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50 Perks of Having Kids

Watching your child become independent -- and even surpass you in some ways -- is the most incredible life experience you will have.
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A post entitled "100 Reasons Not to Have Kids (That I Discovered After I Had One)," by Anjali Joshi, was published here on May 1, 2014. The post was funny and well written, and anyone with children can relate to at least some of her items.

Yet... somehow... I felt prompted to compile a different list. There are many valid reasons not to have kids. In my mind, though, there is really only one reason to have them. That one reason, in fact, is probably the reverse, summarized, of Ms. Joshi's hundred reasons not to.

And that one reason to have kids is this: So that you can practice selfless giving. Because there are pretty much no guarantees with children, other than that you will definitely be doing a lot of selfless giving.

There are, however, quite a few perks that come along with children. So here is my short list of 50 perks of having kids:

  1. You have an excuse to indulge your cupcake obsession.
  2. You rediscover the fun of licking chocolate from your fingers.
  3. You rediscover the pleasures of sinking your feet into warm sand; of blowing bubbles in the bathroom; of drinking Slurpees outside in any weather.
  4. You are excused from forced pleasantries.
  5. You get a free pass on looking perfect all the time.
  6. You get daily cuddles.
  7. Someone actually enjoys hearing you tell the same stories over and over.
  8. You never lack for company.
  9. Someone (besides your mom) loves you unconditionally.
  10. Random strangers smile at you when you're out with your kid.
  11. You get to dress someone else up in cute clothing.
  12. You realize, if you didn't before, that you matter; your life matters; your choices matter.
  13. You appreciate your body and all that it can do.
  14. You realize that you are beautiful.
  15. You develop a heightened sensitivity to beauty everywhere.
  16. Someone will visit you when you're old.
  17. You learn that you are far more creative than you knew.
  18. You learn that coffee is truly awesome -- at any temperature.
  19. You experience daily the full range of human emotions; no Shakespeare needed!
  20. You realize you are actually capable of being quite generous and self-sacrificing.
  21. You have less free time, but somehow manage to accomplish more.
  22. You pick up your old board game habit, and remember the reason you spent all those winter evenings playing Monopoly and checkers.
  23. You gain perspective -- enough to maybe forgive your siblings for childhood grief.
  24. You learn to forgive yourself.
  25. You can take comfort in the mundane.
  26. You feel a kinship with all mothers.
  27. You look at your mom with renewed respect.
  28. You get to experience the joy of watching your parents interact with your child.
  29. You're prompted to call Mom to thank her for making your school lunches all those years.
  30. Mom is so pleased at this, she invites you to dinner.
  31. You are unexpectedly, fondly reminded of your long-forgotten My Little Pony castle and Rainbow Brite sticker collection -- the envy of all your friends.
  32. You can wear sparkly nail polish and blame it on your kid.
  33. "Quiet time" is not just an empty lull in your day; it is treasured space.
  34. Your day is decidedly lacking in "empty lulls."
  35. Monotony and boredom are replaced with excitement and wonder.
  36. Thunder becomes awe-inspiring.
  37. Snow, ants, construction sites and fire trucks become spectacular phenomena.
  38. You look at pigeons differently.
  39. You have a captive audience in whom you can instill your passion for baseball, ballet, karaoke, whatever.
  40. You develop an amazing tolerance for, ahem, rather unpleasant physical sensations.
  41. You realize there's a lot you don't know and can't explain, so --
  42. You look things up more.
  43. You read more history, politics and science so that you can better explain things.
  44. You become less intellectually lazy.
  45. You are humbled to realize that, despite all this, there are some things you will still never quite grasp.
  46. You rethink your own priorities and values.
  47. Watching your child become independent -- and even surpass you in some ways -- is the most incredible life experience you will have.
  48. You have endless chances to learn the lessons you're not quite getting.
  49. You have an intimate, treasured, irreplaceable, life-altering relationship.

And, of course, the obvious:

  • Your heart expands daily with a love more exquisite than you thought humanly possible.
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