“Do you miss your old life?”
This is a question I’ve been asked on various occasions since having my son nearly three years ago.
Usually the query comes from a fellow mom early in her own parenting journey.
It’s a question people are afraid to ask–afraid to even think about, really, because the implication seems to be that if someone misses their old life, they must not be enjoying their current one.
Real life is not that black and white though. As mothers, and human beings in general, we are allowed to reflect fondly on the different periods of our lives.
Sometimes that means chatting with your spouse during a quiet night out together, laughing and reminiscing about the fun, carefree days you had pre-parenthood.
Other times it means hearing a song or seeing a television show and being reminded of the seemingly endless potential that seemed to lay before you during college.
However, reflecting on these times doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy your current life as a parent, and it doesn’t make you a bad mom.
There are things I still miss about our old lives.
Among them, the ability to sleep in without a human alarm clock waking me up, the ability to go to spin class without plotting and scheming like I’m planning a hostile takeover, and the chance to complete a task without simultaneously putting on a one-woman Broadway show all stand out.
Still, I couldn’t imagine a life where I didn’t know the warmth and brightness of my son’s smile, or where I couldn’t watch how excited he is to see us first thing each morning.
I wouldn’t know the seemingly limitless potential I have as a mom or the endless reserves of strength that seem to lie within.
I wouldn’t know the hilarity of my son’s goofy laugh when I tell a silly joke.
I wouldn’t have a reason to crouch in tents or to sit on the grass and play with sticks in the backyard.
I wouldn’t have a reason to sing Frances England songs or kick a Ninja Turtles ball. I wouldn’t care about living near a great elementary school or the safest route to the playground.
Yes, life as a non-parent would be much easier. Running errands would be simple. Cooking dinner would be cleaner, quicker, quieter, and less acrobatic.
I wouldn’t have to ask a small human to please get out of the dishwasher while I unload it.
There would be no worry about staying out late or getting up early or negatively influencing an impressionable young mind.
But, the joy and richness our son brings to our lives is real. Having another person–someone who we created–to share in our lives brings us so much happiness.
Having this small person who is both like and unlike my husband and I in so many different ways is the most mind-blowing, life-changing, heart-warming, heart-rending experience ever.
Our son is our greatest accomplishment and the best decision we’ve ever made.
Wondering if you’ve made the right decision to have a child and become a parent is the most normal thing in the world.
Making the transition from regular human being to actual mom or dad is one of the most challenging, life-altering transitions one can make.
And it’s comforting to know you’re not the only one who wonders what life would have been like had you not become a parent, or who reflects on the great wonder that is being one.
This post first appeared on Mom at Law.
Candace Alnaji is a practicing attorney, working parents advocate, freelance writer, and proud mom. Her writing has been featured on Scary Mommy, Reality Moms, Her View From Home, Fairygodboss, Perfection Pending, and other places around the web. She can be found writing about law, motherhood, and more on her blog as The Mom at Law. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.