I was obsessed with deciding when I was going to have a baby. I’m a bit of a planner, so I tried to orchestrate my life in such a way that I was totally prepared to take the leap. I felt like I had to have certain things accomplished in my life first because having a baby would hold me back from some of the things I loved and needed to do.
Before I had a baby I had a really active social life – lunch and dinner dates with friends, lots of events on week nights and on the weekends, and in-between I was playing soccer, doing a pole dancing class with Cheeky Girls, doing both a pilates and yoga class, and snowboarding in the winter.
I was a busy girl! I was also working full time, and as a couple my husband and I spent a lot of time travelling.
I was sure having a baby would limit me from doing all of this, so I basically went into overdrive doing as much as I could. I remember saying to my husband that we needed to go on one last trip before the baby because I wasn’t sure if or when we could do it again.
Once I had my son, life stopped for a bit. It was my son, my husband and I in our own little world, trying to navigate our new life. We needed time to get to know each other, get on a schedule, and my husband and I needed time to learn how to keep this little guy happy!
Once I woke up from this mommy haze, I definatly realized that my personal time was limited. I was not only needed, but required for breast feeding, and I had a hard time leaving my son if he was fussy or upset.
I looked at things a lot differently at that point and realized I had to prioritize my time.
Out of everything I was doing, what did I really love to do?
I was keeping soccer, but pilates and yoga had to go. I took up running, which didn’t need to be scheduled, but could be done at a moments notice when my son took a nap, or things were slow at home. Eventually when I went back to work I got a gym membership, and although I rarely go, I only do go on my lunch hour at work so I can keep my nights open.
I sold all of my snowboarding gear since I didn’t really go that often, and instead of taking pole classes at night, I did a mom and baby class on my mat leave.
Travel didn’t stop at all – we just got more creative! This was something that was very important to us and we couldn’t give it up. We took our first trip with our son to the Bahamas when he was 7 months old. I packed like a very paranoid mom and made sure everything he ate on the trip was from home because I was scared he would get sick! He has been on a plane three times now at the age of 2.5, not to mention all of the road trips and weekend getaways he’s been on.
Travelling with a child is absolutely difficult, but it’s possible. We have learned along the way that sometimes he will annoy people on a plane, and that yes he absolutely needs a nap on vacation or he will turn into a raging little human. There was a steep learning curve.
The biggest change to the reduction of my free time was to my social life. I think I’ve been more particular with friendships, and who I choose to spend my time with. It can be really hard to get together with friends like I used to. I have lots of friends who I don’t see nearly enough! It think that’s a big part of getting older as well – with work, children, and just how busy life is in general, I find it’s hard to see my friends as much as I want to.
I also think I choose who I spend my time with more wisely as well. I’ve just stopped bothering with friends who weren’t supportive, who didn’t make an effort to spend time with me the way I did with them, and those who were only bringing something negative to my life.
I think overall having a child and losing much some of my free time was a good thing for me. I wasn’t prioritizing my life. I spent time with people who brought a lot of negativity to my life, and I spent a lot of time doing activities just to keep busy. Spending nights at home used to be something I loathed. I felt like if I wasn’t out doing something every night then I was wasting my time. Now that I am so busy with being a parent, I appreciate taking the time to stop and just be home. My only regret has been that I didn’t take the time to prioritize my life sooner, and focus on the things I really needed and wanted in my life. I’m actually very happy that I have less free time now since I’ve learned how to make the most of the time I have.