I’ll be honest, I don’t have the easiest kids. My sister has been known to say, “God made them cute so we won’t kill them.” Which is certainly true in my case, though they may kill each other first. While I suspect that they do (secretly) love each other, and of course I love and adore them, parenting, from my perspective, is not for the faint-hearted.
Here’s what my kids have cost me over the years:
1. Sleep. Both my kids were born with jaundice due to my husband and I having conflicting blood types. This required me to nurse them every 2 1/2 hours. Around the clock. For months. Nevermind the fact that half the time the babies were like, “Stop waking me! I’m sleeping!” If I had to do it again, I’d tell myself that that time frame was not life-or-death and that my doctor was insane for suggesting it in the first place. Now that my kids are older (10 and 14), I am kept awake at night by them laughing (or more likely fighting), turning lights on and off, and playing music (if you can call it that) loudly. My daughter still loves to climb into our bed, which of course wakes me up after I’ve finally fallen asleep… but that’s the sweet, snuggly part of parenting that makes it all worth it. Until she rolls over and elbow-jabs me in the boob.
2. My girlish figure. Okay, so I can’t entirely blame the kids – age and general wear-and-tear take their toll. But when I was in my 20s, I was naturally very thin and had flat, firm abs. Once my aerobics teacher held me up as an example to the rest of the class as to what ideal abs should look like. Those days, my friend, are long gone. I am happy to report that after ballooning to the size of a whale when pregnant with my second child (a stranger actually came up to me on the street and said, “You are the largest pregnant woman I have ever seen”), my abs did wind up, eventually, contracting back into shape. Without a stretch mark, surprisingly, given my formerly Largest Pregnant Woman Ever size. However… as time as passed, should I ingest lactose or eat beans or gain a few pounds (or more than a few pounds), my abs are the first to lose their flat shape and automatically >POOF!< become round. It’s like they remember how to do it and think, “Why not?” Sigh. Now if we could only explain how husbands tend to get rounder tummies over the years, too, without having given birth. (At least I have an excuse.)
3. My youth. Another mom I know very wisely once said, “Kids age the #$%& out of you.” Partly because they’re exhausting, and partly because time seems to fly as you get older. Before you know it, your kids are no longer babies, no longer toddlers, then they’re going into middle school and high school and it’s like… whoa. How did this happen so quickly? Suddenly my babies are people. When you’re responsible for the lives and futures of other beings, you grow up. It’s not just about you any more. The side: you get to experience the world through their eyes. Their wonder as they take in Disneyland for the first time. The thrill of waiting for Santa Claus (which these days involves using a Santa Tracker app). The joy of looking for snails after it rains (my daughter still likes to do this). Another great perk of having kids? I happen to love hot pink, glitter, kitties and pouffy tutus, which I just can’t pull off anymore. But I can channel all girly-kitty-sparkly-pink stuff into my daughter, who loves it, too, and looks cute in everything.
4. My sanity. There is an Anne Taintor magnet on my refrigerator that reads, “Once I had a mind. Now I have small children.” I am constantly being talked over and interrupted by my kids. I forget what I was starting to do or why I came into a certain room or sometimes even what day it is. I think the answer here is acceptance. You can’t afford to worry about things out of your control. And sometimes that includes your kids.
5. My introverted need to for downtime and quiet. There are people I know who grew up in large families and would love nothing more than to have large families themselves. That is not me. I have two kids and they are a handful. Don’t get me wrong – I love them to pieces, but with the constant noise and fighting and yelling and talking over each other and lack of volume control, I am easily drained. I can leave the house with them for an event and I’m charged and ready to go. As the day progresses, I feel my battery draining. Before we even return home, I feel the need to recharge. In peace. With no noise. Some people thrive on chaos and excitement. Not me. So when Mommy needs to rest for a bit in order to recharge her batteries… well, that’s why God created Minecraft.