Charlene sent me an article recently on what it’s like to be a stay at home mom, and it got me thinking, I’ve figured out a lot of little analogies that help put some perspective on what it’s like to have little kids rolling around the house.
Most of the people I work with are in a similar point in their lives, some are ahead of me with older kids, some are still at different points, pre-kids, some pre-marriage. Today isn’t bad, but it’s different. We look back on our lives and wonder “what the heck did we do?”, we used to wake up when we woke up, go to bed when we went to bed, spend money when we felt like it, and we always had money (usually more than we could spend). We’d buy little things and big things for ourselves, and never really think about dropping two hundred bucks on dinner and a movie (two hundred bucks??? Really??? That’s like a WEEK’s worth of groceries WITH DIAPERS!).
But here we are. The here and now. It’s a different world.
Money’s always tight with one income (and the extra that Char pulls in with her editing jobs), we’re currently budgeting and trying to figure out how to save to finish our basement. With two kids, we’re noticing our expenses have gone up with the return of diapers and our house is shrinking incrementally every day as new toys are introduced, and old friends are put away. The bigger the kid though, the more toys that seem to propegate, and toys are reverse sized, tiny kids have a few HUGE toys, while bigger kids have a ton of tiny little toys that seem to constanly be impaling my feet.
So it’s more expensive to have kids than to not…umm, duh.
Kids require a ton of concentration. Having kids is eternally exhausting. It’s a series of no’s broken up only by “please don’t do that”s and peppered in with the perpetual question answering (I don’t know why Ottawa is the capital of Canada, daddy used to know this once upon a time but he replaced that knowledge with the first appearance of the Flash in the Silver Age, which everyone knows was in Showcase #4).
Having a baby is like trying to sleep in a plane (whoever invented the phrase “sleeps like a baby” should be punched in the mouth. Babies sleep fitfully at best). There’s turbulence every few minutes, usually just as you fall asleep, you’re not truly comfortable, and just as you get into the REM state a stewardess bumps her stupid drink cart into you. There’s a “ding” randomly every few minutes, and every now and then someone makes a loud noise that wakes up everyone on the plane.
Having a toddler is like having your spider-senses going off constantly. Suddenly your home is a death trap, and every corner is filled with deadly obstacles. Going outside is worse as every surface is a broken bone waiting to happen, and every car could go careening off the road smack into your precious child.
Having a preschooler is worse, because now while you’re getting a good night’s sleep, there’s the added danger of independance, and the blissful ignorance that goes along with being a pre-schooler, so if you thought you were alert before, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Now you don’t need to worry so much about a car careening off the road and instead need to worry about the pre-schooler darting into traffic. Inside your mostly baby-proofed home now you have to worry about the pre-schooler figuring out a “cool new thing”, the phrase “look at me dad” now fills my heart with dread as it usually involves my precious daughter being precariously perched somewhere about to snap her bones like twigs.
The school years, high school years, and college years all terrify me, and explain why most of my friends with older kids than mine are completely or nearly completely grey. I fully believe that having kids adds about 20 years to your real age…although there are great things too.
Kids remind you what it’s like to question everything. They remind you of the wonder of discovery, and they constantly remind you that teaching is the most important thing we do as human beings.
I do love my kids with all of my heart…although sometimes I wish I could just hop on a plane and head to Vegas for a weekend with no strings attached.