to have a wide variety of friends and acquaintances, many of whom are child-free. Often while browsing my social media pages I get a peek into this foreign world that seems so bizarre to me. Having had a child very early in my life, I don’t even remember what sleeping in is! I started to wonder about other things and came up with 5 things I don’t get.
1) Being able to just walk out of the room and take a nap.
You ever wonder what it would be like to walk out of the room and take a nap? Just get up and go take a nap? I have no idea what that is like. I remember this day many years ago when my oldest had spent the night somewhere else for the first time and I was staying at my Mother’s. I was exhausted out of my mind and my Mom looks at me and she said, “Manda, go take a nap.”
I immediately started to say something about how I couldn’t take a nap because of my son when I realized he wasn’t there. My brain stopped, completely froze up and I was stuck in this bewildered state of confusion. I could take a nap? It seemed so impossible, utterly surreal that I could just go and take a nap. 16 years and a 5 year old later and the idea of napping is just as perplexing to me.
2) Being able to sleep in.
I remember the last time I was able to actually sleep in. It was in the winter of 1996. I know this because after I became pregnant that was thrown out of the window. You can’t sleep in when you are pregnant because you have to pee, you can’t sleep in when you have a newborn because they require sustenance and you can’t sleep in with a toddler because they’ll destroy your house. By the time your child is old enough that you could have the opportunity to sleep until noon your body clock is so screwed up that no matter how late you stay up the night before, you will wake up at 6am.
3) Being able to “hang out”.
I often see my friends getting together to go hang out somewhere. One says, “let’s go hang out!” and they all just go. I try to think of how this would work in my life and it becomes a huge production. Of course, it would be impossible for me to just immediately go and hang out anywhere with anyone, but let’s just imagine for a second that I could.
First I would have to convince my son that this was a good idea. Currently anything that does not involve Daddy is not a good idea and requires bribery. Then, I would have to prepare snacks, drinks, distractions and maneuver him between all his “one more minute” requests. I wouldn’t bother trying to get myself together because by the time I have him ready an hour has already passed, 10 text messages have already went through asking if I was coming and by the time I am in the car ready to go everyone has already left.
4) Being able to Veg out.
I remember when I used to be able to just lay around all day on a rainy day and consume whole books or binge on television shows. Now if I want to read a book I have to give up things, like showers or sleep, and binging on a T.V. means watching back-to-back episodes of Sesame Street.
Even though Tot will be going to Kindergarten soon and I’ll have 7 hours of child-free time, it only means I’ll have 7 extra hours for working and cleaning that I never get to do. Which, strangely I’m pretty excited about! So I’ll probably keep to my annoying habit of reading while cooking dinner and whenever anyone walks out of the room.
5) Being able to be selfish.
I don’t remember what it’s like to not have to put someone’s needs and desires before my own. It is second nature to always think of my sons before I do anything, even the simple act of going to the bathroom. The idea of being able to take the last cookie, to go out for the whole day and not make sure everyone has everything they need or make plans without consulting anyone about it seems so bizarre. My most selfish act throughout the day is when my husband is playing with my son and I get up and spot clean or check my phone.
Okay, so maybe I do sneak the last cookie sometimes but I feel guilty about it!
Although I am completely memorized (and rendered oblivious) by the many things my friends can do that don’t have children, I can’t say that I’m envious. Some people get to have their cake and eat it too and others have to share theirs, but I never did like cake without a party.