Yes, my house is a mess because my kids mess it up, but I am also a piss-poor housekeeper, and I own up to it. There are things higher on my priority list than folding 15 loads of laundry—like making a mess with my kids. Yes, I dress like a bag lady, never do my hair, and don’t wear makeup. My kids do cut into the time I have to do all of the above (I haven’t peed alone seen 2008) but I am also comfortable in those baggy shirts and yoga pants, I never did my hair before I had kids, and I think makeup is a vicious cycle of goop that masks true beauty.
Yes, I have not lost all the baby weight, but it’s not because my kids don’t give me time to work out (and they don’t). It’s because my idea of a healthy breakfast is strawberries with great globs of 200-calorie-per-teaspoon Nutella on them. Yes, I have no social life and a lively Facebook thread is the closest I get to a party, but that’s because I have crippling social anxiety, not because I can only find a sitter once in a blue moon.
My point is that we keep trying to teach our children accountability, and then we won’t take it ourselves. We’ve done so, so often, that we’ve created an illusion. New parents are actually under the impression that if they have children they can’t have a clean house, keep up the appearance they preferred before kids, lose the weight, have a social life, go to college, have a career, or any other thing that strikes their fancy to do—because they have kids, time-sucking, life-ruining kids, and it is bull shit. No excuses there, it just is a huge, heaping pile of bull shit.
Kids are not a disability. Kids are like ankle weights on an early morning run, but they’re also the sun rise you see on the way, and the satisfaction you get when you’re done. They’re the challenge of a from-scratch cake, but they are also the flavor. Having kids is setting the game to hardcore and saying, “challenge accepted, bitches.” They are the perks won from succeeding.
All analogies aside, I’m saying, yes, kids are a challenge. Yes, they make things harder, but they aren’t the end of your life. Nobody said life was easy. Every time you blame a failure on your children or use them as an excuse, you’re not only setting up an inaccurate perception, your insulting your kids and letting yourself down, because that perception we’ve created doesn’t just live in others, it lives in us. It creates this shadow of doubt that stops us from leaping when we want to, makes us believe that we can’t when we can.
There was a time when I did blame things like my inability to lose weight on my kids. A time I woke up and said, yep, no time to work-out, better buy bigger pants, and that was the same bullshit, because even eating Nutella by the spoonful I have been able to lose weight, I just had to work hard to do it. I had to defeat my own excuses, take some fucking accountability and do it, but it would have been so much easier if I hadn’t convinced myself I couldn’t do it before I started because I didn’t have time, because I had kids. So, I’m telling you all now, new parents or old, expecting or not-planning-to-because of this same bullshit perception, it isn’t true. Kids are not a disability.