I feel really silly saying this, but your life will never be the same once you have kids.
Everything changes. Your sleep habits, eating habits, hygiene, skinny jeans, it all gets destroyed once children enter your life. And, yes, they’re cute and funny and challenging and awesome, but dude. My life will never be the same.
I was thinking back to my pre-kid days–days I thought I would always have since I never planned on having kids in the first place–and I’ve come up with five things you MUST do before you have kids or even get pregnant. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you already have kids, so be kind and pass it along to your kid-less friends. Even though they won’t take you seriously, at some point you’ll be able to say, “I told you so.”
1. Stay up late. I mean super late. We’re talking 3 or 4 a.m. late. I don’t care if you have to go to work the next day or church or if you’re just “so tired.” You don’t know what tired is until you have a teething baby who wasn’t sleeping more than 45 minutes at a time to begin with, and now he hasn’t even thought about sleep since last Wednesday. Once you have kids, you will be shocked at how productive and coherent you can be on such little sleep. Stop being responsible and stay up late just because you can and not because your toddler has decided 1 a.m. is the perfect hour to play with her toy kitchen.
2. Sleep in. I know this sounds kind of contrary to number one, but it’s totally different, I promise. Sleeping in, for me, used to be sleeping until 9 or 10 in the morning. I’d wake up in a fog, roll over, doze for a few more minutes, then slowly stretch and yawn and think, “Wow. I am so well-rested. That was great.” Now? Now sleeping in is 6:30 a.m. if I’m super lucky and my son is going through a growth spurt or something crazy. Sleep the day away guilt free. You have this bedraggled mother’s permission.
3. Eat every hot meal you can. I’ve been eating lukewarm to freezing cold food for a couple years now and, let me tell you, chicken and dumplings isn’t so good once it’s been sitting untouched for a couple hours. Yes, I can microwave it, but it’s not the same. I miss having piping hot meals right after they come out of the oven. The freshness is something I now only dream about. You, too, will miss hot meals once kids are around, screaming, throwing their own dinner at each other, needing to be changed, needing to be entertained, needing you to be doing anything but eating your hot meal. Eat everything hot. Meatloaf, cereal, ice cream, whatever.
4. Keep your house clean. I know right now you think you don’t have time or that it’s “clean enough.” Your standards of cleanliness change drastically once kids are destroying your home like unwanted house guests. I used to spend an entire weekend making my house absolutely spotless. Now, most nights I look at my ravaged house littered with paper towel scraps, plastic utensils, bread crumbs, and greasy fingerprints everywhere and think, “If I clean it all now, it’ll just return tomorrow, so… may as well save myself the effort and go to bed for two hours.” Clean your house as often as you can and revel in the pristine walls which aren’t decorated with spaghetti sauce, the floors that aren’t dusted with crushed Cheerios, and the bathroom that doesn’t look like Mr. Rubber Ducky had a drunken frat party with all his bath toy friends.
5. Enjoy the silence. I know we live in a time where we have media, music, and general noise available to us at all times. Turn it off. Turn off the T.V. Turn off the iPod. Turn off your phone. Just sit and let the only sound you hear be your own breathing. Savor it. You hear that? That’s sweet silence. There are no “Uh oh’s” being uttered followed by loud crashes. There are no yells of, “Mine! No!” echoing across your tattered apartment. There is nothing but you sitting in your clean house, with a hot meal, at 2 a.m., enjoying the quiet before making your way into bed and sleeping until Noon.