I think sometimes of writing a letter to myself before I had kids. Here is what I would say today…
Your life will never be the same. You might think you want this and maybe you do, but let me tell you, your life will never be the same.
You might think you know why it would be hard, but you don’t. Sure, there are sleepless nights and crying babies and screaming toddlers and years and years of poopy diapers, but sometimes what is the most different is the little every day details.
Before I had kids, I would wipe down the kitchen table only some times. It didn’t need to be done every day, it isn’t like my husband and I didn’t know how to use a fork and eat over our plates, so unless we ate bread and some crumbs got on the table, I didn’t need to wipe it down.
Now, with a toddler and an infant, let me tell you about wiping down the table. It happens three times a day or more. We can hardly even eat pretzels for a snack without needing to wipe down the table. And it isn’t just that the top of the table needs to be wiped down now, because your toddler gets messy hands and fidgets a lot, so you need to wipe down the sides of the top of the table, the top of the her chair, the sides of the top of her chair and the back of her chair.
Don’t forget you have two small kids. Your infant is learning to eat solids, but she isn’t very coordinated yet, so there are bits of banana and carrot and avocado on her high chair tray, where you might expect it, but also in the chair itself, on the little ledge where her feet sit and all over the floor.
You didn’t used to sweep the floor every night either, but now, between the two of them, there is enough food on the floor for another entire meal, so much you think that getting a dog would actually save you time, so you need to get a sponge and wipe up the soft and sticky things first, then sweep. And I don’t mean a quick sweep, I mean a sweep where you pull the chairs and high chair away from the table first.
It is in the details, how different it is. What used to take a few minutes every few days is now a small part-time job.
So, I say to you, myself-before-I-had-kids, don’t think twice about having kids. Don’t think twice because you might change your mind, especially if you know ahead of time about how much time you will spend wiping down the table.
Well, I say that, but I don’t mean it. For one thing, you won’t always wipe down the table and you will be OK with that. For another, there are the other kinds of details that balance it all out, like when your toddler call you ‘Mommy’ or when feel your infant at your breast first thing in the morning, when it is still dark and quiet, before the rest of the house has woken up. Yes, the difference is in the details, but you will come out way ahead, so just do it. Your life will never be the same and you will be forever grateful.