What I miss about not having kids

I know, I’m suppose to say that I love my children and since i’ve had them my days have been infinitely blessed, I can’t imagine what life was like before them, what was I doing with my life, etc., etc., etc.  Well I can tell you that my life was actually quite fulfilling before my kids.  I reside in the city where I went to college, and a good number of my friends still live here.  I had (have) an awesome single social circle.  I live in a city, so I was not remiss with things to do on a week-end.  I am a very active person, I would workout on a regular basis, I joined co-ed recreational sports teams and I loved going to comedy clubs, the movies, festivals, you name it.  My husband (boyfriend at the time) and me would always venture out past 11p to hit up a local restaurant or pizza place to get some food if we didn’t feel like cooking, or we would get cookbooks dedicated to single meals in order to “try out” new recipies because we were feeling adventurous.  So here is my post dedicated to those times.  RIP good food, good bars, and spontaneous dates…

My kids have killed the good meal.  In my effort to make meals that can be mushed in little peoples mouths, contain all five of the basic food groups, and can be prepared quickly, out go the days of preparing an intricate, meticulously slaved over meal.  Maybe i’ll dust off the cookbooks that we have in our kitchen when they are older, but who knows if i’ll even feel like it then.  I remember when I used to cook and it actually meant something, like I actually remember the meal I prepared.  Now I cook just to see how long I can go before I have to cook again.  Casseroles and soups have been my friend for years.

I always say to people i’m a vegetarian because I don’t workout anymore.  Trust me, i’ve tried.  I’ve tried getting up before the kids wake up, and that lasts for maybe a week or two tops.  I’m way too tired to try to motivate myself at 6am.  And don’t let one of the kids wake-up at 6:05.  Workout ruined.  I’ve tried working out during work.  But most of the time, i’m too busy actually working to stop in the middle of the day to go to the gym at work.  It’s extremely convenient, but not practical for me.  I’ve tried going to workout after I get off work.  But let’s face it.  Getting up working with my kids, then going to work, then trying to muster up enough energy for a workout?  Yeah exactly.  It was always an epic fail.

Whenever any one of my friends happens on the occasional facebook stalk, they always mention pictures of my husband and I playing co-ed flag football, and I reminisce on how active I used to be…how easy it used to be to join that stuff with friends, or how we could go to a friends’ birthday/engagement/cookout party on a whim.  No babysitters needed for our outings, we could just go.  And don’t even get me to talking about vacations.  I took endless vacations in the US and beyond the parameters of America as well as to many of the islands in the Carribean with friends as well as with my husband.  Good times, Good times.

But this is my formal goodbye.  We’ve had a good run, you and I.  I’ve laughed until it hurts and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom that comes with a childless life.  Maybe i’ll see you again in another 20 years or so, but by then i’ll be a much more mature person.  I don’t know if I can reclaim the crazy times of my youth, but I hope by then i’ll feel young enough to try.

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The New Norm

When I was growing up, there was a constant struggle to keep the house clean.  My mother struggled with putting laundry away, keeping the dishes washed, etc.  When my brother, my sister and me were older, we of course became the hired help – Read:chores, but she still struggled.  I remember saying to myself, I will never let my house look like ours did at times.

Oh how we lie to ourselves.

Now, I want to preface this by saying we live quite modestly.  No McMansions over here, we use our space quite efficiently.  My husband and our two kids are comfortable but we aren’t spread out.  So when I say that our house is in a constant state of emergency, I no kid.

Like the aftermath of a midwest tornado, things are everywhere.  Toys, books, games, book bags, purses, clothes, mail you name it, we have it, all. spread. out.

I keep telling myself that I am going to get to it, but a part of me doesn’t want to.  You know why?  Because I know that the minute I pick it up and put it all away, two seconds later it will be back on the floor.  And i’m not just talking about the toys.  I’ve had three different organizers come into our home to “de-clutter”.  I’ve purchased all of the organizational solutions known to man.  Closet organizer? Got it.  Storage furniture? multiple ones.  Shelving solutions? Elfa is my friend.

In my head I know it makes sense to clean up the house, in order for it to stay clean, in order not to be embarrassed when company comes over and so the kids can play without me constantly picking up toys so that they don’t trip on them.  But in practice it’s a losing proposition.  To knowingly keep cleaning something that will immediately get dirty over and over and over again means that you keep getting on the wheel thinking you’ll get different results when the results will always be the same.  I will never rid myself of cleaning up the house, well that is unless we get a maid, but even then the organization still needs to be in place, otherwise I’m just going to be cleaning up for the maid.

But even more than just me, this seems to be a phenomenon with people I know with young kids.  As messy as I thought our house was growing up, I never remember it being in the current state that mine is in now.  Maybe i’m glossing over my youth (as I sometimes do) but there were certain parts of my house growing up that would never be subject to a mess.  So why am I allowing this mess to take over?  Are we (me and my husband) that busy that we can’t take an hour or two to clean up? Are dual income households in general too busy that they don’t have time to take care of the home anymore?  Most of my peers that don’t have this problem have a maid.  Is this what it has to come to? And what happens to the people that can’t afford a maid?  I have too many questions…lol.  Everyone that I talk to with young children says yes and to just get a maid, but I refuse.  I guess i’m still in denial about my ability to “do it all”, but I haven’t yet accepted the fact that in order to keep our house clean, someone else has to do it.

But right now in our current state, our house stays clean for maybe one week out of a month. Maybe that’s good, maybe it’s not.  And just maybe i’ll have to wait until my kids get older in order for me to keep it clean for the other 3 weeks of the month.  Only time will tell.

Top 5 things TO do around young children

These little sponges take up a lot in a little amount of time. Show them the world.

Take them to the library, the bookstore, the zoo, a museum

This could be a post entitled take them anywhere, so use your judgment when determining where your children go.  But the point being, expose them to what the world has to offer.  There are tons of free child events that happen in your town, take them.   Not just for their sake, but for yours as well.  Just don’t forget the snacks/diapers.

Play with them

Dedicate time at home to play with them.  It doesn’t have to be for long, but let your child know that you care about them and them only, and not have it attached to an event outside of the home.

Love yourself

I know it sounds weird to talk about yourself in a post dedicated to children.  But really, love yourself.  Love where you are in life, love what you do for your children and don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect.  Because life happens.  Because if you have a strong, healthy love of yourself, your children will have a strong healthy love of themselves.  It starts from the teacher.  Teach them by living the example you want them to emulate.

Read to them

It’s self-explanatory, but a child who has been read to at an early age, becomes a child who loves to read.  Show them that reading is cool, and worthwhile and important.  Don’t raise your child to the Ipad.  I know it’s cool to see your 3 month old baby unlock your computer and turn on their game, but it’s even cooler to see your 2 year old child pick up a book and read because he knows how and because mommy and daddy have read to him since he was born.

Give them a hug/Give them a kiss

Young children have emotions too.  Show them that you love them by hugging them when they wake up, when you drop them off at daycare/school, when you pick them up and when you put them to bed.  Hug them when they do something they are really proud of, hug them when they accomplish a goal they set for themselves, hug them when they don’t expect it.  The same goes for the kiss.

So here is my list of things you should do around children. What do you think?  Did I leave out anything important?  If so add it to the list in the comments section!

Top 5 things you should NOT do when around young children

So this past weekend as I was feeding my 1 year old daughter, I was reminded of what not to do as I forgot to change out of my crisp white shirt into something more worn.  Of course not only did the shirt get completely soiled, but so did my pants, shoes and somehow, bits of my hair had gotten food on them.   So here is my list of what NOT to do when around these glorious little beings.   I hate lists, but such is life.

Curse

Of course everyone KNOWS not to curse in front of small children, but do you really know why?  It’s not because they will curse.  Every parent knows that eventually children will grow up and use a curse word or two, or three, or ten.  But it’s because these little sponges will embarrass you in front of other people before the legal curse age limit.  Ever heard a 1, 2, or 3 year old spout off curse words in inappropriate times, without context, and to other people?  Yeah, it’s embarrassing.  Don’t be that parent of that child.  Not only will other people look at you and question your parenting skills, but they will look at your children and judge them too.

Be on your laptop/IPad/smartphone all the time

It’s hard to get away from the screen, I know, I know.  But when you are in your child’s presence and you are not required to do work, do not use that time to go check Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Linkedin, Vine, Gmail, etc., etc., etc.  I swear I can’t even keep up with all of them anymore, it’s too much.  But use this time to face to face play an activity with your children. You are your child’s first teacher.   I swear they will appreciate that more than you sitting them on your lap or leaving them on the floor to check the internet.  Because this is what you look like.  And yes, I’m judging you.

Wear white, or anything that you actually like

This should actually be called ‘any of your clothes’ but I know some people would do a double-take if I said be naked around your children.  But parents of small children know what I’m talking about.  Don’t you really just want to be naked around your children all the time???  Except for the fact that they might be traumatized later by loose images of mommy and daddy’s body, I swear a majority of us would just not wear clothes.  Because it seems like every time you go to put on that favorite (insert piece of clothing here) no matter what you do, it gets messed up just before you go to work, a luncheon, church, a date anything.  Sometimes you don’t even need to hold said baby for the clothes to get messed up.  These babies are magicians.  They know how to mess up clothes from afar.

Forget snacks, drinks when you go out

Forget diapers/underwear/wipes when you go out

Everyone knows babies eat all the time.  So to neglect this small fact when you go out, even if you feed them before they leave, can sometimes be a travesty beyond compare.  Epic fallouts can happen, meltdowns from parents and children, and whatever you were doing immediately has to be shortened or you end up being that parent at that function.   DON’T. FORGET. SNACKS.   Just don’t.  Don’t also forget diapers/extra underwear.  I would make this a separate bullet point but the same can be said for both so it doesn’t need a reiteration of the same point.  Just don’t forget them.

Talk about grownup issues

*Raises hand* guilty over here.  I know it’s hard.  Sometimes conflicting schedules and busy lifestyles only permit those adult conversations to take place in the presence of children.  But if it can be avoided, please do.  I was raised in an era where adult conversations happened all around me.  It was definitely entertaining, and in doing that I developed an ear for listening instead of talking, but the downside of that was that I became privy to times when my parents struggled and times when they disagreed with each other and I internalized it.  As a child, the ramifications of that led me to believe we were worse off than we were, and that my parents absolutely hated each other.  So if you can avoid the heated debate in front of your children, do it.  For your sake and theirs.

(My parents did eventually get divorced, but I still believe the nuances of a relationship caused their rift apart, not an argument or two.)

Alright so here’s my list of things you shouldn’t do around children.  Got any to add to my list? If you do, drop me a line or two!

I Might Quit or get Fired, and That Might be a Good thing

Let me begin by saying this is extremely difficult to write. But maybe if I do this, I’ll be free from the shackle that has blocked my writing stalemate for the past 2 years. See, I’ve been afraid to write about depression because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in denial that I have been suffering from post-partum depression for 3 years. See, the world that I live in doesn’t permit me to wallow and be depressed. The world I live in is filled with daily tasks that need to be completed at home and at work. I can’t pause and tell everyone “excuse me while I work out my depression”. I have kids to feed, baths to give, groceries to buy, dishes to wash, hair to comb. I have guests to book, reports to fill out, news clips to pull, interviews to conduct. There’s no time for depression when you have so many people counting on you to be at your best game at all times.
And I’ve heard the, “don’t be so hard on yourself”, “let some of that stuff go” ” you don’t have to be perfect”. Well tell that to my boss who has told me for the umpteenth time that my reports are late. Tell that to my kids who don’t have clothes to wear because I haven’t washed them. Or don’t have food because I haven’t cooked it. Please tell me then that “everything doesn’t have to be perfect”.
Young kids demand so much, and there are no provisions in the workplace, for women of small children. This proves to be a very volatile time for women. I have known several who have given up on work to stay at home full time because there was no leniency at work. These are smart, professional women who could add so much to the fabric of a workplace, but because most jobs see women who have children as a personal issue instead of a workplace adjustment, these women are either thrown out like yesterday’s trash, or forced out like an involuntary sneeze. And I am one of them who is currently in the middle of an involuntary sneeze.
I love my job, I really do. The ability to be creative everyday and to display that creativity in the form of a program that many people listen to is a gift that is only given to a select few. I get to challenge myself, I work really well with my co-workers ( which also doesn’t happen often) and I enjoy doing something outside of the home because it gives me something to talk about other than baby stuff. But I feel the sneeze coming. For the past year, my depression denial has gotten worse, resulting I some mistakes, big and small, where I have tried to cover up my memory loss. My inability to concentrate, my daydreaming, and my general difficulty completing small menial administrative tasks. The result has been a running tab on these personal issues.
So we’ll see… i’ve faced adversity before and came out alright …I’ve been fired before and been fine, and I’ve also quit before and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.