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11 Perks of Parenting That No One Tells You About

People tend to only tell you the negatives about being a parent, but what about the positives? The perks of parenting? No one seems to talk about those things so let me be the first to share a list of the perks of parenting with you! There are quite a few perks of parenting and let me tell you, they make this whole chaotic parenting ordeal more than worth it!

Updated Sept. 2022

Image adapted from flickr user Donnie Ray Jones - perks of parenting
Credit: flickr user Donnie Ray Jones (Image coloring with filters)

The Truth About Parenting Babies and Toddlers

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 of parenting 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 this list of perks of parenting (without judgment) and see if any of these fit you. Then share your own favorite secret parent perk in the comments!

11 Perks of Parenting

Here are a few of the many perks of parenting:

  1. Kid meals for dinner
  2. Free excuse passes
  3. Shopping addiction approval
  4. Watching cartoons
  5. Always having a plus one
  6. You get to be silly
  7. Major confidence boost
  8. Carpooling
  9. You’re always prepared
  10. No shame play time
  11. Early flight boarding

Now for a bit of a deeper dive…

1. Kids Meals For Dinner

Before having a child I’d often look at the kid’s meal longingly and know I shouldn’t order it. Now that I have a child, I can order the kid’s 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 a drink for $7 in a kiddo meal) and simply share the kid’s meal with my daughter.

Since so many places are ridiculous and offer soda with a kid’s meal (and I have yet to kick that habit), I get 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). This is one of the most fun perks of parenting.

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 them for the baby. Even if you’re not really a shopper, per se, 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. Talk about a fun perk of parenting! 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. This one can be a pretty tasty perk of parenting.

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. Judgments 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 confident 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.

8. Carpool

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, carpooling 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 to be 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 bed sheets. You know about all the family fairs and free kid’s 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! Talk about a fun parenting perk!

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 a 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.

See? Parenting isn’t all bad like everyone seems to make you think it is. These perks of parenting really make up for the hard times!

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