When we are kids life is carefree. We bounce from day to day with a sense of wonder. Our reality set in when we would want something (sometimes as simple as a box of Fruit Loops Cereal) or want to do something (stay up 30 minutes past bedtime to watch a show) and have our world come to a crashing halt with one simple word: NO.
Do you remember how much your feelings would get hurt or how angry you felt when you were denied? How many of you argued with your parents about it? How many of you claimed you hated them or wished that they were dead? Kids can say very mean things in retaliation. How many of you said “I can’t wait until I’m a grown up so I can get the things I want”? How much did you hate the explanation for that dreaded No? If you don’t remember it went something like this:
Child: Can I spend the night at Margie’s house? (or any other request)
Child: Because why?
Parent: Because I said so.
Child: That’s not fair!!!!!!
Parent: Don’t you raise your voice at me!
Child: I don’t know why I can’t spend the night at Margie’s. Her mom said it was okay!
Parent: (trying to remain calm) I said no. That’s it. You can spend the night another time. Go watch TV.
Child: Mooooooooooooooooooooom….why won’t you let meeeeeeeeeeeee!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Parent: (losing it) If you make me say it one more time you are grounded! GO WATCH TV!
How many of you swore you would never treat your kids that way? How many of you hear your parents falling out of your mouths now, especially when you tell your kids No? How many of you realized that when you reached adulthood that you got a bum deal and in some respects kids have it a lot better? Adulthood is just so unfair. I can’t wait to be a kid again…what do you mean I only get one turn? I don’t get a do over?
I couldn’t wait to be a grown up. I got my wish. I now understand the statement that youth is wasted on the young. If I knew then what I know now, I might have had a better appreciation for things I just assumed were a given as a kid.
As a child no time was more miserable than being laid up in bed with an illness. That usually meant a trip to the doctor, a shot, perhaps a lollipop and the dreaded prescription medicine. No kid wants to take the medicine. I remember not wanting to take the medicine. I remember complaining about it. Thinking back on I realize this: In order to make taking medicine easier the companies flavored it so it wouldn’t be as unpleasant on your young taste buds. Some of the flavors were grape, orange and bubblegum. As an adult the flavor of prescribed medicine is medicine. Really? Just because I am grown up I suddenly don’t care if the medicine has a nasty taste. If the drug companies were smart they would flavor the adult versions as well. Do you want to take something with a nasty medicinal aftertaste or would you rather have medication that is flavored? I know I would. How about grown-up flavors like “Sex on the Beach”, Vodka with Cranberry and Sangria? I think you’d look forward to getting sick then.
Breakfast Cereal Prizes:
Do you remember how excited you would get when there was a prize in your box of cereal? You would be in the grocery store with your mom shopping and you would see that box of Capt. Crunch on the shelves. Earlier in the day you saw a commercial saying there is a special ring or action figure toy in the box. You lost your mind wanting that box of cereal so you could get that prize. You got so excited that you would start eating that cereal as soon as you got home so you could get to that treasure tucked in at the bottom of the box.
Why don’t grown-ups get a prize in the bottom of the box? Why doesn’t my laundry detergent come with a prize. After all the loads of laundry I’ve washed don’t I deserve a treat? Why can’t I have a coupon for a free Starbucks coffee? What about tampons? They should come with prizes, maybe they could give you a small bag with 5 Hershey miniature chocolates in it. Guys if you are reading this : Trust me, we desrve the treat. What about dish detergent? After all the loads of dishes you’ve done and meals you’ve prepared for your family you should get a very special prize. There should be a court order demanding that you be taken out for a very fancy dinner…without the kids.
Your class reunion is coming up and you don’t have a decent pair of heels to wear. You have been saving for the last 3 months by skipping lunch two days a week. You finally have enough for the shoes that you want.
Around this same time your child needs a new pair of sneakers for P.E. class. At the beginning of the year you bought your child’s school clothes at Wal*Mart or Target because they were affordable. Your child argued the subject with you. All their friends got their clothes at Gap or Aeropostale. You simply could not afford it at the time because other, more pressing bills were due, like the car payment you now have because the old vehicle died and you just had to re-finance the mortgage on your house. You enter Payless Shoe Source and your child’s spirits wither before your very eyes. All of their friends are wearing name brand clothes, your child is not. Their heart was set on Nike sneakers. Your child lets you see the disappointment in their eyes. You get guilty because you know you saved some money for yourself. You know you cannot, in good conscious, purchase the heels you have been saving for and send your child to school without the Nike Sneakers. You have a good kid and you want them to have nice things because you love them. You take your child and buy them the desired sneakers. You now have 48 dollars left from the money you put aside and wonder what the hell you’re going to do. You go to Payless Shoe Source because they have great deals on heels although the selection is limited.
These two are out of the mouths of babes:
1. It’s not fair! You get anything you want!
I get anything I want (this goes for all you men too) Let’s make a list:
Washing machine and dryer. Very exciting! Now I can stay home and do laundry! While the laundry is going I can clean the kitchen, do dishes, dust, clean the bedrooms, go pull weeds in the yard.
Vacuum cleaner. Luxury item! I know, right? Never mind that I had to get it because the old one finally sucked up one too many Lego pieces and I have been trying to sweep the carpet.
Lawnmower. What family doesn’t want one of these? Can you think of anything more fun to do on your weekend off than yard work? Especially since the only thing on TV is Football or Nascar. Who the hell wants to watch that?
Mini-van or SUV. These are much more stylish than a little convertible 2 seater and so much more fun. Now I am going to use this extravagant new toy and go on so many new adventures. I am going to take the kids to school, soccer practice and games, to sleepovers, on field trips, to dance classes, to my job, to the PTA meetings and to buy groceries. I know the kids envy all the fun I am having. As a bonus I get, prepare yourself, you are going to go green with jealousy, CAR PAYMENTS!!!!!!! Could you just die?
2. How come you get to do everything you want?
Here is a little list of all things I know that adults just can’t wait to do.
Go to work. It is so much fun getting out of the house everyday and working a 40+ hours week. Then after work you get to come home and cook dinner and do dishes and tidy up around the house while being a real hard ass on the kids insisting that they do (cue ominous music) homework!
Go grocery shopping. This is every adults favorite activity, just walking up and down aisles of food that get more expensive (or so it seems) every week. You have to become a math whiz trying to figure out how to stretch your food dollar so you can feed a family of 3 or 4 for a full week. I know! Is this is a crazy idea or what? You also need to calculate and include the snacks that the kids will require. I guess I can wait another 2 weeks for that manicure I wanted because I am going to splurge in the grocery store and get milk, eggs, butter, hamburger, green beans…..
Attend P.T.A. Meetings. Nothing is more thrilling than coming home from a full day of work, trying to feed the kids early and get showered and changed to attend one of these meetings because you want to be involved in your kids education. The kids cannot understand why you want to go to (cue ominous music again) their school, land of misery, books, tests and homework. They figure as adults we go places like this because we are just weird and they hope we won’t embarrass them in front of their friend’s parents or teachers.
Date Night. This one I am not making fun of and I think all couples should make time for these. Life can be so hectic with work and family that we can forget to take time for ourselves and each other. This is unhealthy for a relationship. You set aside a night that is just for the two of you. If you have kids either send them to grandma for the night or hire a sitter and go out. Just the two of you. My husband and I make date nights. We do not have kids but our work schedules consume a lot of our time. Sometimes date night may mean we just stay home, have a nice dinner and get in bed and enjoy a movie, other times we may go out, or we may make time to be intimate. The point is we make time to be with each other without the burdens of our normal everyday life. Along with this, make sure for at least and hour or two (at least every two weeks) that you make some Me Time to do things for yourself. It may be a hobby, a day to go shopping, going out for lunch with a girlfriend or getting a facial and manicure. You deserve a little pampering.
When we are kids we feel that lots of things are not fair. To kids it is in the here and now and their young minds do not see the big picture, we sure as hell didn’t. When we grew up we realized just how unfair some things can be. These things were not in the plans. Which things? Stress, work, finances, insurance and bills just to name a few. Kids, you’re right, it’s not fair and as you reach adulthood you’ll realize just how unfair some things can be. Many of us would love to have another shot for the simplicity of our childhoods where we didn’t have a care in the world and a headache was something you took an aspirin for.