We all have bucket lists, right? You know, that laundry list of places you want to visit and accomplishments you want to check off. Me? I have a semi-long list, and it’s no joke. It’s a paper list, a mental list – hell, there’s probably even a file on my computer with a list on it.
You’d think with my determination to state my goals I’d be a little better at achieving them. No … because kids. Yes, kids. Nothing can hamper travel plans, meal plans, renovation plans, learning plans, reading plans, life goal achieving plans, and even quiet time plans quite like a kid or two.
(Don’t get me wrong … I love my kids and am very happy we decided to have kids when we did.)
It’s just that I really wish someone had told me Before Kids (B.K.) that my life After Kids (A.K.) would preclude me doing so many of my hobbies and and activities. Why didn’t B.K. me know that I would never again (well, not for 18+ years) have that stretch of 5pm to 8pm interruption free? Why didn’t B.K. me know that A.K. me would be magnitudes more tired (physically, mentally) after 8pm to do creative things like writing or painting or even to exercise?
I’ll just put this right out there … I wrote a novel before I gave birth to Toddler – except that I didn’t quite finish it. I had it 75% complete, and once Toddler started sleeping through the night I used my free evenings (and newly increased mental faculty) to finish the remaining 25%.
And holy cow, that A.K. 25% was frighteningly more difficult to squeeze out than the B.K. 75%. Why the hell didn’t I finish it B.K.?! I had so many more hours in the day to do so. I could’ve woken up a bit earlier. I could’ve started writing right when I got home from work. And you know what? I could’ve even started pitching it for publication right then, too – in the B.K. era.
But nooooo, I had to make life hard on myself and wait until A.K. to try and achieve this most lofty of my life goals.
To say that I feel like I missed an opportunity would be putting it lightly and a gross understatement.
There are some stereotypical things you “should do” before you have kids (“travel the world” etc. etc.) and some really practical lists (The Sicilian Mama wrote this list of 7 essentials that hit the mark) … but I have just one piece of advice for B.K. prospective parents: identify your dreams and try like heck to achieve them before your baby arrives.
And if you can’t achieve them, settle with your heart that those dreams will have to be put on the shelf for a little while. You may have time to tackle them A.K., but it will take a bit longer. Fair warning!