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The guilt of longing back to a life before babies

"What would we do tonight if we didn’t have kids?” Something me and my husband ask ourselves every now and then and dream ourselves away to a life where we are not responsible for two very small human beings. But the moment we drift away into daydreaming about binging a show or sleeping in we quickly pull ourselves back to reality, look at our baby and say “but of course we don’t really want that when we have this little miracle!”. But is that actually true? The guilt of wanting our life before kids makes it feel like we’re doing something wrong by even making it a daydream. Is wishing for the feeling of not being responsible for your kids selfish? I mean, it was our choice to bring them into this world… I don’t have the answers, but I do know that I have moments of wishing for my old life back. So let's talk about it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am not a baby person. I thrive with:

- Schedules and plans.

- Freedom and independence.

- Clear communication.

So what is life with a baby? An unpredictable guessing game. The opposite of what I need to be my best self. So is it that strange that I am not thriving as the mother of not only one but two babies under the age of clearly being able to communicate with words? I would say no. I would say it is a challenge. A challenge that I was aware of and willing to take. But a challenge nonetheless. As I am a planner you can bet that when we started thinking about having kids I made a pro and con list, I talked to my husband about it and I drew out what the next 5 years would look like. So did my expectations and reality align?

I was most nervous about how I would be as a mother as I am very independent and to be honest I put myself first in most scenarios. If I want something I go for it, if I don’t want to do something, I say so and I decline. With a child it's not as easy as not doing something because you don’t feel like it. You are always the pillar of support and a caretaker or more accurately: the magician and a mindreader. Because a lot of parenting as we learn is based on educated (or uneducated) guesses and trying something that seemed to be working for that one person in the blog post in that newsletter… So how do you go from independent strong willed woman to loving and caring mother? Well, you kind of just keep being you. Some controversial things I have learned so far (and remember I have only done this motherhood thing for a little over two years):

  1. I have A LOT of days where I long for more freedom to do whatever the heck I want.

  2. I still take on larger projects (which take away time with my children) because they make me feel alive.

  3. My love language is acts of service and I show my children love by providing a safe environment where there is always food, clean clothes and water in their humidifiers at night. But I rarely say “I love you”.

So why am I sharing this list? Because it tells you a lot about my tug-o-war between being a loving mother and an independent woman and why I am struggling with being both.

I really think it is true what I hear over and over again that the expectations of women and mothers in modern days are overwhelming. A lot of us work full time jobs and are still the CEO, COO and HR departments of our own household. Those are some heavy titles that come with responsibilities and expectations. Most expectations set by ourselves to be fair, but still. So I am by nature and nurture very strong minded and independent. I have always been celebrated when I have followed my dreams, set high goals and have been shown love by the freedom, trust and encouragement I have been given by my parents. So to point number 1 and 2 on my list, I was raised with a lot of freedom and space to make my own decisions. Being an only child I didn’t have to take anyone else into consideration. Living like that for most of my life it is not strange that I long for freedom every so often. But my belief is that by allowing myself to continue to long for this freedom (and also act on it by taking time for myself and my projects) I can hopefully set the example for my children and encourage them to also become independent dreamers.

The last point on my list is something I struggle with quite a lot. My husband is the loving and caring parent who used words of affirmation as well as physical touch, such as a hug, to show love. I on the other hand use acts of service as my love language which can be a lot harder for a child (or adults for that matter) to understand. But if I can treat my children with the same respect and admiration as my parents have with me, I am convinced that they will know they are loved and worthy of love. Hopefully they will know that I show my love for them by being there for them and believing in them, always. Because if I start saying “I love you” more than I am, it would not truly be me. And I think that is the point I am trying to make. You are exactly the type of mother you are supposed to be. Because if you are you, you will teach your children that they should also be themselves.

So expectations vs reality. Hit or miss? I think a combination. I am tired all.the.time and I have very little time to take a break and breath and reset. I still don’t like babies but I do love my children. I might not be thriving at the moment, but I am trying to enjoy the little things and remember that the days are long but the years are short when you have kids. I will still long for our life before kids every now and then and that does not mean I love them any less. It just means that I know that I am a person who has needs and dreams outside of motherhood. And that is normal. That is healthy. So off I go now to daydreaming about 3 full episodes of a show in a row, a glass of wine in my hand and 8h of sleep in one stretch ahead of me. First I am just gonna scroll through my phone to look at 1,000 pictures of my kids <3

1 Comment

Caitlin Shepherd
Caitlin Shepherd
Apr 08, 2021

Thank you Sofie for sharing! I love reading your posts on motherhood. It is so refreshing to hear from others mothers and the balance between being a mom and being an independent woman.

12-2017 Sophie at Red Rocks for Printing

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