Now, don't grab the pitchforks, please, I really don't want to die.
Being a parent has been the most amazing transformation in my life, it has given me some much needed clarity and really focused a lot of my goals to make a better life for all of us.
However, I miss me. Along with my first, and then in fairly rapid succession, my second child came this person who took over my body. This anxious, sometimes depressed, obsessed, crazy, frustrated person. This person has a steel grip on me, and she won't let go. Sure, it's not bad all the time, we still laugh and play and run and have fun, all the time, but internally I just feel like there is a war waging between who I used to be and who I am now.
I understood as much as you really could before becoming a parent, I knew this would be life altering, but how just how much can you truly know about something so profound that you have never before experienced? You can never really prepare for having a child, for being depended on every second of every day. You just can't, it's impossible. Read all the books you want but at 3 AM when that baby is screaming and you have tried EVERYTHING, it all means NOTHING. I did most of it by myself. The only time I really received any help is when I just couldn't take it anymore and I would just start wailing along with the baby.
That has been my life for a little more than three years, being needed, always being 'on', and doing it by myself. That is not what I had signed up for when we decided to have children. I misjudged my mate, and I have let the behavior continue because at this point my anxiety to let anyone else (even their father) care for them when I could be doing it is so high that I would just rather take the burden on to myself than deal with the anxiety. It is ridiculous. I know it. The fact of the matter is that they prefer me, anyway. I've long since given up saying 'it's a phase'. It's not a phase, it is a natural reaction to how they are being nurtured and who is doing the nurturing. It is me, it has always been me, and likely it always will be me. For the most part I have made peace with that fact.
Honestly, I have forgotten how to even have a life that doesn't revolve around my children. Everything I do involves them, partly due to the reasons above and partly for my own selfish reasons. I work full time, but I have a terribly long commute each way so I spend roughly 12+ (depending on weather) hours away from home weekday. Frankly, I miss my children. A lot. I don't want to spend any more time away from them. I know that I should do things for myself, I know it's healthy to have time away and to regain some of who I used to be, but I don't want to. I have fleeting thoughts here and there, but when push comes to shove I'd rather be at home snuggling or playing with them.
One thing I didn't know before having children is that your friendships will naturally whittle away. Priorities will change, you will forge stronger friendships with those who have children, you will probably just fade out of the lives of those without children, or they will fade out of yours. I just assumed friends were friends were friends. Now that I have children, it makes sense. As someone without children you aren't interested in the world of snot and poop and vomit and breastmilk v. formula, rearfacing v. forward and analyzing ever little sniffle. People with children don't care as much about the social aspect anymore, drinking, going out, hanging, they don't even have the time for that stuff much less the energy. The two worlds, while they can coexist and meet up occasionally, just don't mesh very well.
So really, overall, becoming a parent has been the most beautiful thing for me, it has been everything I always wanted it to be and more, I would trade it for nothing. Some of the side effects though, I would gladly give back, in a fucking heartbeat.