The Mother’s Weekly: The Alternative 10 Best Things About Having Kids
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Mother’s Weekly. This week she has been thinking about the lesser-known positives to having children. We hope you enjoy her amusing thoughts on motherhood!
This is not your normal ‘Top-Ten’. Of course the joy that your off-spring bring you; the warmth and pride you feel when they merely look at you, is an obvious positive any (normal) parent feels. But what about those other benefits that people do not talk about? Those lesser talked about side-effects of spawning that we only realise if we really think about it.
- You always have socks for the gym
If you are like me, and can never keep your pairs of trainer socks together you will find yourself led into manic scrambles when any opportunity to exercise poses itself. Many times I have been left frustrated and screaming whilst pulling clothing out of an overflowing pile of washing in the hope that I will find two socks that are small enough to not make me look like a German tourist
I have learnt a trick – do not despair, go to your child’s drawer and pick the least embarrassing pair out and ‘voila’: instant pop-socks. Any child over 3 has socks the size of pop-socks. Yes, I will admit I have been on many a run or taken part in a class kicking the imaginary butt off someone whilst wearing a pair of socks with a dinosaur, car or tractor on; but who cares? I made it to the class! Warning: this obviously stops as soon as your child goes into anything over a child’s size 11.
- You often start to eat better.
This does not always work and there have been periods of my life AB (After Birth) where I have survived on coffee, crisps and cake. However – overall – I have been weaned off my BC (Before Children) diet of wine, Hula Hoops and muffins. This particularly takes effect as the children get older and you try to sit more as a family to eat. After talking to many parents, it is clear that AB, more meals are cooked from scratch; many meals are planned in advance, with parents trying to make sure they are healthy and varied. We also try to provide good role models by eating the vegetables and fruits we are forcing on our children no matter how much we crave that chocolate Hobnob instead!
From the moment your little on starts weaning, any bag you own will contain some form of edible items. This can be extremely useful at times of near starvation for parents. For myself these have included: a three-hour traffic jam, after a 12-hour day when I forgot my lunch and my blood sugar level was so low everyone was turning into cartoon hams, and days when I have forgotten the children’s snack and I know the chances of getting to the intended venue without stopping at some overpriced service station will never happen.
- Sleeping Less Can Actually Lead to More Work
This is a bit of a catch-22 situation because the lack of sleep can make working a lot trickier for some. Exhausted parents with heads as clear as a murky pond – barely able to string a sentence together – try to create top-notch reports and make important decisions at work. Yet, there may be light at the end of the night-lit tunnel!
Sometimes the lack of sleep trains you to work in a completely different way; you gain the skills of sleeping for an hour or two, waking, banging out two hours of quality work and then going back to sleep until the morning. This has come in handy at times when I have an important deadline – or two – and have gone to sleep a little stressed and worried about completing the tasks on time. After an hour or so of sleep, I have woken up in a state of panic, written the report that was due, or sent the long list of e-mails that were needed, and slept like a log; happy in the knowledge when I wake up, those tasks have been completed.
5. You Learn Things You Never Knew
The beauty of being a parent today is how much effort you have to put into your children. It is a full-time job raising the little blighters. The days of sticking children outside in prams or sending them to go and play for hours on end, only to return for tea and bed, have gone. The no homework rule at primary school we grew up with is gasped at in disbelief and unfair despair by children today. We are expected to pay a lot of attention to and support our children. This includes assisting them in gaining knowledge and helping them with the school work that gets sent home every week.
Although this is time consuming, exhausting and quite frankly wine-inducing at times, it does have an upside: you learn. All those English terms we never learned like antonyms, adverbial phrases suddenly become words we understand; the history facts we should know but either were too cool to learn or have long forgotten are etched on our brains; the cycles of the moon and star constellations we did not have the time for in our teens are learnt with excitement. This can lead to some parents, who detested school or certain subjects, finding out they actually love learning. Some are spurred on to retrain to new jobs, take new courses and for others simply enjoy learning again. For others, it is just satisfying knowing facts and quite frankly not feeling so stupid!
- You Get to Read Children’s Books
We all look around at the books others are reading when on the train; it can be a status for intelligence and can say a lot about you and your personality. For this reason, many adults do not read children’s books. If you have children, you can indulge into some of the best books ever written and all those books you missed out on when you were a child. You can go back to a time without responsibility and simplicity through the fantastic authors past and present. I get so excited at the books I read with and to my children. Not only do I share my favourites but I find so many books I should have read as a child but never knew existed. It is truly the best time of the day and I have even taken to reading some as my own reads. If anyone asks, I am of course checking it is suitable before reading with my child. Not sure that works for The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith but it will continue to be my excuse nonetheless!
- You Become the Ultimate Multi-Tasker
We sit there AB wondering how we filled our hours BC. We always seemed busy before but nowwe have so much more to do yet the days have not suddenly increased by four hours. The answer is simple: the hours you are busy are the same but instead of attending to one task you will complete at least three tasks at the same time. Whilst eating breakfast, you are unloading the dishwasher, listening to the children read, writing cheques for school trips all the while grasping what news story Susanna and Pierce are sharing on Good Morning Britain. Breakfast is now eaten standing; grabbing mouthfuls in between other tasks – if you manage to eat it at all. You become a octo-mum; instead of two arms it seems you have eight multi-tasking arms simultaneously sorting the craziness around you.
- You Stop Caring What Others Think of You (only for some people!)
It is great how you go from someone who makes sure that you look nice when you leave the house to someone who on occasions looks like a bag-lady. But you do not care. You are just happy you managed to leave the house. That small achievement in itself means you have a I-don’t-care-what-I-look-like attitude. Or the stresses of being a parent puts everything into perspective. You realise what really matters and what throwaway bitchy comments really do not!
- You Have Someone to Embarrass
This might possibly be the best side-effect of being a parent and can be a constant source of amusement. For every embarrassing moment your child has caused you, there will be a time when you can get your own back. It will not matter what you do; even breathing will annoy them which makes this unbelievably easy. It normally starts at 10 years old for girls and 12 for boys; the best thing is, it will then last until your dying day. So, if you manage to stay fit and healthy, you will have many, many years of this wonderful fun.
- You Start Caring About the Environment a Bit More
You start to think more about the world you have brought children into and what is going to happen to that world in the future. The days of living for the moment and living for the weekend leave. For some of us, this leads to a more caring view of the environment and an urge to preserve the world. This can be helping the birds visit your garden, recycling or for some it leads to passionate conservation work. The fact is you want the world to be good for your little ones and just care about your impact just a little more than before. It gives you a rather warm fuzzy feeling and fills you with happiness to think you have done your bit.
What are your alternative positives to being a parent that are not mentioned in the parenting magazines? E-mail us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass them onto our ‘Mother’.
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