I’ll be honest. Up until recently this whole parenthood thing has felt uncomfortably one-sided. I mean, my son is practically a black belt in consumption. The more I give the more he takes. And when I have nothing left to give or simply can’t give fast enough, a quick teary-eyed banshee scream and back arching fall to the floor ensures that I get my ass in line. And fast.
See, in the beginning I didn’t realize the extent of my son’s needs and how often he would need it, whatever “it” was. I quickly figured out, however, that what he requires is far worse than a few diaper changes or a quick boob cocktail every few hours. What he needs is ME. He needs every ounce of emotional, physical and mental energy that makes up my existence. And because he is a brain cell killing and time sucking monopolizer, by the end of the day I am depleted of both patience and the will to fight back. I wave my white dishrag, sell my soul to the little devil in blue and hope that he will allow me to survive the night. Maybe my luck with be better tomorrow.
So when he recently went through a “clingy” phase, which is essentially like limping around with a thirty-pound whining gremlin attached to your leg, I wanted to impale myself with the closest sharp object I could find. I thought to myself, “What am I getting out of this?” His needs are constant, incessant, exhausting…impossible.
After he went to bed one night, I poured myself some dinner and sat in the tub and reflected on the fact that my life wasn’t mine anymore. It belonged to a two foot Napoleon hell bent on turning me into a female version of Gary Busey. And he was succeeding. I could feel the mental breakdown coming around the bend.
And then it dawned on me. I need him too! Sure I need him because he keeps me accountable and reminds me that even the smallest feats are worth celebrating. His innocent smiles are proof that love is pure and simple at the core. And of course it’s always nice to have someone that forces you to grow yourself by practicing patience and unconditional love. But more than anything I need him for the following 6 reasons:
- Boarding flights early: I don’t know about you but nothing gives me greater pleasure than prancing past all of the suckers huddled up like a herd of cattle, impatiently waiting for their row to be called. To see the look of outrage and entitlement in their eyes when I stroll by…it’s like walking the red carpet and waving to all of the little people. The high I get from feeling so special makes sitting on the tarmac for an hour without air conditioning and the 6-hour flight with a walking 9 month old seem like a breeze. Winning!
- Eating off the kids menu: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamed of eating off that menu prior to having my son. Why should I pay $4.25 for Macaroni & Cheese off of the regular menu when I can get it for $4 off of the kids menu? Homie don’t play that. Sorry restaurateurs, you can’t take advantage of this chick anymore. Thanks for fulfilling my dream, son. It’s been a long time coming.
- Cutting in the bathroom line: Long line for the loo at Starbucks? No problem. Tell your kid to cross their legs, grab at their crotch and do the pee dance while loudly proclaiming that the “poo is coming NOW, mommy”. Don’t forget to make eye contact and smile meekly at the person in the front of the line and you’re “in like flynn”. I know my son is too young for this but I have faith that when the time comes, fail me he will not. No cuts, no buts, no coconuts my arse!
- Flaking on parties: You were so excited when you got the invite to your boss’ brothers’ girlfriend’s charity event to raise money for endangered ants. You had every intention of going but it’s Friday night, you’ve been working all week and with L.A. traffic you won’t get to the venue 15 miles away until next Tuesday. You can’t just flake and you were perfectly healthy at work today. What do you do? You call in kid-sick! Pick one, any one. Croup. Hand, Foot and Mouth. Pink eye. Diarrhea. The possibilities are endless. Don’t worry if it’s not true. Odds are that within 24-48 hours your kid will contract something. Winning…again!
- Running late. Kids are like life-sized get out of jail free cards when it comes to punctuality. In fact, people just assume you’re going to be late. So relax, kick back and enjoy those extra five minutes of The Bold & The Beautiful. You just bought yourself 18 years of blaming them for running late so don’t be an overachiever now. You don’t want people to think you’re put-together…they might expect you to do stuff.
- Excuses: Ever feel like you’re running out of acceptable excuses for how inadequate you are? Having kids is like having pocket aces of blame and the high card always wins. For instance, sleepless nights and exhaustion are the culprits every time I lose my temper. If I say something really stupid or I forget something, it’s usually just a case of “mommy brain.” Every time I try on my pre-baby jeans and they don’t fit I don’t blame the three Sprinkles donuts I downed for breakfast or the fact that I haven’t seen a gym in months. That would be deflecting from the real issue. I know it’s because I “just” gave birth.
So you see, raising kids isn’t one sided at all. It’s an extremely rewarding, mutually beneficial relationship with endless opportunities to learn from one other. In fact, we need our kids just as much, if not more, than they need us.
So next time your little one throws your heels in the toilet for the umpteenth time and you feel a case of “the Busey’s” coming on, just pour yourself some dinner and recall all of the wonderful things that your kids contribute to your life. You could be eating off the adult menu like all of the other kid-less weirdos.