The Greatest Exchange

I remember way back when we were first married. You know, Before Kids. There are some things I seriously wonder about from that time period. It's kind of like childhood. You just don't appreciate it for what it really is.

Before Kids, I cleaned the house and miraculously it managed to stay that way until my husband threw his socks on the floor or I left a glass in the living room. Sometimes the dog got every single one of his toys out and didn't put them away, but for the most part there was a place for everything and everything was in it's place. Why did I not realize that this would be a short-lived phenomenon and enjoy it? Better still, take pictures of it? That would I could show them proudly to myself and reassure myself that I can actually clean a house and make it look nice. See? I did it before and there's the proof.

And the simple task of getting clean. Why, oh why did I not relish every single second I was in the shower, and every single drop of water that hit my skin? Because now I either have to fight off the already naked toddler peeking around the shower curtain trying to get in with me, or wonder why I'm not. (The latter is the worst. One day my mom sense made me get out and look. Sure enough, he was running up the driveway toward the road as fast as he could toddle.)

And I can't fail to mention food. I enjoyed cooking, baking and creating in the kitchen. It was such a joy to mix something up and sample the results. Even sharing these creations with my spouse was wonderfully fulfilling. Now, not so much. I mix, mash, stir and cook only to be met with much disapproval and criticism. My very favorite line is "I like all the foods in that casserole, just not when they're mixed together." I've learned to hate cooking intensely. I mean, when every effort is met with varying levels of dislike one soons loses any desire to keep going. But let's set aside the kids' complaints for a moment and focus on the food itself. Before Kids I could eat food and enjoy it. It was glorious. But my metabolism died somewhere in the 13th month of my first pregnancy and now I cannot eat celery without gaining a few pounds. Why did I not eat more desserts when I could?

I'm here to testify that kids do, indeed, change your life. In ways one could never begin to comprehend. But in the end I guess I wouldn't trade any of my kids for all the clean houses or skinny jeans in the world.


**A big thank you to everyone who sent good wishes for my birthday. It was truly great - I got a nap!**

27 comments:

Madame Queen said...

First, did you have a good birthday? I hope so.

I know what you mean about the constant complaints about dinner. It really gets old after a while. I started telling Bubba that he could think it, but DO NOT say it out loud. I DID NOT want to hear it. Also? I've told him on many occasions that if he doesn't like it, then he can cook. That quiets him down pretty quickly!

Karen said...

Thank you for the good birthday wishes, and yes I had a wonderful day.

Meals are one of my hot buttons. But the cooking thing has backfired on me. The kids will gladly get up and make a PBJ, leaving yet another mess on the counter, then snack all night because that sandwich did not fill them. It's truly a lose-lose.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Happy day after your birthday!

It took my husband a long time to have Alexis, over five years. Fortunately, I knew to enjoy what we had at the time, but that still didn't prepare me for the frustration that is never actually seeing your house clean. I mean, I suppose it's possible. I could take a day off of work, clean in the morning, and enjoy it for ten minutes before everyone got home, but that wouldn't be worth it.

As for the meals, I don't even try to make everyone happy. Eat it and shut up, or you're going hungry. That goes for the husband, too, since he's the worst culprit.

Johnina said...

Oh the things we give up! I guess we can enjoy them again when they all move out and we're too old to. Then we'll miss all the caious. I guess in the long run we are never just satisfied.

Shellie said...

I know!!! I used to like cooking and cleaning too, now I feel the same as you, especially the I wouldn't trade it part!

The Sports Mama said...

I would kill for a nap. Seriously.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I've learned to hate cooking too. Not that it was my favorite thing to do anyway. And I JUST SAID last night to the food critics that live in my house, "that it would be nice, just once, to put dinner on the table without everyone complaining about what was put in front of them. And NO one ever makes ME dinner!". I give good guilt.

Lulu said...

Luckily, my husband is the cook in our family. Otherwise, we would all starve. And my son is 18 now and he's still almost as picky as he was when he was 5!

Karen said...

Sports Mama - it's a rarity that I indulge in on birthdays and other such occasions. Napping is a much coveted luxury. I'm still trying to make up sleep from the baby stages so many years ago.

Kellan said...

You are so lucky to have those 4 beautiful children!! But, it is true - having children changes everything! Have a good day - Kellan

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Yes, my kids have trained me to hate cooking also.

And a nap would have been just what I wanted on my birthday, too! Isn't that pathetic?

Andrea said...

Happy Belated Birthday!!! Hope you had a great day!!!

I too must clean my house about 5 times a day, and for some reason it never "looks" clean. I pick up a toy and another one finds the floor!! Time goes by fast and soon we will all have our houses to ourselves again. I enjoy the messes while I can!! :)

kimmy said...

Glad you had a nice birthday. A nap sounds absolutely wonderful!!!

I know what you mean about cooking. I still love to do it, but it can be frustrating! One day, while I was cooking supper, my son walked into the kitchen and said, "What's that stink?" I said, "That stink is your supper!" And then, on other nights, he will rave about a box of macaroni and cheese that I made! I just can't win! AHHH!

Kimmy

Flea said...

Oh, y'all are just preachin' to the choir about the little food critics! I've taken to sending my 10 year old to bed without dinner when he complains about the food. One missed meal won't hurt him. And I sure don't want him doing it to his wife one day!

But I was never one to clean the house. I've actually gotten better with time. Especially now that I have munchkins to help. :) I'm a bad mom.

Cecily R said...

First of all, clean house is rarely a phrase I say about where we live. CleanER, maybe. Never totally clean. I've seen it happen in other people's houses, so I know it's possible. The whole housekeeping gene didn't happen for me.

Secondly, I'm with you on the cooking front. I try to come up with stuff that everyone can agree on but I rarely succeed. Sigh.

Bia said...

I often ask myself those very same questions, but my favorite of all is this: "Why, oh why, did we not travel more before having kids?"

But, parenthood changes us as people, so when my toddler snuggles on my lap or on of my older sons gives me a hug, then I think "Who needs Rome? or Paris?"

But I can still reminisce . . .

That's a lovely photo of your children. They don't look like they'd complain about your cooking!

God bless.

ALF said...

oh man - I'm not ready to have kids!

KIDZMAMA said...

Hey, happy belated birthday!! I can use my out-of-town excuse, right?

I have to say that my hubby cooks, and cooks very well. BUT he is out a couple of nights a week and then I'm in charge. Fish sticks, chicken nuggets, cereal, and "if you can make it yourself" is all I can do right now. And the cleaning thing is just over rated. Clean if people are coming over, if not, live comfortably.

utmomof5 said...

I wish I had enjoyed those days a little more than I did! Isn't it amazing what we trade in for sloppy kisses and runny noses!!

Christina

Maria said...

Happy belated birthday! I'm glad you had a great day. You deserve it. Before kids? I can't even remember it! Really! I remember being little, then all of a sudden I had all these kids!

Jen said...

What a great post! I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog.

Oh, and the picture of your family in the sidebar looks exactly like its taken at my DH's uncle Darrell's cabin in Idaho.

Deb in OPKS said...

Clean house before kids? Nope, can't say we ever had that. I can never seem to get out of the clutter. Oh and cooking! I love it when I spend hours making a meal that everyone turns their nose up to but a box of rice-a-roni with chicken and I'm the world's best cook! Thanks a lot. My husband is great though and eats stuff that isn't his favorite and helps keep the kids comments in line. I recently told my middle daughter that she could not come in the kitchen with "What's that SMELL" So now she says something like it smells good even though I know she's not thinking that. At least she's trying. She's only 5 after all.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

I hope you had a great b-day. You say Before Kids. I prefer a more universal BC (Before Children) and BC makes it seem like things happened 10000 years ago. Cause our own lives really did take place WAYY back then, right?

Colleen said...

I don't just get the complaints about the food ("no mommy! I-dun-wanna-eat-a-da-yucky-noooodles!"), but somehow, even though I work full time and have a longer commute than hubby, I get the "why isn't this house ever clean???" Like I'm the only one making a mess in the house. He's the one that won't pick things up...he just kicks them to the side of his walking path or throws things away (without looking at what he's throwing away!!! ah! coupons! bills! permission slips!). So I feel your pain. I wonder sometimes if I was at home (even just one day a week!) if I could at least get the house to a liveable level of filth and maybe construct one meal a week that is not only healthy, but is one that will be eaten without complaints. At least now that the kids are a bit older, you can put some of the basic chores on them (bathrooms, vaccuuming, etc.). I can't wait for that!!!

girlymom said...

I missed your Birthday-

Happy Birthday to You!
It is so true how much children change your lives, but I am with ya, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I shower- that would be nice, a nap- now were talking...a shower and a nap- unheard of! :)

Lainey-Paney said...

...this makes me think about...back when we were pregnant w/ Gage. I would register for a certain swing b/c the colors went well w/ the living room colors. Or, the bouncy chair b/c the colors were neutral....
turns out---now I have a living room littered w/ rainbow colored toys... Rainbow goes w/ EVERYTHING!

...and the toys are EVERYWHERE!

linds said...

Happy Birthday!

I love this post. Having children does change your life in so many ways. Although there are frustrating moments, the good totally out weighs the bad!