Having kids is great, and totally worth it and all that jazz, but let’s face the facts -- things change when you become a parent. For the most part, things start out relatively simply. You have a baby, and your goal is to not kill it. Feed it, burp it, clean it, hold it, love it.
Then you have a toddler, and your goal shifts to trying to keep them from killing you. They’re not called the terrible twos for nothing, you know. Toddlers are busy and curious and tantrumy and did I mention busy? There are certain little life pleasures that will just have to be on hold if you’re in the midst of the toddler years.
Enjoying the Rain: OK, maybe I only like the rain because living in southern California, I seldom get to experience it. But I love a good, cleansing rain. I like to take a walk in it, without an umbrella if it’s not pouring (who am I kidding -- it never pours here), let my hair get a little wet, and I swear I can smell the plants soaking up the water.
Now With Toddlers: They drive you batty wanting to go out and play in the mud. You finally relent, and they race back inside before you can strip them and all of a sudden your walls are covered with muddy fingerprints, couch cushions with muddy footprints, and there’s basically just mud everywhere.
Dessert: Cheesecake. Gelato. Anything chocolate. It’s all good. Dessert is God’s gift for eating salad instead of cheeseburgers. Or maybe your dessert is cheeseburgers. Whatever your particular poison is in the “treats” department, it’s sinfully decadent to indulge now and then.
Now With Toddlers: Somehow cramming down a fun-size Snickers while crouching in the bathroom, fearful of crunchy peanuts with each bite lest they hear you and come running, demanding to know where theirs is isn’t the same.
Eating Out: Come on -- no cooking, no cleaning, being waited on … it’s a dream.
Now With Toddlers: I know they say you’re not supposed to cry over spilled milk, but are we allowed to cry over the third glass? What about the evil look your waiter is shooting you?
Traveling: Aside from some general annoyance over the TSA and cramped airplane seating, traveling is pretty awesome. You get to see new places or visit old friends, and generally get a little break from the routine of your everyday life.
Now With Toddlers: It’s a scientific fact that toddlers don’t nap while traveling. Too. Much. Excitement! Do you know what happens when over-stimulated kiddos don’t nap? Meltdowns. Meltdowns happen. The toddlers throw tantrums too.
Movies: Maybe you’ll catch the latest Bond film, or perhaps that drama with Meryl Strep, or whatever Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are starring in this week. You’ll laugh or cry, eat popcorn and drink Diet Coke, and relax for a couple of hours.
Now With Toddlers: Whatever animated feature is out. If you’re lucky it’s Pixar or Disney, but that actually doesn’t matter because you won’t be watching it. You’ll spend the entire time shushing your toddler, bouncing her on your lap, and you’ll be in and out of your seat at least five times for potty breaks, because she has now decided she doesn’t want to go in her pull-up.
Maintaining Your Sanity: You used to be a rational person capable of stringing intelligent thoughts together. You used to ponder things. Even when life got hectic, most everything was still pretty well ordered and manageable.
Now With Toddlers: Which way is up again? What’s my middle name? What does the number purple smell like? You’re not sure, and frankly you’re not sure if you’re supposed to be sure. And the surest sign you’ve lost your mind completely is that you wouldn’t trade this chaos for anything.
What lovely experience have you kissed goodbye while raising toddlers?
Image via Rebecca Sims/Flickr