It’s a familiar scenario for anyone who has given birth. After the haze of the first two weeks of parenthood, the much anticipated six-week appointment with the OB/GYN looms in the distance. As the day approached, I began looking forward to this appointment like a child looks forward to Christmas. But perhaps not for the same “green light” reason as my husband did (sorry, honey). For me, the appointment marked an important milestone – the first time I would step out of my house without my baby. And I learned very quickly that day that as much as I adore being with my children (I really do!), I also relish the small quiet moments of alone time. Aside from looking forward to OB/GYN appointments, it never ceases to amaze me the things we parents look forward to that we had probably dreaded in the past.
I have conducted a vast amount of scientific research to come up with a formal list of the surprising things that people look forward to post-children. (Or I asked a bunch of my mom friends over wine and laughs, whatever.)
Hate having your teeth cleaned? Dread the dentist picking and prodding at your sensitive mouth? Have kids! All of a sudden, going to the dentist is like getting a spa treatment. One hour of lying (lying!) in a chair in the middle of the day (the middle of the day!)? Sign me up! And if you are lucky enough to have a cavity or need a root canal or something, you might even get the laughing gas. Party!
Solo Airplane Rides
It’s very de rigueur to complain about air travel these days. The wait times have increased, the seat size and legroom have decreased, the delays, the cancellations, the security lines, the X-Ray machines… for the love of God, you don’t even get peanuts on most flights anymore! Wait, did you say I have to fly somewhere alone? Calculating in the long security lines these days, I better get to the airport three, no four hours early. Wait, did you say my flight was delayed? Ohhhh no! So you mean I just have to sit here eating gummy bears and reading US Weekly cover-to-cover uninterrupted? YES, GOD, YES! I have volunteered to travel to the most out of the way and annoying places for work since having children. Wait, hold on. You want me to fly somewhere WITH my kids? Fuuuuuuuuudddddddggggggeeeee.
Visiting the In-Laws
I know, I know, but hear me out on this one. This consistently came up as the most surprising answer to my informal survey. Apparently more people look forward to going to the dentist than visiting their in-laws (note to my in-laws: NOT ME!). However, for some parents, once the children have arrived, a visit with the in-laws can be like having live-in, full-time childcare for the duration of said visit. Sure, you may have to endure comments about your housekeeping skills, your lifestyle choices, or your parenting skills (you’re going to feed them what?) but you are with people who love and adore your children as much as they do their own, and who actually want to spend all of their time with them. So make the most of the visit – sleep late and send the kids into Gram and Gramps in the morning, run errands, get a manicure, exercise, have lunch with pals, go to the dentist even – and then hightail it home after!
Remember that feeling in your stomach on Sunday nights of a knotted pit of nerves, anxiety, dread, and perhaps even the remnants of a hangover from the night before? Remember staying up really late on Sunday nights in order to prolong the weekend at any cost? Or crying in the shower on Monday mornings as you braced yourself for another dreadful workweek? Ok, I once worked a particularly awful job. Nothing prepares a person to say, “Hello Monday!” with a spring in her step and a smile on her face like an uninterrupted weekend with young children. For most people, the weekend is a time of rest, relaxation, and maybe even productivity. For parents, it’s the exact opposite. You’ll be up earlier than you are on weekdays (why do kids have the uncanny ability to know the days that you are permitted to sleep in, and wake up before dawn accordingly?), spend your day cleaning up after your children, cleaning up your children, refereeing fights, dealing with poop of all varieties, and finding new and interesting ways to keep them entertained. By Monday, you’ll be humming “Zippity Do Da” on your long and awful commute, and whistling Dixie as you head into a day full of meetings and a desk full of the problems you left unsolved on Friday. Yes! You are going to get to use the bathroom by yourself AND eat lunch sitting down! Congratulations, Parents! Stay at home arrangement? No problem! Mom or Dad can achieve a similar feeling of euphoria dropping kids off at school on Monday. For those whose children are not school aged yet… uh yeah… sorry.
In the olden days, exercise was a duty and a job, done for the sole purpose of my own vanity. I have never looked forward to my morning jog as much as I do nowadays, when I manage to escape my children’s clutches for an hour of solitude and sweat. I often run an extra mile, just because. A hearty thank you to my children for getting me in such good shape!
What surprising things do you find yourself looking forward to now that you are a parent?