Whether it's breaking your back to nurse your child in a super uncomfortable position, or missing your favorite TV show to watch your little one's favorite show instead, we do a lot as parents (big and super small). Though everything we do is very important to the development of our children, it's doubtful they'll someday remember all the sacrifices they didn't understand when little, which is exactly why little wins can be so huge as a parent. Because having a little one is a huge blessing, but it's nice to enjoy some perks that come with it, too. These are the secret benefits of having kids (aside from the kids themselves, of course) that parents enjoy. Scroll through (without judgement) and see if any of these fit you. Then share your own favorite secret parent perk in the comments!
1. Kids Meals For Dinner
Before having a child I'd often look at the kids meal longingly and know I shouldn't order it. Now that I have a child, I can order the kids meal "for her" whenever I want at really nice eateries where I may not be able to eat a whole sandwich or burrito (or want to pay $13 for said sandwich and burrito when you get a mini version with drink for $7 in a kiddo meal) and simply share the kids meal with my daughter. Because so many places are ridiculous and offer soda with a kids meal (and I have yet to kick that habit), I get a water for my daughter and drink the soda. I love paying $5 for a meal instead of $12. There are exceptions, of course. I still buy an adult meal and then share that with her most of the time, like when we go to Panera Bread (she eats the entire bowl of soup all by herself).
2. Free Excuse Passes
Haven't gone to the gym in a while? Need a shower? It's because you have kids, yes, and people (mostly) understand. But the excuses come in handy on the rare occasion when you don't want to go to a party or do something, too. "What's that? Oh . . . sorry, my little one naps at that time. That just won't work. Sorry!" (Use these in moderation, and be considerate of the people you care about, of course.)
3. No One Thinks Twice About Your Shopping Addiction
So you love to shop, huh? I couldn't tell by the giant closet of baby clothes. Suddenly you don't feel guilty about going to the store for new things because you need it for the baby. Even if you're not really a shopper, per say, after you have kids it's like there's a chip put in that makes you one. Suddenly everything that promises to help with parenting is a must, whether it's a mom-to-mom sale or from the store. Couponing only makes it worse. I get so excited about my Target couponing and clearance buys that I end up leaving with a lot more than I intended. I think buying diapers has something to do with this as well. I used to hate spending so much on disposable diapers (yes, sorry, I didn't stick with cloth), but after my daughter toilet trained I missed buying them. Buying diapers had become a habit for me . . . so I moved on to toddler shoes.
4. You Can Enjoy Cartoons Again
If you ever stopped watching kids shows (and missed them), you now get to sit and watch them all you want. It's OK to lounge around with a cartoon, because it's what the kids want to watch. It's even better when you can share a childhood show you loved when you were little with your kids now.
5. A Generous Plus One
Having a little one is a huge perk on occasions when a store or restaurant is giving out something and it's one item per person. When my daughter was just under 2 I took her to free doughnut day at Krispy Kreme with me (because she goes pretty much everywhere with me), and they gave her a doughnut too. I was not about to give her a doughnut so I got two! Now that she's older it makes a bit more sense for her to get her own items, but she still doesn't eat them all, or the item may not apply to her and I still end up getting two.
6. You Can Be All Kinds of Silly
Using a pretend accent or wearing crazy clothes can be totally OK when you have kids, because it's for the kids. Judgements on your lack of clean clothes or mismatched attire brush off a bit, and the admiration you receive when you look like you have it together is priceless.
7. Built-In Confidence
It's different for everyone, but after having my daughter I am more confidant about going on adventures and trips "alone" since I'm with her. I don't hesitate to speak up if I feel I need to, because she's watching, and because if something bothers her I want her to be able to speak up. Plus, aside from the work I need to do on my body by actually exercising, I don't have body issues because I have her. I'm a nursing mom, so don't look at my body the same as a teen or someone in college, or anyone who hasn't given birth yet.
I wonder if the people who came up with the idea of carpool lanes meant to write "two adults or more per car," for those traveling to work but wrote "persons" instead, not realizing this generalization would allow parents traveling with kids to fully utilize this benefit. Honestly, carpool is perfect for families with little ones, because the less time in the car the better (especially if your baby cries the entire ride, no matter how short). On the other hand, using carpool as a pregnant woman is a no-no since highway patrol officers state that you can only carpool if you have two (three if that's posted) or more separate persons in their own car seats within the car.
9. You're Always Prepared
Food accidents are no longer such a problem, because you have an emergency bag with backup clothes, wipes, and everything you could possibly need packed away in your car. All those diaper blowouts your child had as an infant led you to this — preparation. Just be sure you restock the outfits in your car, rotate them for the seasons, and check to be sure they still fit you and your child.
10. No-Shame Playtime
Now that you have a kid, you are free to play at the park with your little one as much as you want. You can draw on the sidewalk, get paint everywhere, and even make tents out of bedsheets. You know about all the family fairs and free kids events, and get to enjoy every activity with your little ones. Suddenly spending hours on a LEGO build is socially acceptable again . . . because you're bonding with your kid!
11. Early Boarding on Flights
Priority boarding for families is so amazing! There's no way a parent can climb over a full plane with car seat in tow, or keep their kiddo entertained while waiting for the line of people to board in front of them. Kids and parents need time to get situated and settle in before everyone else boards the plane and decides if they'll sit in that extra seat next to mom or dad.
What are your parent perks? Please share them in the comments!