My kids are currently out of town, staying with their maternal grandparents for 2 weeks. It’s incredible. They’re happy, the grandparents are happy and my wife and I have been whisked into this unbelievable world of freedom that I dared not believe still existed. I love my kids and I miss them, and it’s fun to send them on adventures and there’s a great sense of relaxation around here, even if I do miss their little voices and hugs and antics. It’s been great, and as it comes to an end, I’d like to offer some reflections, so…uh. Here they are:
Everyone knows that having kids changes your life. Everyone, before having kids realizes that it’s a big deal, a gigantic uptick in terms of responsibility and a real ‘get-your-shit-together-a-thon’ in general, but I don’t think people fully recognize the things that fall by the wayside when you have kids.
My childless friends ask me questions like: what are you gonna do? You’re gonna do tons of fucking, right? What else?” Well, here’s the thing…yeah. Fucking is cool. And having kids changes the way you fuck. You do it real fast while they’re watching a show or real quietly while they’re taking a nap. Fucking changes, but it doesn’t disappear entirely. So, yeah…fucking. That’s something to do when your kids are out of town, BUT it’s really more like, “hey, let’s fuck in the living room or the kitchen” because THAT shit, my friends, is completely out the window once you have kids (unless you want them to grow up very weird).
Now, that being said, after five years of stealth banging, the idea of just grabbing my wife and tossing her onto the counter seems kind of hilarious. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it also sounds awesome, but I’m really not sure how to broker the deal anymore. Back in my 20’s, when we lived in a tiny apartment, that was part of the DNA of how we hung out, but it hasn’t been like that for a while. One idea is that maybe we could watch some pornography in the living room, but see…that’s kind of pushing it, and as we meet up with our kids in only 3 days now, we’re on a time crunch and I don’t know for sure, but I don’t THINK women like to be pressured into watching porn in the living room so they can have distracted ‘is-this-staining-the-couch’ sex out there, especially if they are aware of the puppeteering that goes into such an endeavor, and, since we have kids, watching porn is an endeavor, not a casual thing that we do all the time. I mean, it’s worth a shot. But like I said before, fucking still exists here, so that’s not an entirely lost art to be rediscovered. There are other things that vanish completely when you become a parent, and THOSE are the things that it seems most important to capitalize on. Here they are:
Not coming straight home. Dude, I just got off work, I’m gonna maybe go have a beer, then call my wife and see what she’s doing and perhaps we’ll meet up for dinner somewhere. Whatever. Seems normal right? NO WAY! We have a nanny who is at our house, who’s costing us money every second we’re gone, and who, more importantly, has a life of her own that she wants to get to after hanging out with two savages all day. Any getting-a-beer or getting-some-dinner involves myriad phone calls, calculations, expense reports, logistical nightmares and constant, NSA style transparency about where everyone’s at both physically and mentally. The fact that last week I just rode my bike to a bar and my wife met me there later because she was around….THAT was fucking in the living room to me, people. That’s the shit you don’t get to do any more. While we’re on that subject:
Stepping out: I’m not talking about GOING out. We get sitters and go to shows, bars, dinner shit like that at least twice a month. That happens. But stepping out is a zero balance, no fucking chance, you’re fucked situation. Here’s what I mean. I’m home. The kids are asleep, because it’s past 730. My wife is working late. I decide I want to keep shit easy and just eat a frozen pizza and have a beer and go to bed. In the freezer, I discover there is no pizza. In the fridge, no beer. The store at the end of my block, the sign of which I can see from my back porch, sells both. But I cannot go get them. Because my kids are asleep. You cannot run to the store for pizza and beer and leave your sleeping children alone. It is what’s known as ‘criminal negligence.’ Even if they were awake, the task of putting them in shoes, strollers, bikes, carseats, whatever and then fielding questions about why we can’t also get ice cream too (or going to get ice cream too) changes the game so significantly from “stepping out” into “Giant Production” that it’s too much. I’ll eat frozen waffles standing over the sink and call it a day.
Running into places: Oh, good lord. Do you know how much time and energy it takes to take two kids to the grocery store for one lone item? Into the shoes, into the car, into the car seats, out of the car seats, why did you take off your shoes? Back into the shoes, into the cart, down the aisle for the box of Swiffer things, put down the candy, put down the candy, put down the candy. Why are your shoes off? You HAVE to stay in the cart. Because this parking lot is full of distracted drivers who don’t look for 3 foot tall maniacs zipping around. Back in the carseats, back out of the carseats, and then up the stairs. It’s way easier to just figure out how to live with whatever mess you’re in than to ever go get just one thing.
Deciding late that you want to go do something and then just going and doing it:
What if I want to suddenly take my wife to dinner? Or go get a drink or hit the gym? If it’s after about 5, no way. There is a regimen that starts at 5 which includes cooking, eating and enforcing the notion of dinner, baths, books, brushing teeth, maybe a show, and a tuck in. There is no way to fit any of your foolish notions about what you’d like to do in there. Fuck off with your ‘late dinner just because.’ It ain’t happening. You’ll sit there like the rest of us while we keep the goddamn machine going because well…there’s no other choice. These books about dinosaurs ain’t gonna read themselves.
Sleeping- You all know about how kids wake up early and have nightmares and all that stuff. You probably think you can relate to sleep deprivation and waking up early every morning no matter what, and maybe you can. It’s hard on the body, but it (obviously) can be done. The thing is, though, once you’re a parent, you just learn to sleep with one ear open at all times. You’re on 24-7 alert in case something gets weird in your kids’ rooms. If I hear as much as a wayward ‘click’ in the night, I am fully alert and awake immediately, and sometimes on my feet and halfway down the hall before I even know what’s going on. And that, my friends is hard to parlay back into ‘good, restful sleep. If that shit happens at 430, I’m pretty much up for the day. This week, I’ve slept like the dead every night. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done the night before, or how long I sleep. I feel the amazing miracle of real sleep replenishing all the oxygen in my blood and soul, just coursing through me and making me feel like a goddamn superman. It’s awesome.
So, in summation, here’s what we’re doing with no kids:
not coming straight home from work.
Not constantly coordinating everyone and everything at every second.
Deciding to just go out at the spur of the moment and just going out.
Running to the store real quick.
Taking bikes everywhere (I didn’t talk about this one, but it’s all part and parcel with not having to put kids in safety seats and just kind of letting shit roar in general)
And finally, meticulously calculating a plan for how to wind up casually boning in the living room or kitchen. On the off chance my wife is reading this, KIDDING! But if it DOES happen, I promise not to tell these guys about it.