We all know kids are great. They're adorable, funny and charming in an oops-I-forgot-pants-but-aren’t-my-Peppa-undies-cute kind of way. We just love, love, love those tiny people, right?
But another thing I adore about them — and there’s really no way for me to say this without sounding like a monster — is the endless stream of plausible excuses and alibis they provide us for nearly every occasion.
For example, I used to talk to myself. Not a crazy level of self-discussion, mind you, but more of a completely sane and (probably) healthy under-my-breath murmur. But once I had a baby, the clouds parted, the angels sang and I no longer had to converse with myself.
Now while shopping I'll ask, “Which shoes do you like better, sweetie? Should I get the black ones or the grey?” Even though I have absolutely no interest in the fashion opinion of my 3-year-old. She wears boots with swimsuits and thinks all shirts should have the "Paw Patrol" puppies emblazoned across the front. Yeah, like I’d trust that kid.
So instead of agonizing over the decision alone, I can talk through it out loud without looking bonkers. Because I’m not talking to myself — I’m talking to a fellow human. Granted, she is a human who wouldn’t be at all surprised if she saw a unicorn in the parking lot, but a human nonetheless.
And come on, parents. Haven’t you been less-than-sad when your kid has had something come up that’s gotten you out of an event you weren’t particularly excited about attending in the first place? I don’t enjoy snotty noses or cleaning up vomit — ever — but if I have to do those things, they’re a little more tolerable if they allow me to "sorry, sick kid” myself out of a mom-required meet up with weirdo ex-neighbors from my childhood who I don’t even remember.
Don’t judge me. We’ve all been saved by a practice, a game, a field trip or a recital. “That is such a bummer, you guys. We would love to go to dinner, but Matthew has a game.”
Thank you, sweet Matthew, for having a game.
I’m the most grateful for the cleaning excuse, though. To be fair, I’ve never been a scrub-the-baseboards or vacuum-behind-the-refrigerator girl — even pre-children. I’ve also yet to find the glorious fountain of free time that allows for such thoroughness. There are at least 729,598 things above vacuuming-behind-the-fridge on my to-do list.
But having a toddler gives me a 24/7, rock-solid reason for why my house might be messy.
Toys all over? Her fault. Dishes in the sink? I’ve been chasing that little angel all day and haven’t had an extra second to wash out my glass. Didn’t get around to vacuuming? She hates the vacuum so I wait until she’s asleep. Those are all straight up truths, you guys; my nose doesn’t even grow!
If you also add in all of the times I’ve been able to blame a food stain on my clothing on the kid — I eat like a hungry toddler and cannot be tamed — my child has paid off in dividends.
I mean, yes, she’s sweet and funny and I love every little fiber of her being, but the excuses she provides are freaking gold.
Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.