As annoying as this may sound, there really are some things that you just don’t understand until you become a parent. Looking back, there are countless things I had no idea I’d have a new appreciation for — and here are my top ten:
1. Peeing alone.
Peeing alone kind of seems like one of those basic unalienable human rights … or so you might have thought. Become a parent and your child will teach you otherwise. Going to the bathroom alone is one of life’s simple luxuries that you miss dearly when you become a parent of a mini shadow who follows you everywhere … including the porcelain throne.
2. Peace and quiet.
Close your eyes and listen. If you’re a non-parent and at home by yourself, that “noise” you’re hearing is called silence. Oh … sweet and unmolested silence. This doesn’t exist in the world of parents … once in a while, maybe, in the middle of the night (and even then it’s hit or miss).
3. Making dinner uninterrupted.
When I hear people talk about how relaxing and enjoyable cooking is, I immediately assume that these people don’t have children. In the days before becoming a mother, I might have said the same thing, but now cooking dinner means that I have a toddler clinging to my leg while nursing an infant and stirring whatever is simmering on the stove. Relaxing is the very last thing I would call it and it takes FOREVER when you’re being interrupted every five seconds.
4. Taking a shower.
Showers … another one of those seemingly basic human dignities we should be afforded. “Seemingly” is the key word there. Showers happen way less often than they really should once you have little ones. God bless dry shampoo!
5. Getting out of your car and walking into an establishment that also has a drive-thru.
We’re not frequent fast foodies, but if there’s a drive-thru coffee option or pharmacy you better believe I’ll be all over it. Having to load, unload and schlep kids around just for a simple two-minute errand, like grabbing a gallon of milk, is pretty much the bane of my existence. Something that once took two minutes before I had kids now takes at least 20.
After you become a parent, sleep becomes like this great white whale that you are forever chasing, but never catching. There is always something else to do once the kids go to bed and even if you did go to sleep earlier, they would probably just wake you up in the middle of the night. It’s OK. You can always just sleep when you’re dead.
7. Online shopping.
When you are young and unencumbered with children, you view online shopping as fun. Once you have kids, it’s a necessity. Who wants to brave the grocery store for a box of diapers when you could just have them delivered to your front door? Certainly not me. Amazon Prime is my new best friend.
8. Your pre-baby bod.
After you have kids you will look back with fondness on the pre-baby body — that same one that you once picked apart. All those pictures in the throwback Facebook albums that you thought you looked fat in? Yeah … now you’d love to look that “fat”. It’s cool though, because on the upside, after growing, birthing and maybe even feeding a human all with your own body you’ll have a new-found respect for it.
9. Nights in.
Staying in is the new going out after you have kids. Who wants to go to a restaurant with kids in tow, or spend $50 on a babysitter? Just invite your friends over for cocktails after the kids are in bed. Bonus: it’s cheaper and you don’t have to drive.
10. Your own parents.
Before I had kids of my own I didn’t really appreciate my own parents. I mean … I appreciated them on a surface level, but I never really grasped all the things they did for me, or even beyond that, all the turmoil I must have put them through. Now that I’m a mom I know what it feels like to have my heart walking around outside of my body in the form of my child, and as such, I have a whole new level of appreciation for all the things I put my parents through. They really were/are pretty fantastic.
Is there anything I left out? What things did you gain a new appreciation for after having kids?More On