Ten Things I Didn’t Fully Appreciate Before Children:
1. Ziploc Bags. I’ve abandoned all environmental principles and fully embraced these plastic wonders. Peed in underwear. Wet swim suits. Snacks. Toys for road trips. The possibilities are literally endless.
2. PBS. All the entertainment without the requests for plastic crap or sugar cereal. For years, Cat in the Hat was the only reason I was able to take a shower.
3. NPR. Another acronym I appreciate deeply. The “news and information” allow me to participate in adult conversations I would avoid if I was forced to rely on newspaper articles I had time to read.
4. Drive-Throughs. Getting kids out of the car is a pain. Motherhood has turned this previous champion of all things local, urban and walkable into a fossil-fuel burning maniac who will drive out of her way to visit the coffee stand with a drive-through window. I curse my high-minded snub of the mega bank with a drive-up ATM in favor of the local credit union with street parking.
5. Dinner and a Movie. Before children, this seemed like a lame date. I judged “dinner and a movie” types as lacking creativity and initiative. Now, the idea of a leisurely dinner back to back with a two-hour movie seems positively indulgent.
6. Hand Sanitizer. Kids are gross. They touch gross things. They do gross things. The ability to sanitize after nose picking and before sandwich eating is a must.
7. Handicap Bathrooms. Children are a legitimate handicap. It takes a lot of space to assist a child with emptying his/her bladder. It is helpful to have some elbow room in which to undress, squat, lift, position, cajole, wipe and re-dress. It is also nice when it takes your kids a few steps to cross a stall. That way, you have a fighting chance of buttoning your own pants before they start selling tickets for the peep show.
8. Slip-On Shoes. By the time I’ve brushed three mouths full of teeth and three heads full of hair, the last thing I need is three pairs of shoes to tie. Slip-on shoes dramatically increase the likelihood of timely arrival at our destination.
9. Other People’s Cooking. I am an enthusiastic acceptor of dinner invites. I would rather eat boxed macaroni and cheese at your house than caramelized root vegetables and steamed salmon at mine.
10. Grown-Ups. I love grown-ups. Their conversation topics. Their voice volume. The fact that they can go to the bathroom by themselves and usually flush without a reminder.
Kristina Cerise is a Seattle mom trying to find a little meaning in the madness. She blogs at www.definingmotherhood.wordpress.com, tweets as @DefineMother, and talks to anyone who will listen at the local coffee shop.
Illustration by Christine Juneau