There is an expression that goes like this: “May you live in interesting times.” It sounds like a blessing, but it’s actually a curse. Similarly, I remember people telling a younger me, “Just wait until you have kids. It will change everything.” I assumed they meant this positively. Now, I wonder if they were secretly cursing me.
Here are a few of the things that have changed with kids.
- My wife and I can blaze through one of the TV programs on our DVR in an astonishing 90 minutes. That’s assuming it’s one of the 30-minute programs (which is really about 22 minutes without commercials). The last time we watched a movie at home? We finished it in less than a month. Easily.
- Speaking of TV, we’ve had closed captioning turned on since 2012 due to: (a) the loss of our TV remote–the generic brand of TV we own doesn’t play well with the satellite remote–and (b) the fact that we often can’t hear the TV over the cacophony of iPads, arguments about who is in charge of the rules for playing with the Barbies, and small children jumping off furniture to do a “big splash” on an unsuspecting cat.
- I used to be punctual. If I was five minutes early, I was late. Now, time truly is relative. Yesterday I started preparations at 11:05 to go pick up my daughter from preschool, a trip which takes exactly five minutes. We arrived at 11:36. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a parent who is running late can, by encouraging their children to hurry, run even later.
- Strangers will offer judgments and advice that is unsolicited and frequently misguided. Yesterday an adult informed my oldest son, who informed my wife, who informed me, that he was wearing the wrong coat. Then my son also cornered me, explaining solemnly that, “I should have worn my big coat, Dad.” He was wearing a coat, though! That’s a win, in my book.
- On more than one occasion, I have decided not to change into a clean shirt, because the kids are just going to get food/snot/unidentifiable substances on the new one too, so why bother?
- To a whole swath of people in the community, I am known only as “x‘s Dad.” It’s like I have no identity at all. Great for my side job as a spy, but sometimes “I Want to Talk About Me.” (Side note: Toby Keith is probably a jerk.)
Interesting times, indeed. Obviously, I actually love being a parent–hence kid #2 and kid #3–but that younger version of me would have been surprised, I think, that he would like it so much. This post is not just for other parents to say, “Ain’t that the truth, though?” It’s also for folks who have decided they don’t want kids and are tired of people hassling them about it. Kids will change your life. It’s up to you to decide if that’s good or bad, and act (or don’t) accordingly.