Kid wrangling is hard. It’s hard full time; it’s hard part-time. It’s hard, well, pretty much all the time. Ah yes, those little “bundles” of joy cost you physically, emotionally and financially. So, what are these little ankle biters actually good for? I’ve been a full-time mother for over eight years now, and I confess I sometimes contribute to the chorus of mothering complaints. But parenthood has some unexpected (and helpful) perks. Admittedly they may not be quite as exciting as the perks of my previous job (corporate travel, salary bonuses and after work drinks) but useful nonetheless.
Here are five clear perks of being a parent:
Kids provide a never-ending stream of excuses to get out of any obligation. Can’t be bothered going to your spouse’s boring colleague’s 40th? Easy. “My child has gastro.” No desire to attend another family reunion? Easy. “My child has hand, foot and mouth disease.” Prefer your pyjamas and a DVD at home over dinner at your in-laws? Take your pick. Conjunctivitis, gastro and ear infections are plausible excuses and won’t be contested. After all, no mother wants you anywhere near her kids if you risk infecting them. Nap times, dirty nappies and pediatrician appointments provide acceptable reasons to make a quick exit – usually with little necessary detail. In fact, having kids means you never have to endure conventional society again if you so choose. They‘re also a legitimate excuse to get off the phone from telemarketers or politely close the door to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Just blame the kids!
Small talk has never been easier
You will never have to talk about the weather again. Without kids it can be a struggle to maintain idle chitchat with casual acquaintances. Now? Just mention sleep training or screen time to a fellow parent and neither of you will be able to shut up. Most people can talk ad nauseam about their little one’s latest developmental milestone; instant connection simply because you have both procreated.
Kids are good for your ego. When you haven’t washed your hair in a week, and all the dry shampoo in the world isn’t helping, your kids will still think you’re beautiful. And, new mums can feel especially smug as they’re doing their bit to save the environment. After all, showers are no longer a daily ritual. And on the odd occasion you do ditch your “mummy uniform” and dress “up” (as I did for the first time in 5 months recently) they will gush at you like you’re a movie star.
And it’s not just skin deep. They think you’re clever, too. It actually feels like you’re really, really smart even when you haven’t the slightest clue about what’s going on in the world because you stopped reading the newspaper about the same time you traded in beer gardens for playgrounds! In their eyes, you are a genius.
Pole position parking
The ‘parents with prams’ symbol in the carpark. About the only symbol of power you get and a little rock-staresque! And let’s face it, this is darn helpful when you consider that a new mum loses half her life in shopping centres trying to keep Groundhog Day at bay. It’s nice to be rewarded with pole position when you’re about to spend more money at shops that aren’t for you (Cotton On Kids sound familiar?).
Colouring in, building Lego and playing with dolls all day is completely acceptable when you’re a parent. You can happily indulge your inner child, uninhibited and care-free. You get invited to parties with fairy bread, can hit the cinema to see kids’ movies, go on merry go-rounds, and embrace the freedom of being a child. With kids you’ve got the justification to let loose and enjoy infantile humour. Heck, you get to even act like a child sometimes, stamping your foot and saying things like: “You get what you get and you don’t get upset”. And Play School just got a whole lot more exciting with Eddie Perfect joining the team. But nothing feels more liberating than belting out the “Let it go” chorus, seriously believing that in that moment you are Queen Elsa; powerful, beautiful and free.
Or perhaps that’s just me……
What are some other parenthood perks? Hit me with more in the comments section below.
*This article first appeared on news.com.au