I hope you had a very Happy Easter, if you celebrate!
As I sit here watching my kids eat The Easter Breakfast of Champions: Cadbury Mini-Eggs, Sweet Tart Jelly Beans and egg-shaped Whoppers, I realized something.
While we all aim to raise good global citizens, challenge our children to become the best they can be and hopefully teach them a thing or two about being independent, we spend a lot of our time as parents lowering our once-high standards.
Stay with me.
Before kids: our standard for a good night’s sleep was 8 to 9 hours of solid, uninterrupted slumber.
After kids: our standard for a good night’s sleep is one in which only one child wakes instead of two, where 5 hours sounds blissful and where I don’t voraciously attack my husband with a pillow because of snoring.
Before kids: our standard for an excellent meal was a 6-course chef’s tasting at a hip urban restaurant – with wine pairing.
After kids: our standard for an excellent meal for our children is one green bean (consumed after heavy berating and threats of no video games), some crackers and 8 pieces of salami. For us, an excellent meal is one in which both of us has gotten to eat 3 to 4 bites of hot food (usually discarded shrapnel from our kids’ plates) before having to pour another glass of juice or settle an argument over who gets the last Oreo Double-Stuf.
Before Kids: a proper vacation involved purchasing a new wardrobe, boarding a cocktail-laden flight to somewhere warm and relaxing, and spending 6 to 7 days (or, in the case of our honeymoon, 3 weeks) of high-end food, gambling, sightseeing, hours of tennis lessons and adult conversation.
After Kids: a successful vacation involves traipsing around a hot, crowded amusement park populated with the People of Wal-Mart and getting photo opps with every licensed character imaginable. Bonus points if no children are lost, if you sneak in one beer at dinner, and if you don’t have to call your kids ungrateful spoiled brats the entire time.
Alone Time Standards
Before Kids: alone time was a time of rejuvenation, reflection and an opportunity to pursue one’s personal goals to achieve a more fulfilled self.
After Kids: alone time is a period in which you wonder what to do with your alone time, which results in copious list-making of all the things you didn’t do during your non-alone time.
Arts & Culture Standards
Before Kids: culture meant center seats to Wicked, listening to live jazz or whiling away hours at a museum.
After Kids: culture means listening to “Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy” for the eleventieth time today, debates over whether the marker stains on the wall could pass for abstract art, and an eerily intimate knowledge of all things Bieber.
And so, in our efforts to make our children some of the best and brightest of their generation – to raise their standards of what humans can be – we lower our own.
And it’s all good.