I Used to...

This post is for all of you Mamas that think back on the good ol’ days when you had freedom.

I used to be able to grab coffee with friends and sit in the corner table at Starbucks for hours.

I can think back to so many times when I would just meet up with a friend for coffee. For me, it was the thing to do. I specifically remember hanging out with two friends, Carson and Melissa in a Panera bread. It was a precious afternoon for me. None of us were Mamas yet. We ate our lunch, drank our coffees and talked so much about Jesus. Y’all I even remember driving there. It was a good day. Those days just don’t happen like this anymore. Well, at least not often and without lots of planning.

I remember when I could wake up late with nowhere to go.

When the weekends hit, I could literally stay in bed all day if I wanted to. We used to have a TV in our room and I remember one particular afternoon, I was in bed until after 1:00. My husband came home from an appointment and found me there, just snuggled in, watching shows…. at 1:00 in the afternoon. Ahhhhhh to think about that now…. sheer bliss.

I haven’t shaved in a while.

Well, I’ve ran a razor over about a quarter of both my legs, but I haven’t actually shaved, shaved. Ya know, the kind of shaving that takes sitting in the tub, taking time… Yeah, no. Haven’t done that… in like months. Sometimes when I’m doing the three second trim up in the shower, I find patches of hair that are disturbingly long. Of course, I shave them off, but heck- there goes all my shave time, so the rest of my legs are left unkept, on the path to becoming jungle status in no time.

I can’t do jumping jacks anymore without peeing my pants.

This may be one of the worst things that happened to my body since birthing two babes. Y’all- this is not a joke- unless my bladder is completely empty- I will leak. Actually, praise God, in the past few months since working out, I’ve had less of a scare at the gym- but it’s still not cool. Oh, and if I laugh or sneeze too hard- you will probably find me crossing my legs.

I used to eat my whole plate of food without little fingers taking from it.

I have this weird thing with my plate. I like sharing…. usually. But when it comes to my food- BACK OFF dude. It may sound silly, but I used to get sooooo frustrated when someone would reach toward my plate of food. My hubs would scoot in for a taste of my delicious meal, and within me roared a territorial monster, feeling like I was defending my nest. Only, it wasn’t anything but macaroni and cheese.

I remember when I could go out with my husband without needing to arrange a babysitter.

We went out a lot. Every weekend we were spending our evenings at the latest trendy restaurants and hip places. I remember when we could just pick up and go. Sometimes, we would take spontaneous weekend trips. Our relationship was full of date nights, vacations, and adventures to new places. All while we were well rested and dressed like normal adults.

I haven’t been to the salon in a while.

I used to take pretty good care of myself. I’d have manicures and pedicures regularly, I’d have fresh hair cuts with blonde highlights every few months. Now? I average a hair cut about every six months if I’m lucky. If it’s in the budget, I’ll get some highlights. My feet? They’re often unsightly. Like, I intentionally put my little piggies (very appropriate name for them) in tennis shoes. So no one has to look upon their terrible condition. My heels are scratchy and ashy. My fingernails? I love having them painted. So, I’ll go to the salon if I can squeeze in the time. I’ll choose gel or powder so that they won’t chip. And then? In two weeks when they’re growing out and I’m looking like I have troll fingers, I peel them off. No, I don’t soak them. I don’t have them professionally removed. I chip and bite away. Like an animal. What’s left are fragile remnants of once healthy nails. I’ll swear to myself I’ll never do that again, as I file the flimsy, bendy edges… and then something will come up. Like a wedding, or a girl’s night out, and I’ll get them painted again. And, as sure as the sun comes up in the morning, whether it be a couple weeks, or a couple months later- I’m back at it. Picking away at my fingers like monkey picking for bugs. This is how I live. Gnarly feet and unusually thin, short nubby fingernails. It’s embarrassing, really… but somehow, I think a lot of you ladies resonate.

I can’t poop alone anymore.

Last night I didn’t go to the bathroom alone until 10pm. That’s right- you read it. 10pm. I thought my son Jordan was finally asleep, so I sneaked out of his room. I sit down to do my business only to hear, “MAMA!?” Seriously!? It’s 10 freaking o’clock. That’s all I can really say about pooping alone. It’s just not right. I used to take bathroom time for granted. I’d sit, read, do a sudoku… TMI? Maybe. But Geesh, it was nice. Now? I literally have to be a poop strategist in order to go. It’s just. not. right.

Way back when, there were days full of sleep, nice hair and nails, spontaneous weekends of fun and uninterrupted meals.

Then the season of wanting to have children began….

I used to wonder if I’d be able to have children and what they’d be like.

I remember the days of praying for the test to be positive.

I stopped drinking, began eating healthy.

I thought every pre-menstrual cramp was a sign of pregnancy. Gas pain or my uterus implanting an egg? Don’t judge me.

I spent at least a hundred dollars on pregnancy tests. So. many. tests.

I wouldn’t believe the negative was right, so I’d revisit the trash can to see if another line appeared. Even though the instructions clearly stated that after five-ten minutes the test was no longer accurate. I stared at the sticks longer than I’d like to admit. I literally held them up to the light, moving around my bathroom like a detective handling a mysterious piece of potential evidence….

And then there were two lines

Y’all- I remember the moment I found out I was pregnant with Jordan as crystal clear as ten minutes ago. I was just home from vacation, and realized I was 4 days late. It had slipped my mind because of all of the traveling. I ran upstairs to pee on yet another stick. Our little apartment bathroom was surprisingly spacious. It is actually weird, thinking about it. Our kitchen was the size of a jail cell, but our bathroom? It was big. The floor was tacky old linoleum. The toilet was near the back of the room, next to an old, claw tub. Across, against the wall, a long vanity with pull our drawers and wicker baskets. Above it, a large mirror. To the right of the tub, against the wall, a really ugly old sink that seemed to be appropriate for a child. It was a weird bathroom. But it was there, in that strangely large, poorly decorated, oddly plumbed bathroom that I saw those TWO pink lines. I describe the moment as water color appearing on paper. You know how when you dip water color onto paper, it takes just a second or two, to show up? Well, there I found myself, watching the second line appear as if I were watching water colors appear. The first line popped right up, and as the liquid moved alone the paper tip, there it began to show up. First, the top of the line, slightly turning red. Slowly bleeding down the rest of the line, until there it was. A bright red second line that screamed, “YES! Positive! BABY!” I was probably as red as the line. A rush of emotions burst through my gut into my chest, and up into my throat, until out of my mouth, I uttered the loudest, most authentic roar of joy and emotion I have ever bellowed. I instantly fell to my knees and began legit UGLY CRYING. It was a combination of sheer joy and laughter, mixed with tears and near breathlessness. I called my husband first. Like, while I was blubbering, I called him. And then my Mama, my sister, my best friend Ashley. And then after I told the few people that I just HAD TO tell, I sat in our guest bedroom, in front of a wall length mirror and just praised God. Y’all, if God replays a highlight reel from our life, I really want to see this moment again. It was precious. It felt sacred. I felt different. I was carrying life. In my womb, I was carrying the very essence of God in me. LIFE was beginning and I was officially a mother. God was knitting together a child for me that he already knew, that I had no idea about. That moment was the beginning of a changed life.

I can’t imagine life without my children anymore. As special as those years of self discovery and freedom were, they pale in comparison to these days I’m living now. I like to think that God, in his grace, stocks up our freedom experiences before we have children. I had enough of it. All those years of living for myself, doing what I wanted, when I wanted to… they are long gone, but they were plentiful. Now? I get the privilege of sharing my life with two small humans that have expanded my heart in ways I never thought possible.
I used to have a quiet house...
I remember the days of a spotless floor....
I could potty alone, and never had to wipe someone else’s tush.
I can’t believe those things don’t bother me anymore.❤️
Motherhood is the most precious LIFE CHANGING thing I’ve ever experienced.
There is so much joy for me as I reflect in how much God has used my children to mold and shape me.
The days I’m currently in will one day be moments I reflect on. It brings me joy, knowing God has brought me to such a place of delight in this fleeting season.

I pray that in the moments that I just want to process a single thought, or eat a banana without having to share it, I’ll remember just how precious and short these years are. I pray that for you, too Mama.

Shelly Jata