Eleven Things I Didn’t Fully Appreciate Before Children

APPRECIATE: to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of; to value or admire highly; to judge with heightened perception or understanding; to recognize with gratitude

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.

Baby Wipes.  They are not just for butts.  Both Son and Daughter are out of diapers, but these are still the most useful parenting “gadget” ever!

PBS.  Commercial-free cartoons.  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.  These days, Wild Kratts provides entertainment for the essential 1/2 hour of dinner preparation.

NPR.  Another of the acronyms I appreciate deeply.  The “news and information” provided by NPR have allowed me to participate in many adult conversations that I would have avoided if I’d been forced to rely on newspaper articles I had time to read.

Drive-Throughs.  I’ve written about the drive-through debate between the Work Me and the Mommy Me voices before.  Getting kids out of the car is a pain.  The Mommy Me loves drive-through services.

Dinner and a Movie.  Before children, this seemed like a lame date.  I judged “dinner and a movie” types as lacking in creativity and initiative.  Now, however, the idea of a leisurely dinner back to back with a two-hour movie seems positively indulgent.

Hand Sanitizer.  Kids are gross.  They touch gross things.  They do gross things.   The ability to sanitize after nose picking but before sandwich eating is a must!

Handicap Bathrooms.  Children are a legitimate handicap when it comes to bathrooms.  It takes a lot of space to assist a child with emptying his/her bladder.  It is extremely 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 them a few steps to cross a stall.  That way, you have at least a fighting chance of buttoning your own pants before they start selling tickets for the peep show.

Grown-Ups.  I love grown ups.  Their conversation topics.  Their voice volume.  The way they don’t leave toys on the floor.  The fact that they can go to the bathroom by themselves and usually flush without a reminder.

Other People’s Cooking.  I am an enthusiastic acceptor of dinner invites.  I would rather eat Kraft macaroni and cheese at your house than the cover photo from Martha Stewart’s magazine at mine.

Slip-On Shoes.  Getting out of the house can be challenging.  By the time I’ve brushed three mouths full of teeth, brushed three heads of hair, and selected three reasonably coordinated outfits, the last thing I need is three pairs of shoes to tie.  Slip-on shoes dramatically increase the likelihood of timely arrival at our next destination.

What do you appreciate more since having children?


13 thoughts on “Eleven Things I Didn’t Fully Appreciate Before Children

  1. I live in a large city and drive-thrus are hard to come by. Since having my kids 5 years ago, I think nothing of driving 20 minutes out of my way to get to a drive-thru, especially if the boys are sleeping!

  2. Holy COW, this is awesome! I feel like I could’ve written this – if I were this clever. For me, it’s more WHO I appreciate. My sister and I agree on about three things, but her kids (both in college now) were fabulous kids and are now fabulous near-grownups. Mine, not so much. I mean, they’re wonderful little girls and I love them, but they’re really works in progress. My sister’s been such a marvelous Mom, and I pretty much muddle along.

    My sister, and opportunities to write with the sloppiness I’ve grown accustomed to. If I think the girls are going to see it, I make myself write more neatly, and it’s a job.

  3. What do I appreciate more now that I’m a mom? First, I will ditto everything you have on your list.

    And to add one….my sense of hearing. The REAL mommy secret to having eyes in the back of our heads is our sense of hearing. Ask any mom if all is right with her child/children, even if said children are out of her sight, and all she has to do is listen. Ah….gotta love those magical attributes about moms, like having eyes in the back of our heads!!!!

  4. I have to say that I appreciate my own mom much more now that I am a mother myself. I dread the teenage years with my daughter because I know what kind of teen I was and it wasn’t pretty.

    Mothers Day. I used to just think if this as another “Hallmark Holiday” where I was expected to buy a card and bouquet of flowers. Now, that card better be meaningful and have more written in it than a simple, “I love you,” and if I get my mom flowers, they better be her favorite type. Not just what was on sale at the grocery store! The appreciation that I feel mothers deserve and may not always get should absolutely be recognized.

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