Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Things that change.
Only a parent can fully understand the level of sacrifice needed to bring babies from that innocent, vulnerable, defenseless, stage of a human’s life to a stage where they can be somewhat self-sufficient (although I think that stage seems to be quite prolonged now compared to the not-too-distant past). This sacrifice alone might actually be the one hardest aspects of the entire parenting processes. When you have a baby a person needs to be prepared that their life will never, ever be quite the same as it was before. Some people handle that aspect like champs, some people completely lose control and once seemingly decent people (or perhaps moderately seeming decent people) can turn into disasters after bringing a child into this world. I think whatever the situation a parent can honestly say that there are several things they do now that they would have NEVER have done in the past.
Here are just a few examples of things that change:
Shopping. You almost never find yourself shopping in a store that interests you because they usually involve a million breakable items that you would be a fool to take your kids near or tiny change rooms the stroller definitely won’t fit in. When you have to do most of your shopping with the kids you find yourself waiting to go until you’re down to your last cracker, egg, banana and in my house milk (pretty sure we should have gotten our self a Jersey Cow to satisfy my son’s appetite). I was never a big shopper to begin with but I definitely enjoyed it 10 times more before the kids learned that in big crowds mom probably won’t punish us as harshly.
Traveling: I’ve always loved to travel, see new sights and explore foreign customs. As soon as you have kids tagging along traveling becomes more like a new brand of torture. We thought we got off lucky because my daughter is a really good traveler. I apparently should have stopped having kids after her if I wanted to continue with the level of traveling that I’ve always dreamed of. My son is what people refer to as a “homebody.” We still attempt to take him with us, although on a few trips we considered leaving him behind. It’s now become this crazy circus like production for us to go anywhere, even if it’s just a weekend trip. You start to examine amenities such as playgrounds, hotel swimming pools, kid friendly restaurants, stroller accessible accommodations or flight options like a pro-sleuth before daring to book anything. A place that you would have once avoided like the plague has become the number one pick on your list. Once you’ve decided you’re going to leave it takes two months of careful planning, packing, re-packing (because they’ve outgrown the pants by two sizes already) and downright insanity to get out the door. By the time you leave you have your entire house contents somehow crammed into every nook and cranny of your vehicle and you’ll definitely still have forgotten something vital (sometimes one of the children). For some reason though I never seem to learn. I have such a draw to go and see the world that I fool myself into thinking this time it’s going to be easier. I am about to actually embark on my very first adults only trip since I’ve had the kids. I’m now scared of two things. One I’m going to miss the little buggers so much I’ll be homesick for the first time in my life or two that I’m going to enjoy myself so much that I’m going to disappear into the jungle to never be found.
Adult time: I’m not sure how many parents reading this will consent but adult time is starting to look like locking the door while going to the bathroom (even if the kids are on the other side of the door knocking and yelling for you), filling your car up with gas because you can’t hear the kids in the car with all the doors shut, the blissful 10 minutes between the time you put your kids to bed and when you go to sleep because you’re too exhausted to stay up past 9:00pm and other such moments. When I have other people around that will watch the kids for me I’m so grateful to be able to have a shower without children underfoot or to be able to run to the store for supplies. Going out for a night of dinner and movies with your partner is like a fantastical dream even then however you will find yourself talking about the children all night. I’m not sure that will ever change now.
There are also several small things that you find yourself doing now that you are a parent but NEVER would have dreamed of doing before: Watching the absolute worst shows on TV because it keeps your kid quiet for half an hour. Eating the leftovers your children leave on their plate (doesn’t matter if they’ve spit it out because they don’t like it). Going out of your way to watch a parade (I hate parades, didn’t even like them as a kid, but my kids unfortunately love them). Choosing to eat at a restaurant you don’t like because it’s kid-friendly. Buying a mini-van for your main family vehicle (hey they’re roomy and still decent on fuel). I could probably go on forever.
On that note I have not had to yell at my kids to leave me alone for the past 5 sentences. This makes me scared because when you do actually get a moment to yourself and the kids are completely quiet in the background you know that they are probably up to something that may require bringing the pressure washer in to fix.