I didn’t spend more than two or three hours away from my daughter when she was a baby, and later on, a toddler.
It’s not that I was obsessed with her, because I wasn’t – but I didn’t have the opportunity to do anything on my own because my husband was working all the time and we had pretty much no help from friends and family.
It was a lot of work, but I appreciated the fact that I bonded with her from the get-go and got to nourish that relationship for the years to come. I’m a mom of two, too. I gave birth to my son when my daughter was a little over two.
I thought I didn’t have the time to do anything I wanted to do when I was a mom of one, but when I gave birth to my son, I couldn’t even go to the bathroom on my own. I’m pretty sure I didn’t spend a minute away from the two of them for years and years.
God, I was exhausted. “I can’t wait for them to grow up and leave me alone,” I’d think to myself, overridden by guilt because I was wishing for my children to be away from me.
I felt like a horrible mother, but I couldn’t escape the fact that I was tired of picking up after them, running around the apartment trying to get them dressed, and spending every moment of the waking hour with them.
I felt as though I lost a part of my identity when I became a mother because I didn’t have the time to focus on my wants, needs, and desires.
I was tired of crawling on the floor every night, searching for rogue puzzle pieces, building blocks, and figurines. I was weary of finding glitter within different crevices of my body when I didn’t have the time to shower. I was overwhelmed, overworked, and so over everything.
But here’s the thing, though. I never for a second stopped to appreciate the fact that I was watching them grow up before my eyes. I never stopped to appreciate the fact that I got to witness every little milestone, every change, and every new word.
And one day, before I even figured out what was going on, my kids grew up. I watched them grow up, but I somehow overlooked the moment they stopped following me around, demanding my attention, and seeking my company. I watched them grow up, but I somehow missed the part where I started missing them.
I miss my kids when they’re not with me. I never thought I’d become one of those moms who annoy everyone with a million photos: “Look, here’s my little Benny climbing a tree. He’s so big and strong!” and “Here’s my little princess Bella picking flowers. So precious, huh?”
I finally have the time to get coffee with my friends, make plans that don’t require me to pack Barbies and building blocks, and have entire conversations without getting interrupted. I finally have time for myself, away from Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol. I finally have the time – but I miss my kids.
I miss them when they’re asleep. I know that sounds strange coming from the mouth of a mother who prayed for her children to grow up and go to daycare, to school, or anywhere that’s away from her.
I go to bed every night thinking how lucky I am to have gotten to that point where I don’t have to rock them to sleep, read them bedtime stories, or sing to them. I know I’m lucky, but I don’t feel lucky. I feel like I’ve lost a huge part of myself.
I catch myself sneaking out of my bed, walking on my tippy toes to not wake my husband up, and taking a peek at them sleeping safe and sound. I love watching over them when they’re asleep because I know they’d chase me out of the room if they were awake. I’m unwanted these days because they’re too big to hang out with Mommy.
I miss the feeling of being needed, wanted, and appreciated. I know one of the reasons I was exhausted when they were little was because they were looking for me all the time.
I couldn’t get a moment for myself because I was the one they’d scream for when they were happy, sad, confused, or frustrated. I was the one they’d search for when they wanted help with something. I was the one to answer a million questions they had about the world.
Nowadays, I am the one who annoys them the most. I am the one who gets the side eyes and eye rolls. The one who gets the shorter end of the stick every time I try to talk to them. I’m serious – my children literally shush me away.
I miss kissing them, squishing their chubby cheeks, and giggling with them before bedtime. I have to be honest, being on the receiving end of their affection was the best part about spending so much time with them when they were little.
I adored being smothered with smooches all the time because that was the one thing that kept me going. I was the happiest when I was snuggling with them after a hard day, watching dumb kids’ shows, and giggling for no reason. I miss those moments more than words can say.
I miss being able to kiss them without them going “Ewww, Mom!” and wiping themselves right away. Mommy Leprosy doesn’t sound real, but trust me, the hurt from not being able to smooch your children might be the most real thing I’ve ever experienced as a mother.
God, sometimes I even miss them when they’re right there next to me. I remember the times I wished for them to stop bothering me and I flinch. I can’t believe I didn’t appreciate the moments I spent with them when they were little. I can’t believe I didn’t realize what awaited me.
I miss them more than I’ve missed anyone or anything, but I remind myself to treasure every stage of childhood because I’m probably going to experience the same light-bulb moment every few years.