As some of you know, while traveling for ministry on the weekends, I have been staying home with the kids during the week as my wife goes to school to become a nurse then a nurse doctor. It has been very fun. I have bonded more with my kids, specifically our little 2 year old girl, Lily.
It has also been exceedingly draining. Having kids and taking care of them means a few things change. This is a humorous insight into parenthood for anyone without kids, and an alert to any father that isn't holding down the fort at home like their wife is. This rant is to say "Women, we salute thee", as most of a stay-at-home mother's achievements go unnoticed, even by their spouse.
Here are a few things that will change once you have kids, and exponentially multiply when are the main person responsible for caring for them during the day:
1) You will never eat again.
Ok maybe this is a little dramatic but overall pretty accurate. Any meal you desire to enjoy as you did prior to children will be blindsided by one or more children that, though they confessed moments before that they are "sooooo full" (thus luring you to bring out the real meal you wanted to eat BY YOURSELF), now inform you that they are in fact hungry. Wait, did I say hungry? I meant starving. Then suddenly close to death. And you wouldn't want your little one to DIE over this meal you so recently thought that you would enjoy in peace, so you spoon by spoon, dish it over to one or more mouths. By the end, the meal was so divided up that NOBODY really enjoyed it anyways, what with each small bite being mere tastes compared to the spoonfuls you initially assumed would be yours.
2) The longest your house will stay clean is exactly 3 minutes and 32 seconds.
It may have taken 5 hours to get it clean, but somehow, maybe with God-given supernatural abilities, children have the know-how to reverse those five hours of work in three minutes. When our friends visit, upon their walking through the door we the point out to them that the house is in fact clean. We do so because the hurricane of that which is children is about to be released upon this home, and if we don't point it out now, they will likely judge us that we are unclean and untidy. This is not in fact true...at least for 3 minutes and 32 seconds.
3) You will be regularly physically attacked (in love) out of nowhere for no reason at all.
Oh, you are taking a much needed 20 minute nap and you thought that here in your bed you would be safe? Wrong. Knee to the groin. That will wake you up. Oh, you thought the kids didn't know how to jimmy the lock on the bathroom door while you are "resting" on the toilet? And you so ignorantly assumed that surely here, here in this porcelain sanctuary of sorts, you would be safe from sudden bombardments? Wrong. The door flings open and three little ones burst through the door like they are the assault on the beaches of Normandy...the only differences being that they are laughing and you have no way to defend yourself. You take the barrage in full...and needless to say, sitting down.
4) You will have no alone time. Ever.
This is not an exaggeration. You may be asking yourself, "Then how is Tyler writing this status right now?" Because plainly, right now I am not watching the kids. Christine is. And when she leaves for school, the television will watch the kids until I am done with this little appreciation of women. Judge me if you want, as I did of people that let their kids watch tv, but those of us on the other side realize that sometimes, the ONLY way to get time alone, and I mean finding a fraction of time to be ALONE with your spouse, is to lean into the grace that is brought by the distraction of TV. If it wasn't for Care Bears and Spider-man cartoons, our private life of physical intimacy would probably be at a standstill.
5) You will never sleep again.
At least not deep, uninterrupted sleep. Whether it be a bad dream, need for water, are "lonely", or the occasional screaming waltz that enters your room at 3am informing you that they fell out of bed, there is always a reason why sleep is no longer a viable option for you anymore. Just do yourself a favor now and kindly release your expectation for sleep. Yes, it is a basic, fundamental human need in order to live. Like air or water. But now, it is no longer something you can expect. You will have to go without it for the next ten or more years, which is about as fun as holding your breath for the same amount of time. Right now you are either laughing because what I am saying is true, or you aren't laughing at all because what am saying is true. My wife has gotten one night of real sleep in the last couple of YEARS, simply because a saint of a friend offered to let us have an overnight date at a hotel. Dads, we get so much sleep, even if it feels like we don't. This is possibly because we do not have portable milk taps protruding from our chests, but also because we don't have half the heart that our wives do. If my kids need something in the dead of night, strike that, WHEN my kids need something in the dead of night, they know that dad will be as helpful as log, while mom will likely kindly come to attention and walk out to the kitchen to fetch a cup and some water.
If you do not have kids you may read this and think, "Wow, that does not sound fun. I never want to have kids." Well, the reason why all of us that have kids can laugh at these massive, seemingly inconvenient occurrences is because we have also experienced the....there is no other way to say it....sheer magic that is children. It is an odd thing to be willing to die for someone you just met for the first time. They have not proven any kind of reliability or trustworthiness or kindness or anything else that normally designates one person feeling love for another. Not only have they not extended these desirable characteristics, but in reality, up to that point they have been what we would normally consider an inconvenience; uncomfortable, costly, and intrusive. Yet, contrary to all of this, you love them more than yourself the moment they exist. And that is only a fraction of the capturing the actual magic that you go through as a parent.
It is a privilege and a honor to be the person that gets to care for children during the day. We get to witness the beauty and wonder of watching these little ones take in the world around them. We get to watch these little flowers bloom. Fathers, what your wife does is nothing short of amazing. You will only understand once your stand in her shoes, not for a few days, but a few months. Mothers, do not miss the blessing of getting to be with your kids all day and the honor of being the one that gets to shape them. As they say, this time goes fast. Which reminds me...time to turn off the tv which will release the Normandy assault once again. Back to the grind!