The blog world is full of apologist posts from women who, before having kids, didn't understand their friends with kids, and are now sorry for being such a-holes. I've talked about this a lot on here, but lately I've isolated a few very specific observations. So, as B comes up on his first year milestone, here are some things I just didn't get before that I now do.
Runny noses. I used to be grossed out by kids' runny noses and wondered why the mothers just wouldn't "stay more on top of that". I now understand that babies don't carry tissues in their pockets that they politely dab their running noses with throughout the day, like I do. In fact, they can't even blow their noses; and when mom wipes it, it causes a meltdown of catastrophic proportions, followed by more running snot about five seconds later. When your baby has a cold - and they almost always do - their nose runs pretty much all the time. And there's nothing you can do to keep it clean at all times. Nothing.
Dirty hands/faces/feet. I used to judge people who's kids were dirty. Now of course there's dirty and then there's dirty - nobody wants to be Pig Pen's mother. But trying to keep your baby/toddler from never ever having dirty hands or feet or face, especially when they're running around a playground or dirty playspace, is physically impossible. Unless you want to be that OCD mom with an anti-bacterial wipe constantly at the ready...and that's a whole other issue.
Lateness/cancellations. I used to hate how flaky my mom friends were. And to be fair I'm pretty on top of it - I'm rarely, if ever, late, and try not to commit myself to things I know I just can't make it to. However, I now understand better why people don't show or show up late - because kids wake up with sniffles, and you don't want to infect a group of kids. Because little babies repeatedly have poop blowouts. Because kids need to nap or they make everyone miserable. Because when you've spent hours trying to get your kid to sleep the last thing you want to do is wake them up and drag them out to some gathering that really isn't all that important. Because when you've already been out all day running essential errands and driving around in traffic the first thing you want to do is go home and relax; the last thing you want to do is, once again, drag your tired kid out to someone's baby shower/birthday party/play date. I get it.
Bringing kids to things you shouldn't bring kids to. Here's another area where I've fallen short of my pre-baby promise to myself; I promised myself I'd never bring my kid to adult events, that I would always get a sitter. Well, did you know sitters cancel at the last second, leaving you stranded? All the time? Well, they do, mostly because they wake up feeling sick and don't want to get your kid sick, so they're doing the right thing. Also, sitters cost a fucking fortune. So no, getting a sitter for lunch with a friend is totally not worth it. A concert, a movie, a wedding that specifically asks for no kids, yes. But more than likely those are the things I won't go to rather than subject everyone to a crying baby (and myself to a lot of stink eye).
Houses blanketed in toys. Now, this is another one I've been pretty good about - I'm pretty organized and pretty freaked out about messes. But - I only have one kid, and he's little still. When people come over I clean and organize. But if you were to ring my doorbell on any given night, you'd find a baby in an empty playpen surrounded by a floor covered in toys. Did you know babies at a certain age like to drop their toys over the sides of things? I did not. So there's a reason why your friends' floors are covered in toys. It's because the kids put them there. Who knew?
Wanting more children. There's a lot of judgment about people who want more kids, especially when they dare to make a peep about how hard one/two/three is. I used to think, "then, just don't have any more." Well...I'm kind of discovering this is kind of like telling someone with food issues to "just" not eat that donut. People want their kids to have siblings. They just do. They have a vision of their family involving more than one child. And it doesn't mean they then lose the right to occasionally complain about how tired they are or how hard it is. Like all of us, they make their choices, and they have the right to bitch about it.
I'm now going to let you in on a little secret. This is something I never knew existed until I became a parent, because people with kids don't (or rarely) talk about this stuff with people who don't have kids. It is this - pretty much every conversation I've had with moms, dads, single, married, whatever, about having kids since I had B, has revolved around how great it is, how much it's changed our lives and made us better people. The word "fun" has even been used, also "awesome". And I swear it's not the sleep deprivation, denial, or desire to save face that makes people say these things. It's that despite all the little every day annoyances, raising kids really is great. They're just so darned cute and innocent and loving. I never knew how big my heart would balloon upon having a baby. So, I get it now.