There are many times as a parent when you try to see through your exhausted, sleep-deprived haze and remember what life was like before kids entered the picture. I often do this as I try to recall exactly what I filled my Saturday afternoons with. But nothing slaps you in the face with “wow life has really changed” so much as thinking about how you used to spend New Year’s Eve.
Ten years ago I was a plucky gal getting ready to enjoy her first NYE in Chicago. I had paid an ungodly amount for a ticket to a party at a downtown Marriott Hotel where Tara Reid and Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite (oh yes) were going to count down to midnight. Today? We’re taking the kids to a friend’s house for a few hours before rushing home to get them to bed so Joe and I can get down on a Trader Joe’s cheese platter and our DVR. Oh the time’s, they have changed…
Then: Nap at 6pm, start your evening at 9pm, and stumble home at an hour that your kids are waking up today.
Now: 10:30pm is the new midnight. You don’t even know who these people performing on Rockin’ New Year’s Eve are. Wait – Dick Clark is dead? Where have you been? You’ll DVR the ball dropping and watch it at 6am tomorrow. Same thing.
Then: Pretty much anything with the words “all you can drink” summed up your evening as you paid an astronomical amount of money to drink bottom shelf liquor and eat cold spinach dip at the same bar where you throw back $2 beers any other night.
Now: Earlier that day you took the kids to a “countdown to midnight” event that really took place at noon and put noisemakers in the hands of people that have no business handling such things. Once they’re asleep, you ask yourself what show is everyone watching that we haven’t gotten around to. Then “binge watch” two episodes that you fall asleep during and will eventually have to rewatch because seriously, you need to focus when watching WestWorld.
Then: A sequined too-short, too-revealing something from Express. And there’s no way you used a coupon for it.
Now: Sweatpants from Target. And no bra. Not because you’re trying to be sexy, but simply because the girls need to breathe.
Then: Did we mention “all you can drink”? You’re doing the economical thing by ordering drinks two at a time. And that Cook’s champagne toast? It might as well be Dom Perignon by the time it happens.
Now: The quality of booze has gotten better as you start to develop a low grade ulcer thinking about what you used to drink. However, you max out at a glass or two of champagne. Hangovers with kids are not a joke.
Reflections on the Previous Year
Then: Trying to piece together most of what happened in the past year and feeling thankful there is relatively little physical evidence of it. Unless you were friends with me in which case everything was documented with my Canon PowerShot.
Now: Making “Best Nine” collages on Instagram and wistfully remembering all of the times when your kids were perfectly sweet and adorable. Like they are at this very moment. Because they’re finally sleeping.
New Years Day Plans:
Then: Sleep. Sleep. More sleep. Leisurely hungover brunch. Sex in the City marathons. Sleep again.
Now: Eyes fly open as the baby screams to be released from her crib in order to wreak havoc on the house. Throw on a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while making breakfast in the midst of a toddler cyclone. Try to figure out what the heck is going on in WestWorld. Make a crockpot recipe that will feed your family (okay, just you and your husband) for the next 11 days.
New Years Resolutions:
Then: Reflect deeply about all the ways you’re going to better yourself with the oodles of free time you have. Chances are, your resolution included “travel more” and your available disposable income supported the desire to “broaden your horizons”.
Now: You don’t have time for resolutions and there is enough guilt on your plate without falling short of any unrealistic expectations you make for yourself. However, you do fantasize about writing resolutions for your kids (which was originally going to be my New Year’s Eve post and I couldn’t completely scrap so bear with me as I include it awkwardly here)
Olivia, 14 months:
- Be more discerning about what goes into your mouth (okay, does any other parent say things a million times a day that causes them to mutter That’s what she said… anyway): I love that you have this zest for eating. But for the love of the land, if I catch you with dog food in your mouth one more time I’m going to officially lose it. Yes, the dog food is the only organic food item in our house and chicken is the first ingredient, but that doesn’t mean you need to be popping kibble on the regular
- Meet new people: It’s a big world out there. I get that Mommy is the center of it, but I promise there are some pretty awesome people out there if you relax and let go of my leg.
- Sleep the F in: I hate to ruin any fantasies you may have dreamed up in your little brain after reading the New York Times Bestseller Open the Barn Door lift the flaps book, but we do not actually live on a farm. Therefore, we don’t need to be up at 5am to collect eggs, let the cows out to pasture, churn butter, etc. I’m not asking for much. 6:30am would be fine.
AJR, 3 years:
- Learn to thoroughly wipe your own butt: There is nothing quite so humbling as hearing ‘WIIIIPPPPEEEEEEE’ screamed at the top of your 3-year old’s lungs and knowing that you need to head into the bathroom to not only take a flushable wipe to that ass, but also discuss the size, number, texture, and color of the deucer your toddler just dropped.
- Find the joy in eating: Dude, I don’t get it. Your genes are riddled with “give me all the food” chromosomes. I seriously think the moment I fell in love with your father was when he confessed a love for McDonald’s double cheeseburgers. Why is this so hard? Eat. Please. I beg of you. At every. Single. Meal.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: and by that I mean let’s avoid category 6 meltdowns over things like me flushing the toilet instead of you or you eating all of your Cheez-Its and being shocked when they are gone.