You always have wipes on you. No lie, this is definitely at the top of my list of parenthood benefits. Of course, it benefits those moments where you witness your child touching nearly every exposed part of their skin to the aquarium window (during cold and flu season, none-the-less); but also, those moments where you spill your coffee in the car, or realize that you have a sampling of your child’s breakfast on your shirt. It leaves you feeling prepared (always a welcome feeling!), lessens the amount of times that you have to visit public restrooms, and eradicates the need to turn receipts into ‘wipes’.
You become better at giving yourself a true break. Parenthood pushes you in all ways, and because of that, I find that it also gives you the peace of mind to give yourself a ‘true’ break. Whether you’ve worked a full day; folded four baskets of laundry, to then watch your kid rummage through and pull them out (what’s with that!?); or had to change your shirt twice because of ‘poo’ moments – we’re often pushed to our max. So, when you know you need it – and, oh, do you know! – throwing in the towel, if only for a half an hour, becomes a given. We all know that family health is heavily dependent on individual health, and so, I find that there’s none of the mental game of ‘should I be doing this or that’. Instead, you give yourself liberty to truly bunker down and relax, because dammnit you deserve it…and your to-do list will never end anyway.
You get truly goofy. Whether you are goofy by nature or not, you cannot help to get goofy with a child. The best part is that it’s the sort of nonjudgmental, let-it-all-loose sort of goofy. Your child has no-to-little social experience or adult-like tendencies to judge, so you truly feel at liberty to let your mind, words, and actions ramble…and it’s just downright freeing and fun. Also, you can surprise yourself with your creativity when you just let it loose.
Sharing those silent moments of surprise, pride, and joy over your kid/s. Of course there are those verbal moments where you gush about your shared feelings with your partner/parent/friend, but I equally love those little moments where you look at each other (so as not to tip off your kid) with a glimmer in your eye, a little smile, or a stifled laugh over something that your child did. Knowing, just through those small and simple actions, that your loved ones heart is currently bursting as much as yours, feels very intimate and deeply special. It’s a type of communication that isn’t often shared.
You sit on the floor more. The only time I found myself sitting on the ground pre-parenthood is if I were picnicking, or rummaging through a closet. Now, the ground is my most used ‘seat’. There is something very relaxed and casual about sitting on the floor. What is lacking in cushion, is made up for in room to spread out and get as comfortable as you want. I’ve found that I stretch a lot more when I sit on the ground, because it is essentially the base-point for a number of stretches. Also, I’ve found that the different perspective can be pretty eye opening to the crevices of your home that you otherwise wouldn’t see. Our den looks up into our kitchen, where you get can a shocking view of all that’s gathered under the refrigerator and oven…
You eat more foods of your childhood. There comes a time when you can’t turn a blind eye to the unhealthiness of eating cinnamon toast crunch for breakfast and ritz bits with cheese for snack. Also, along with age, comes more money, and therefore a discovery of new foods that may seem more culinarily ‘adult-ish’. Along with both of those, many of us start to faze out our favorite childhood/adolescent eats at a categorical level. But, why?! Take for instance, Cheerios – they’re just as healthy as some bran flaked cereal, and they’re good. When it comes to sweet treats, yes, I love a artisanal bar of chocolate, but what about fruit by the foot? Love those too, but never think to buy them. Recently, Ricky, Kian and I had a dinner based around chicken nuggets. At first we laughed about it, like it was silly of us. You know what though, they were so tasty that it will definitely happen again. What I’m trying to say is, when you have a kid, you start to both think like a kid, as well think about your childhood. In the process of that, you get to rediscover those foods of your past. Whether they become a staple, or a sporadic treat, they are just as tasty and appreciated (and sometimes, healthy) as the rest of your eating habits.
You learn a new level of slowing down and focusing. It can be truly challenging to slow down these days – parenthood or not. We are nearly always connected, and because of that, there is always someway or something that can be occupying our mind, and keeping us partially or fully distracted. However, with a curious child, I’ve found that I am forced to be aware and observant of the present in a very focused way. Whether it’s reading the same book three times in a row, and truly recognizing and appreciating the details of each page, or looking at and describing every flower that Kian stops in front of while taking a walk around the neighborhood. The fact that I am sharing and explaining those moments so intimately with Kian, means that I am absorbing them with much more entirety than I normally would. This slow down and focus, leaves me feeling refreshed and connected.
You have an insane amount of batteries on hand. With all of the song and light oriented toys in the market, you always have batteries. We each have those certain things that make us feel like an adult who has it together. For me, having batteries is one of those. Gone are the days where the batteries on the remote go out, and we steal the batteries from the flashlight to replace them. We have SO many batteries. Like, if there’s an apocalypse, come to our house.
Are there any more benefits that stick out in your mind? Please share!
*I’d like to acknowledge that I only mentioned poo once in this post, which I feel is quite a notable achievement considering the topic of Parenthood. 😉