Eight Ways Life Improves After Having Kids

I was watching some Seth Rogan movie with my husband the other day when I got the idea for this blog post.  Honestly, I can’t recall the name of the film, but it was one of those movies where he plays the typical role of the endearing idiot, and by the end he’s become Zany Dad of the Year or something.

There was an underlying theme in this movie that revolved around your social life going straight to hell after you have kids.  There was a scene in which the husband and wife were discussing this point with one another, and my husband and I were bobbing our heads in agreement, all “heck yea, we have NO life” during the entire scene.

But instead of detailing every reason under the sun that life blows after kids come along, I’ve decided to go the opposite route and cheer myself up with some of life’s biggest improvements once you take the old parenting plunge. Because I’m all about optimism, folks.

Ha! I’m a hoot. I really just thought it might make for better reading material.

1. You have a built-in excuse to get out of things – If you have kids and have never once used them as an excuse to get out of going somewhere or doing something, then you need to go see where you can apply for sainthood. Because EVERYONE uses their kids as an excuse once in a while. Don’t feel like attending Great Uncle Milford’s 95th Birthday party? How convenient that your son seems to have suddenly come down with a 102-degree fever. Woke up with a case of the Mondays? Your boss will understand that the rash your daughter just developed overnight needs some serious immediate medical attention. You see where I’m going with this? Just don’t abuse the power, or people will start thinking your kids have some kind of undiagnosed autoimmune disease and begin unleashing all kinds of unwanted health advice upon you.

2. Oh, the cuteness – Kids are unbearably cute (especially your own).  Seriously, your kid can pretty much hiccup a certain way and you’ll think it was the most adorable thing you’ve seen since that viral video of the baby panda sneezing. Sometimes you’ll just take one look at those kids and want to squeeze the crap out of their tiny little delectable faces, until their cheeks are all mushed up and their noses are all squishy and they can’t even see you through their eye slits, and then you want to squeeze a little more.  My kids have been known to cause a condition I like to call cuteness overload, and I love every sickeningly adorable minute of it. I’m sure you know the feeling well.

3. Less hangovers – Before kids, I was always plagued by terrible hangovers.  Maybe I was a lightweight, maybe I didn’t know my limit, or maybe it just never really mattered how crappy I felt in the morning when there wasn’t a little person nearby depending on me to keep them alive for another day. But hangovers after you have kids? Are nothing less than a form of actual torture. So most parents avoid the horrors of hangovers by not pounding tequila shots every time they hire a babysitter.  I usually like to thank myself in the morning.

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4. You literally MADE a person – I don’t know about you, but I continue to be astounded by this fact on a regular basis. I mean, I’ve made a lot of cool shit in my life—everything ranging from Thanksgiving dinner for 30 people to this awesome little website you’re currently perusing—but nothing, NOTHING, compares to singlehandedly (well, I had some very minor help) creating an actual human life form. TWICE. How fucking amazing is that?

5. Halloween candy galore – If your kids consumed all of the Halloween candy they received on their trick-or-treat route every year, they’d eventually become walking advertisements for childhood diabetes medication. So they need a little help with their sugary stash, and that’s where you come in. Sure, I could sit here, all pretentious, and act like a never-ending supply of Blow Pops, Kit Kats and Twix is actually a very bad, very dangerous thing, but who are we kidding? Admit it, November 1st is inevitably the most gluttonous day of the year for parents– and oh, how sweet it is.

6. Kids are hilarious – I can’t keep count of how many times in a day my kids crack me up.  As I’m typing this I’m chuckling because my daughter is walking around wearing nothing but a pair of ballerina slippers on her feet and a pair of underwear on her head. Yesterday my son said to me “when me and Little D start school next week, you’re gonna do the happy dance, right?” (kid, you have NO idea). I was dying. You also tend to find humor in some of the things that come out of your own mouth.  “Take your finger out of your butt!”, “stop putting mushrooms in the Brita pitcher”, and “rub mommy’s back and you can have cookies” are some of my own personal favorites.

7. It’s a good excuse for a messy house – I shouldn’t really say it’s an “excuse” for a messy house. More like it’s impossible to keep a neat home with children in it, so you can just go ahead and give up trying. I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten that little itch to start cleaning shit, then broke my back scrubbing down every square inch of my house until it was sparkling like the top of Mr. Clean’s head, only to find myself standing in the middle of what appears to be the aftermath of a small tornado less than 24 hours later. I’ve since made a solemn vow to myself and my sanity to never go all June Cleaver up in here again. I suggest you do the same. 

8. They can go get stuff– Those of you with kids who are still too young to do this don’t yet understand how frickin cool it is.  I’ll never forget the first time I encountered the sheer awesomeness of “go get mommy the remote” and watched as my two-year-old nephew toddled over to the TV stand to retrieve the remote for my sister. I know this makes me sound like the laziest person in the world, but once your kid starts bringing you stuff, you’ll be just as amazed as I am. I mean, we do enough for them. They’re merely returning the favor.

 

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Top 30 Parent Procrastinations

Parenthood is exhausting, and everyone is guilty of a little procrastination now and then. Below I’ve listed some of the most common tasks that tend to get put off because, well, there’s just a lot of other stuff you’d much, much, much rather be doing instead.

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1  Kids’ haircuts – My mouth says to the hairdresser “make it short like his daddy wears it.” But my head says “make it so short that that I won’t have to see you again for at least two months.”

2  Timeouts – Mommy’s giving you just SEVEN more chances before I’m finally willing to give in and listen to you bitch and moan in the corner for five minutes.

3  Dresser drawer cleaning – These newborn socks look like they run pretty big.

4  Dental checkup – Aren’t their teeth going to fall out anyway?

5  Play-doh time – Or any “crafty” activity wherein setup and cleanup time is exponentially longer than actual play time.

6  Back-to-school supply shopping – There’s no greater reminder of summer’s end than purchasing twelve marble notebooks in one day.

7  Washing car seat/stroller covers  –  Am I the only one who feels like you need to a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering to figure out how to get these covers back on after you wash them?

8  Baby proofing – I’ve found that there are two kinds of parents in this world: those who start putting child locks on the cabinets the same day they get a positive pregnancy test, and those who prefer to wait until their toddler crawls under the sink and attempts to spray Windex in his mouth.  Guess which one I was?

9  Dishes – As long as we have clean sippy cups, the rest can wait.  And yes I do have a dishwasher. But no, it doesn’t empty and fill itself.

10  Vacation planning – Can’t decide between boringly cheap or excitingly expensive.

11  Birthday party planning – Can’t decide between balloons, bouncy houses and magicians, and ‘Well I never had big giant parties when I was a kid either!”

12  Cooking dinner – It takes a LOT less time to order pizza than it does to defrost chicken cutlets.

13  Mailing thank you cards- Seriously, kudos to those of you who actually still remember to do this at all.

14  Cleaning the bathroom – Unless someone missed the toilet (again), it can wait until Mommy’s in a bleachy mood.

15  Potty training- Because incessant diaper changing will always be more appealing than plopping your kid’s bare ass down on a public toilet seat and praying the Lysol fairy has paid a very recent visit.

16  Finding a babysitter – Nobody is buying that these kids are sweet little angels who go to bed by 7pm. No, not even Grandma.

17  Reapplying sunblock – You did it when you when you left for the beach, right? Good enough. (Get over it, horrified mom whose child never leaves the house without a hat, sunglasses, and at least three coats of SPF 110).

18  Going to the park – If you’re like me and you just LOVE trips to the park. Ya know, because sarcasm.

19  Getting out of bed – How about a little Dora before breakfast, sweety?  Mommy’s still recovering from last night’s wine-infused Game of Thrones marathon.

20  Changing the channel once the kids have gone to bed – Admit it, you know you are guilty of absentmindedly watching a little after hours Yo Gabba Gabba or Bubble Guppies.  “What time is it?? It’s time for lunch!” No, asshole.  It’s time to find the remote.

21  Breaking up fights – I really don’t care whose turn it is to pet the dog or feed the fish or whatever bullshit you are fighting over now. Leave mommy alone while I purchase noise-cancelling headphones on Amazon.

22  Bottle/pacifier weaning – Pacifier and bottle addiction is real, people. And it affects millions of toddlers, every single day.  Is your child ready to detox? Mine isn’t.

23  Bath time – Just what every exhausted parent wants to do at the end of a very long day– clean someone else’s ass.

24  Christmas shopping – Sure, you could try to be be one of those anal nutjobs who finish Christmas shopping before the Halloween decorations go up (no offense, anal nutjobs).  OR… You could wait until just before the window for free shipping by Christmas closes, pulling an all-nighter on your iPad and crossing your fingers that a mid-December snowstorm doesn’t derail any of your precious pre-Christmas expected delivery dates.

25 Laundry – The good news is that I ALWAYS have a load of laundry in the washing machine, pretty much at all times.  But the bad news is that it’s probably been in there since last week (and for more of my thoughts on laundry, see here)

26  Getting dressed – It’s 1pm and I’m still in my PJ’s, as are my children.  Doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon, either, so….

27  Changing a nasty diaper – It can at least wait until Dad smells it and possibly decides take action first. Unlikely, yes.  But worth a shit.  Shot, I meant worth a shot (hashtag: appropriate typos).

28  Coming home after running errands by yourself – Just drive around the block a few more times until the song ends. Unless they play another good song after that.

29  Food shopping – This is the only errand that should be excluded from #28, since no one wants ice cream melting all over their trunk.  See here for more of my thoughts on food shopping (shocking spoiler alert: I’m not a fan).

30  Checking on the children when they’re being suspiciously quiet in another room – You’re sure something pretty bad is going on in there, but, it’s JUST SO QUIET…..

Bye Bye Baby (Furniture)

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We got rid of our kids’ baby furniture today.  More specifically, we sold it on eBay.  Someone bid on it, won, and then came to my house and hauled it all away in a big black pickup truck.

I cried like a baby.

Not the kind of tears that roll quietly down the cheek as one is overcome with feelings of bittersweet nostalgia.  Big, fat, sobby kinds of melancholic tears of sadness and disbelief.

I am in total disbelief that my babies aren’t babies anymore. I’m in disbelief that my babies need bigger furniture for their bigger bodies and their bigger needs.  Bigger, bigger, bigger.  Everything used to be so teeny tiny, and now it’s all about getting bigger.

So I watched as my children’s baby crib was taken apart, piece by piece, and then piled into the truck, rail by rail.  We gave them the mattress too, as it was only gently used and easily cleaned, so they tossed that in the truck next.  Then we handed over all of the nuts and bolts essential to putting it back together.

I remember the day we brought my baby girl home from the hospital and placed her in that crib for the first time, her tiny six pound body barely a spec on the horizon of pale pink linens. I leaned over the rail and watched as she napped peacefully, fixated on her beautiful newborn face, counting her endless little newborn breaths and feeling overwhelmed by indescribable emotions.

I remember one day my nephew slept over and he and my son hopped up and down on the crib mattress all morning like little crazy kangaroos, bouncing wildly until each child collapsed in a fit of unbearably adorable baby giggles.

When I was nine months pregnant with my daughter and nesting like a madwoman, I took on the task of raising the crib mattress myself while my husband was at work and my son was asleep on the couch. Determined, I yanked that crib away from the wall and heaved the mattress to the floor, then began screwing and unscrewing in the appropriate spots until the crib was ready for my baby girl.  It took me all afternoon, probably two hours longer than it would have taken my husband (or anyone even the slightest bit mechanically inclined and/or not ten seconds away from going into labor).  But, man oh man, was I one proud preggo.

After they lugged all the components of the crib aboard their truck, they moved on to the baby dresser.  More tears streaming down. I’d stored more than clothes in the drawers of that pale wooden dresser.  The messy bibs worn during baby’s first solid food meal, the red and green Santa pajamas designated for baby’s first Christmas Eve, miniature socks and hats barely big enough for a Cabbage Patch doll, a different onesie for each color of the rainbow, and probably every dinosaur tee shirt ever created; those drawers were jam-packed with some of my fondest memories.

Then I watched as they carted the last piece off: our changing table. I laughed between sobs recalling how my son, at one week old, had peed on his own face while lying on that changing table.  Caught somewhere between horror and amusement, I was unable to react quickly enough to stop the powerful stream of newborn urine from landing directly in his eye.  I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry then, so it seems fitting to be simultaneously doing both now.

What is it about these mementos, these physical pieces of our children’s lives that are so difficult to let go?  We needed to get rid of that furniture—we need both the space and the money.  Logically, there was no alternative to selling it.  But it breaks my heart to know my precious baby furniture is gone forever.

It brings me comfort to know that I’ll have memories of my children’s infant years forever, even if I no longer own the memorabilia itself.  Those memories will bring me comfort as the years continue to pass and my babies continue to grow out of clothes and toys and beds.  The memorabilia will pile up, I’m sure, and like everything else most of it will have to be given away.

But the memories will linger forever in my heart.

Memories, thankfully, can’t be sold on eBay.