Recently, there have been books and blogs written by moms as a warning to those thinking about having children. Kids are expensive, they take away any free time you may have, and they will hurt your relationship – let’s face it, they ruin your life! No more free-wheeling vacations, partying all night or sleeping in.
No question, having children changes your world – actually, the most apt description might be that kids blow it up and rearrange the pieces. And, as I spent 45 minutes at 2 a.m. last night massaging Logan’s foot cramp while bouncing Riley on my lap until finally succumbing to giving her a bottle just to get her back to sleep (I know – bad mummy, but at a certain point you do what you have to do) – I confess to longing for uninterrupted nights. However, I honestly think that I am a better person for having had my children. Here are my top ten reasons.
1. Only wusses need 8 hours of sleep: You learn that not only can you survive, you can actually thrive on 4 hours of sleep a night. Having a full 8 hours of sleep is like a mini-vacation without the price tag.
2. You lose all sense of modesty: Who cares if someone sees your boob, it’s just your body! After giving birth in front of a bunch of strangers (in the name of training), you realise that there is really nothing so special about keeping yourself covered up. In my case, ripping off my shirt to show how a new bra fits is no big deal. Bring on the nude beach.
3. Vanity, be gone. It used to be, not so long ago, that I wouldn’t be caught dead without my hair sort of styled (well, as much as it ever will be), a touch of makeup, and an “effortless” (ha!) ensemble. Now, as long as the clothes are reasonably clean and I can shove my hair in a ponytail, I’m good to go. And I’m not even embarrassed if I run into an ex while in a mommy outfit crawling on all fours at the park. Now, that’s a positive change. But, no mommy jeans – I still have my pride.
4. Barf-a-rama no more. When I was 3, I started taking the school bus to school. I was always the kid who would barf second on the bus – right after the kid who actually was sick. In grade school, if someone threw up, I headed to the garbage can to do my own sympathy barf. Smells that were even remotely foul would send me running for the bathroom. I learned the fine art of breathing through my mouth in any situation (farms, public washrooms, elevators, body odor). After dealing with my kids’ diapers, however, as well as throw-ups (fortunately these are rare in my house), cleaning car seats etc., I am a whole new person. Stinky, disgusting? Bring it.
5. All Hail the Queen of Multi-tasking. Only a working mom understands the true nature of multi-tasking. When you can juggle a day full of important meetings with a call from the school, figuring out what’s for dinner, getting the food and booking doctor’s appointments and the babysitter, then – and only then – can you claim to be an efficient multi-tasker. Sometimes it’s a miracle that I get anything done. It helps a lot that at Bravado we have an amazing team to make up for my many shortcomings.
6. Arms of steel. I spent years (when I got around to it) lifting weights to keep my arms from being jiggly. Who knew that I would have a bicep and tricep routine at my fingertips with kids? I regularly lift 45 lbs while tickling my son or flipping him around in his bed, not to mention having him ride on my back while I play “dolphin” in a pool. My 25 lb daughter is attached to my hip routinely (often kicking and screaming). I recently held her, standing, at a ½ hour street performance of fire eaters (my son was riveted), switching sides as my arms burned. Now that’s a daily workout.
7. No more Scaredy Cat. My husband is a director, which means that sometimes he is away for extended periods of time while he is shooting. I have never been a great sleeper (I think this is a trait for a lot of entrepreneurs), but sheer nerves about being alone in my house at night in a neighbourhood that has its share of rowdy partiers and questionable sorts (downtown living at its finest) would cause me to be pretty fried by the time he came back. After the birth of my son, however, my fears suddenly took a back seat to my Momma-Bear protective instinct. I – like every mother – would do anything to protect my children and that knowledge has given me an unbelievable amount of confidence in the face of fearful situations and unknowns.
8. Try something new. It’s so easy to fall into the routine of doing things that you know. I have done a few out-of-the-box things in my time, but I admit that I had kind of... well... settled. As a mom, however, I spend lots of time encouraging my kids to try new things every day – weird foods, new activities, taking responsible risks. It can’t help but rub off on you. I got back into the pool after a 20 year absence (I was on my high school swim team) because my son loves swimming so much, and that led to triathlons. Our CFO Irene recently took up ringette (think hockey on ice with a doughnut-shaped ring instead of a puck) after her daughter discovered the sport. Bruises and achy muscles aside, she’s having the time of her life.
9. Look at the World with Fresh Eyes. This was a revelation to me. Kids give you the opportunity to look at everything through their eyes. I love the joy they experience as they discover something new. It’s amazing how many things I’ve learned, as well, by osmosis. I know the name of every kind of construction vehicle known to man and find spiders and snakes really cool. Really.
10. Unconditional love. This doesn’t need any explanation, for anyone who has ever been in any kind of relationship. There is simply nothing as pure as the love that your child has for you. It doesn’t matter what you do – they don’t care that you haven’t taken a shower, that you are cranky or PMS-ing, that you really need to lose 20 pounds – they will always love you and think you’re a Superhero. There are no complications and no second-guessing. I don’t have teenagers, so I guess I’m in for a rude awakening on this one. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
I’d love to hear from you – what ways have your kids had a positive influence on you?