Do you have a nasty habit of putting your kids first?
Well of course you do. You’re a parent. It’s part of the job. It’s unavoidable (kind of like Frozen, which I’ve chosen to weave into today’s blog after my daughter watched it on repeat all morning).
If you didn’t bother to put your kids first, I would think you were a total jerk. And I’d be right.
Because once you have children, you can no longer claim your life as your own. Your children are now your number one priority, and everything you used to do for yourself gets pushed all the way to the back of your to-do list.
There are times when you have to try to put yourself first, usually only when your own sanity is at stake, but realistically the kids come first and they always will. It takes some getting used to at first, but after a while you realize that what you want just doesn’t matter anymore. Because all you really want is to make your children happy. Sacrifices are made, and all of that “me, me, me” crap becomes a thing of the past. It’s all just another part of raising children.
But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still kinda suck.
So here’s how I know I’ve got that pesky “putting the kids first” bug:
- My wardrobe sucks, but theirs sure as hell doesn’t. Winter, spring, summer, fall– these kids need new stuff every time the temperature jumps a degree or two. New sneakers, coats, dresses, tee-shirts, the works. Brand new everything, practically all year round. But my summer wardrobe shopping? Basically consists of a grabbing a few tank tops off a “3 for $10” table at Old Navy and calling it a day. I’m actually still wearing the same pair of banged-up old sneakers I wore when I was pregnant with my first child SIX years ago. I guess my style sense flew right out the window with my common sense the day I whispered the words “it’s okay, I’m on the pill”.
- I haven’t been to the hair salon in over a year. Who has time for that? Have you ever heard of the “hombre” hairstyle? The one where half of your hair is one color and the other half is a different color altogether? Well, that’s the only stylish thing I’ve got going on in my life, and it was a total accident. Apparently, going a full year without redoing your color or highlights is “trendy” these days. I never thought that cosmetic negligence would actually someday become fashionable, but this is awesome. I don’t know who this hombre is, but let me tell you, he is mi mejor amigo.
- When I receive Visa gift cards for birthdays, Christmas, Mothers Day, etc., I usually use them on diapers, kids’ clothes, groceries, or gifts for someone else. I like when I get one with special instructions, like “this is for a manicure and pedicure”. Because then I slap a nice coat of polish above my overgrown cuticles before I head over to Pathmark to cash in on my “gift”. I do like to pamper myself.
- Date night is dead. It’s gone from fun, romantic dinners at swanky restaurants to basically anytime my kids fall asleep before 8p.m. on a night when there is a good show on and a bottle of wine lying around.
- I know every word to every song on the entire Frozen soundtrack, but the only way I can identify a new singer on the radio is if they’ve ever starred in their own Nickelodeon show. That’s actually okay though. Reindeers are better than people, just like the music of my youth is better than today’s shitty pop music. (Off topic side note: reindeers really ARE better than people.)
- My lunch consists solely of sandwich crusts, spare chicken nuggets, and leftover mac and cheese. I sometimes look at healthy food and feel a twinge of nostalgia, remembering the pre-baby days, when I used to have those fancy salads for lunch because I was watching my girlish figure. You know, the ones with the cool, retro ingredients like arugula, dried cranberries, maybe some hearts of palm. And I remember when I couldn’t bear the thought of wasting calories on fast food because I just spent an hour on the treadmill and didn’t want it to go to waste. Gosh, I can’t believe I owned a treadmill. And I even USED it! Sigh. The memories.
- Vacation options have gone from anyplace with white, sandy beaches and exciting nightlife to anywhere that grown men and women dress up like giant cartoon characters and then make you wait in line to charge you twenty bucks for a picture.
- Book choices are not quite the same, either. I used to read like a maniac, plowing through the year’s bestsellers faster than Amazon could deliver them to my door (back in the prehistoric, pre-Kindle era). Now the only books I have time to read cover important issues like overeating caterpillars, misbehaving dinosaurs, and home-destroying, hat-wearing felines.
- Sometimes, in the winter, I DON’T wanna build a snowman. But I do it anyway. Because I’m not shitty like Elsa.
I know I do a lot of complaining about raising kids. It’s just really, really hard so I can’t help it. Plus I’m kind of a chronic complainer so it goes along with the territory. But just to be clear: I love my kids more than life itself. And I’m sure those of you with this nasty habit of putting your kids first feel exactly the same way about your own little ones.