Ok, maybe I sound like a whiny little kid. But it's the truth: it's not fair!
Having children has taught me many things. It has taught me how to get myself from a sound sleep in bed to a semi-functioning adult in the car in under 10 minutes. It has taught me the humor in jokes that go like this: Alec - "Knock knock"; Me - "Who's there?"; Alec - "Banana"; Me - "Banana who?"; Alec - "Banana basket." It has taught me patience (ok, maybe I'm still working on that one). But I think the biggest lesson I have learned from having children is that life just isn't fair, especially with children.
I've always known that life isn't fair. People pass away who shouldn't. The rich get richer while the poor get poorer. The one day I run to the store for one lone item without even brushing my hair before leaving the house is the one day I run into five people I know. But having children puts a whole new perspective on the unfairness of life. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
1) Kids get sick. It's a part of life -- not a fun part, but an unavoidable part. But what's really not fair about it is that they always seem to get sick at the worst times. There's no real "good" time to be sick, but there are definitely times that are worse than others. Like a holiday, trip, or special event that the kids have been excited about for weeks. But you know that one week where you don't have any plans or anything going on over the weekend? Yep, that's the week that the entire family is healthy.
2) Housework takes twice as long, and there is ten times as much of it. How's that for unfair? Having extra people in the house means extra laundry, extra dishes and extra messes. But it's not that simple. You see, loading the dishwasher by myself takes about 10 minutes. But with a 21-month-old and a 4-year-old, I have to factor in their "help." For every one dish I put into the dishwasher, somehow two dishes get removed. Maybe each kid takes one out? I don't know... I just know that the more I try to fill the dishwasher, the emptier it gets. Same with laundry. And cleaning. It doesn't take a math genius to realize that when you have twice as much work, which takes twice as long to do, that's a lot of time that I could be spending doing something else!
3) Kids don't like to sleep when we do. If your kids are anything like mine, at least one of them is almost always up in the morning before I am ready to be awake. Alec is usually up at 7am, which I should be thankful for because I have several friends whose children are awake at 6am or even in the 5 o'clock hour. Regardless, when I get that 7am wake-up call I just want to crawl deeper under the covers and go back to sleep. But did you notice that I said this is "almost" always the case? There's always that ONE time when we actually have to get up at 7am, and THAT would be the one time when my kids both decide they need to catch up on sleep. It's not fair!
4) Kids drive us crazy for years, then don't want anything to do with us. This one seems the most unfair to me. As much as I love my children and enjoy spending time with them now, I tend to go a little crazy being around them ALL the time. I find myself constantly wishing for a few minutes of me-time throughout the day. Unlike Gwen Stefani, I haven't resorted to locking myself in a closet to escape yet, but that day may not be too far away! It seems like one of them always needs something from me - a clean diaper, a cup of juice, help with a puzzle, a towel to wipe up a spill. I know this is what I signed up for, and most days I really don't mind being a chef, maid, chauffeur, and nurse all at once. But some days I would give almost anything just to be able to finish a cup of coffee in the morning. But I also know that 12 years from now my boys won't want anything to do with me. They will be independent teenagers, embarrassed just to be seen within 10 feet of me. Forget hugs, kisses or snuggles. I know without a doubt that when that day comes I will be wishing for a spilled cup of juice or for one of them to need my help with homework. (Although at this point they will probably be sleeping in AND I will be able to finish a cup of coffee in the morning!)
So why can't my kids be healthy all the time? Why can't the housework take care of itself? Why can't my kids sleep until 9am every day? Why can't I have one day a month now that my kids want nothing to do with me, and then have one day a month 10 years from now when they want to spend all day with me? The simple answer is that life just isn't fair. But that just makes it even more important to enjoy the weeks when they are healthy, even if we don't have plans, or their help with my chores, or those rare days when they do sleep in, or their dependence on me. Because while life with kids may not be fair, that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable. Afterall, a week at home with healthy kids who like to help with housework isn't exactly something to complain about!