1. Someone asks you if you know the name to that song, but all of your guesses involve Daniel Tiger or the ABCs. Remember when you used to know the title of every song and artist on the radio? Luckily you still know those songs. Unluckily, they are no longer in vogue. I get a lot of, “Who is that? Never heard of them.” The only new songs you know are sung by children and/or animals. Fake animals. You aren’t that far removed. I hope.
2. You don’t leave the house without packing an extra 45 pounds into one of the many bags you are carrying. What if one of the kids has to sneeze? What if they pee their pants when they sneeze? What if they are having an allergy attack? Need a band-aid? How about a snack? You hungry? Need a doll or lotion? Sunscreen? Random happy meal toy or stray crayon? Anything you need, friend, we’ve got it. And probably a lot you’ll never need. Ever.
3. You no longer have need of your own personal bag (be it purse or murse – you know, man purse). Who needs to carry yet another bag? It’s not like you’ll actually use any of it for yourself anyway. Toss your wallet into the kid’s bags. You’ll need a wallet – kids will bleed you dry. Of course, you’ll want to make sure it’s a knock off wallet because you better believe it will have all manner of food and liquid on it when you pull it out.
4. You begin to notice strange things have found their way into the fridge. No, not from the kids. You spend so much time in the fridge (“Mommy, can I have juice? Daddy, I’m hungry! Is there anything I can eat? I want a yogurt. Milk or bust!”) that in your hazy state of mind you automatically put things in the fridge when unpacking anything. This past weekend we found the lid to our cooler in the fridge. This was after searching the house for it. Why is the fridge always the last place we look? Incidentally, we’ve found the juice in the cupboard, but that’s another point.
5. You find that after going on a big grocery trip with the kids, things never end up where or how they should. After bringing in all one thousand bags on four arms (between Daddy and Mommy) in one trip, they don’t magically go to their designated spots. They get dumped in one pile in the middle of the floor. I usually spend my time between keeping the kids herded to one area while keeping my youngest from trying to eat the food through the packaging and frantically trying to put the loot away. Often times, food gets put away with tiny bite holes and after the oldest has helped us put everything away, we end up searching for items for a couple of days. But she helps; I’m counting that as a win.
6. You never feel fully rested. You could lay in bed for 10 hours and still desperately wish for more sleep. The nights are never quiet, but there’s a certain rhythm to it. Almost like they’ve discussed a routine. 12 AM: oldest kicks off blanket; “Mom! Can you cover me up?” 2 AM: youngest wakes from a deep sleep deciding that only more milk will be suitable. 4 AM: youngest wakes from sleep – the diaper you changed 2 hours ago is no longer suitable. Also, you didn’t lay them down at the right angle. 5 AM: oldest taps Mom on the head; “Mom? Mom, can I stay in your room.” The answer is, “No, it’s still dark out.” 5:30 AM: Oldest: taps Mom on the head; “Mom? Mom, is it still dark out?” 6:30 AM: Oldest taps Mom on the head; “Mom? Mom, can I come in your bed?” 7 AM: Oldest taps Mom on the head; “Mom? Mom, can I play on the Nexus?” 7:15 AM: Mom and Dad angry whisper, “Turn the Nexus down!” 7:30AM: Youngest decides it’s time to play; “Momma! Momma! Daddy! Daddy!” 8 AM: Oldest decides to help youngest play by throwing every book and toy into her crib. 8:30 AM: Youngest is crying because the only thing she wants is the fan and big sister just won’t give it to her. 9AM: Oldest taps Mom on the head; “Mom? Mom, can you help me tie this?” 9:30 AM: Husband gets youngest out of her crib, changes her and deposits her on your head. 10 AM: Youngest is at the gate in the hallway crying, dog is at your bedside moving constantly and oldest is cackling like a crazy person. Oh, look at that! I’ve been in bed for 10 hours, I guess it’s time to get up! Where’s the coffee?
7. Because you are sleep deprived, many of your decisions are nonsensical. We had a full container of grape juice yesterday, but it’s all gone today? Did you drink it all already? Oh, it’s in the cupboard; sure. Maybe today we could skip nap and get some ice cream, then the kids can go to bed early. Yeah, I see no problems coming from that. You decide to clean the entire house at midnight because the kids are asleep. They can’t get in the way then, right? I’m sure they won’t be woken up by the sudden loud noises, either. You stay up until 5 AM. That one needs no further description.
8. There is never enough coffee. Never. Does this need elaboration?
9. One of the sweetest times of day is nap time. Sometimes nap time seems like way more trouble than it’s worth. Oldest will use her preschool whisper (which is almost louder than her normal voice) during the 2 hour nap time. At 20 minute intervals you are asked, “What time is it? Is it time to get up yet?” My favorite? “Mom! Youngest is awake, but I didn’t do it!” At least you have a window to get some things done, though. By “get things done,” I mean browse pinterest without moving or blinking for 2 hours.
10. The other sweetest time of day is bed time. It’s a time for Mommy and Daddy to relax. To do their own thing. To catch up on Facebook and creep celebrity news. It’s also a time to be cherished – parent alone time. I get so excited for my alone time that I usually end up staying up until 3 in the morning. All you can think is, “Oh man! What should I do first? Ice cream? Movies with actual people in them? Oh, a book!” FYI, a book started at 8 PM will only bring regret in the morning.
11. Having adult conversation is something you can no longer truly grasp. “I was at work and this employee was trash talking me right outside my cubicle! She knew I was there.” “Yeah, I totally know what you mean. The other day, oldest kid was playing with youngest and I accidentally kicked over their tower. Oh man. She was mad.” Wait, what?
12. There is not a single conversation or event that you are a part of that doesn’t involve or require the mention (or appearance) or your kids. Go ahead. Have someone challenge you. Tell them to give you a word or a place. You’ll find a way to bring your kids into it. Sometimes I feel bad because I just know that my friends want to have a normal conversation with me and all I can think about is something my kids did the other day. It’s a good thing they’re hilarious. I wonder where they get that from.
13. Every day you feel like crying, but not always for the reasons you think you will. Sometimes my days are hard. I mean, really, I have it pretty easy. I get to take my kids to work with me, and as long as I make sure they are fed, clean and changed when necessary it’s not terribly hard. But we all have tantrums, and we want what we want. As true as that is, and as much as that makes me want to beat my head against a wall, that’s not usually why I end up near tears. Sometimes I’ll look at my oldest and see just how she’s growing up. I can remember when she was a tiny baby that depended on me for everything; a time before school and friends. Other times, I’ll look at her and she will look right back saying, “Mom, I just love you. You’re the best mom in the world.” I get to watch my youngest run into my arms gleefully and giggling to squeeze me and hold me tight. I mean, really. You try staying dry-eyed then.
14. When you’re at home for the 1009th (the biggest number my preschooler can think of) day in a row – okay, okay the 3rd – all you can think about is getting out of the house by yourself, but as soon as you get that time all you want to do is run home and hug your babies. I struggle with taking time for myself while my kids are awake, which is part of the reason I’m usually awake at 3 AM. From 8-8 I belong to my kids and my job. That’s hard, and there are times I feel like I’m losing myself. I think, “As soon as my husband gets a day off, I am going out. I don’t know what for or where to, but I’ll think of something. Maybe I’ll bring the girls back a pony.” When I get that time, it only takes a few minutes before I am texting my husband to ask about the girls. I need that time to myself, we all do, it’s vital and important. But what we want is to always be there for our kids. To never allow an opportunity to miss something.
15. You get to experience every single emotion in the course of one day. Tired comes the second your eyes are open, obviously. Happiness comes when the first thing you see upon opening your eyes is your kid’s smiling face. Annoyance comes around the 30th time in 3 minutes that your kids have asked to go downstairs for breakfast. Exasperation comes when you get downstairs and see the mess that was left after the late night dinner you and the spouse had. Despair comes when you pull out the coffee bag for your morning serenity and there is no coffee left. Anger comes because there is no coffee and your youngest is wailing because your oldest just took away the toy she wasn’t supposed to have and hit her afterwards for good measure. Sadness comes because you just word vomited on small children that are just being children. Tired comes because you’ve just experienced every emotion in the first hour of being awake. Happiness comes…..No, look above and see the pattern. This happens all. Day. Long.
Being a parent is both the most rewarding and hardest thing I have ever had the privilege of doing. It’s amazing. I love my kids so much it hurts sometimes. I can’t imagine any greater joy on earth than watching one of them discover something new. I don’t know anything sadder than seeing them hurt and crying. It’s exhausting. It’s exhilarating.
It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
My kids bring me every emotion imaginable and I could never express to them, or you, the depths of my feelings towards them. Overall, I recommend becoming a parent.