I love my children, but every now and then I wish I still had my freedom. Now that I’m a mother, and especially since I quit working to stay home, I feel like I’ve lost all sense of self. I spend my days scheming ways to beat my five-year-old at Monopoly instead of doing my pre-mom tasks like managing pension allocations consisting of real money (although lately it seems like pensions are funded with Monopoly money).
Since it’s too late to send my children crawling back where they came from, I plan for retirement and the exciting things that I will do once I have an empty nest. Granted, my children are 5 and 1, so an empty nest is a far cry from reality. It never hurts to dream, though. In between wiping noses and playing “Go Fish,” I’ve created a retirement bucket list.
- Travel. On my last vacation, both kids were sick with ear infections and upper respiratory infections. The day after the plane landed in sunny Orlando, we ended up taking my youngest to the emergency room. We never even made it to Disney World, not that Disney was my dream vacation, anyway. When I retire, I plan to take a month long Mediterranean cruise, stopping to sample wine on the coast of France and ride a moped around the Greek ruins (hopefully the EU and Greece are able to resolve their finances by then).
- Volunteer at my local library. I love the quiet of the library (when it’s not Toddler Time), and there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book, looking over the river that runs through my town. The librarians always seem so happy and peaceful. I would love to capture just an ounce of that peace now, as my five-year-old runs screaming like a banshee into the story-time room at the library with my one-year-old toddling close behind.
- Have a glass of wine (guilt free) during cocktail hour or with dinner. My grandparents have a nightly cocktail hour just before dinner, which was delightful in my pre-mom life, but I doubt I’ll get to experience it again until retirement. I’m still breastfeeding my youngest child, so my nightly glass of wine doesn’t come until she’s already in bed and won’t nurse again until morning. Also, my five-year-old thinks the word “alcohol” is hilarious, yelling it at the most inopportune times (I’m just waiting for him to yell it in the communion line at church), so I try to limit his exposure to any type of alcoholic beverage. At any rate, my nightly glass of wine now comes after the kids’ bedtimes, instead of with my meal or during “cocktail hour” like every other respectable adult.
- Get a pedicure or massage in peace. My sister-in-law and I tried to get pedicures after Christmas while our husbands watched our three kids and held down the fort. Several phone calls later (we hadn’t even been gone for an hour), we had to waddle out of the salon in our ridiculous flip-flops (through the snow, mind you) with our nails still wet. While our husbands had the best intentions, they couldn’t find the baby food (it was in the fridge where we had told them it would be), the kids were screaming, and I doubt a single diaper had been changed. It would be nice to enjoy more than five minutes of peace without having to lock myself in the bathroom.
Children are a blessing, and I try to enjoy every moment, even when they’re screaming like banshees. Sometimes, though, it would be nice to relax on a beach, cocktail in hand, without a care in the world. Ah, sweet retirement!