It pretty much goes without saying that life changes when you have kids. It most definitely and overwhelmingly changes for the better but there are things within that change that are, I’ll say it, not so great too. And it changes with each child you have too. Of course it does! Life is totally different now that I have two then when it was just one. Everything takes a little more time, there are more little people that need my attention, I’m constantly moving, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. These are things you can easily roll with and they’re not that difficult to deal with. But I’ve found that there are three things that are so drastically different once you have little ones that you just have to get over them. There’s no changing these facts, they’re inevitable, and there’s no way to get around them.
Once you become a parent, the “ish” can figuratively, and LITERALLY, hit the fan. In our case, with Gav, the “ish” literally hit the curtains. Your life becomes more about poop than you ever knew it could. You are analyzing it, talking about it, checking for changes, checking its consistency, etc. You’re buying diapers to catch it, getting special trash cans to dispose of it or, if you’re cloth diapering, you’re washing it. Even if you’re not cloth diapering, there are these things called blow outs. You’ll be washing poop out of something/everything in no time. You even worry about poop. You worry if they’re pooping of much, pooping too little, if they’re constipated, and so on. And last but not certainly not least, you’ll be wiping poo for a loooooong time. Even when you get to that wonderful point that is potty trained (cue singing angels!), you’re still on tush duty. And then if you decide to have more than one child, well, the cycle continues. The book Everybody Poops becomes your reality but with the added reality that you’re the one cleaning it all. You are the unpublished and unpopular sequel, Everybody Poops 2: Mommy and Daddy Clean It All Up!
They are, and will continue to be, everywhere. Kids don’t really get bothered by the mess either. From the car, to kitchen, to the bathroom, to the diaper bag. If it has space, that is space to fill with a mess. That includes the children themselves. Now this is not to say that you should just throw your hands in the air and let it go. This is just saying that for the next 18+ years, you will be cleaning. ALL. THE. TIME. It’s inevitable and enjoyable all at the same time. Sometimes, watching your child make a mess is fun. They’re exploring. But in the back of your mind, you know that it will be your duty to clean it up. That’s mainly for young children though. I know that once my boys are older, the messes they make will be less about exploring and little more about destroying and then I can hand them a broom or a wet towel and say, “Have fun!” Technically I can do that now, but I still have to go back behind Gav and get what he missed, he’s only 4.
But in the kitchen there are food messes and dried Play Doh, in the diaper bag there are crumpled receipts, crumbs, and countless straw and food wrappers, in the car there is spilled cereal and forgotten sippy cups. Just grab a big ole’ bag and chuck it in there (Yes, even the sippy cups. Those things get nasty!) with a smile because some day your car will be empty because they will be driving their own.
This is probably the hardest one of all. It’s no longer just you or you and your SO. There’s a little being that needs you and depends on you. Someone who needs to be watched every waking second and, for most of those first 18 years, can’t do certain things for themselves. This is not saying that you should just forget yourself and everything should be about the baby/kids, but I am saying that you have to get over it. Get over not getting to leave the house whenever you please or at least as fast as you used to, get over not being able to hang out with friends as much. You’ll definitely have times where you can get out and those times will mean so much more to you. Get over not sleeping (no seriously, if you take anything away from this, let it be that!). Get over relaxing each night and winding down from a hard day. That just becomes passing out in relief that you can blink without fear of someone hurting themselves.
But in all of this, it is truly and unbelievably worth it. You become MORE than yourself. These little things will test every particle of your being but fill them all with an incredible love you’ve never known. So, take a deep breath (if you’re dealing with poop, breathe through the mouth) and just know that one day you won’t have to take care of any tush but your own and maybe one day you can hire a cleaning service.