Talking to a parents before you have kids is a surreal experience. Some of them hold back and don’t want to scare you from the weight of responsibility they face, while others use scare tactics to shock you into wondering whether you’ll be up to the task.
No matter how you felt before kids, you can’t fully prepare yourself. No matter how committed you are, either, there are times when it dawns on you all over again that you are the guardian and guiding force for your kids. You were a “me” and then you had to become an “us.”
Here are 19 moments when it hit me, in a new moment, that ERMAGHERD I’m a dad:
1. You checked your pockets and had toys or some baby paraphernalia.
2. You sniff someone’s butt for a poop smell.
3. You call the bathroom a “potty” to other grownups.
4. You no longer use your first name or call your partner by theirs. It’s a pronoun.
5. You don’t have time for movies and TV that suck, unless they’re really bad and then they’re your meditation.
6. You wake up for no reason in the middle of the night.
7. Date night consists of trying to stay awake, possibly while eating or doing an activity, but missing your kids.
8. Storylines or plot points involving kids in peril give you a physical reaction.
9. Some yells dad or mom (or some variation), and you look over at them.
10 You go on a trip without your kids and wonder what they’re doing or miss them.
11. You age faster than a normal human.
12. You can recite kid song lyrics but can’t remember the names of your kids.
13. Bathing is a luxury.
14. You debate children’s book with someone no matter how old they are.
15. People confuse you for a homeless person.
16. You critique children, pregnancy and parenting in films and television.
17. You catch your child before they fall.
18. You try to open your front door with your car keys.
19. Your heart walks around outside your body in the form of a tiny person who depends on you for everything.
What would you add to the list? Let’s see how long we can make it. Both the list and this crazy life with kids.
“When there is no ‘sleeping-in’ on the weekends.”