While I’m folding wrinkled-ass shirts that I left in the dryer a little too long, or chiseling burnt bits off the bottom of a pan that I accidentally scorched because I had to stop stirring and wipe someone’s butt, I fantasize wildly. But nothing naughty — these fantasies always have a G-rating. As in, gee, I wish I didn’t have to do this bullshit over and over. I visualize maids, and laundry service, and myself doing nothing that remotely involves the drudgery of running a household. I’m not lazy, just tired of the endless, mindless, thankless tasks I perform day in and day out so that my family can look clean and smell decent.
And then, like pouring salt in a wound, I realize that there was actually a point in my life when I had all this stuff and didn’t appreciate it one bit. In fact, my kids are now living the same dream: a carefree life where the fridge miraculously refills with all their current favorites and they don’t have to know anything about taxes. Childhood is literally a span of years when people cater to your every need, but do children have any idea how lucky they are, how enviable their lifestyle is? No. They’re just complaining about the brand of socks they didn’t have to purchase themselves.
I mean, think of all the ways they’re living the high life:
1. People actually encourage them to relax.
Imagine living in a world where spending as much time as possible in your bed is a good thing. A world where people are happy when you sleep late and are totally on board with you going to bed early, and literally suggest that you snuggle into your comfy, cozy bed in the middle of the day. Whaaat?! This is the reality of being a kid, friends, but they have zero idea how awesome that is. Maybe if they’d realize that long, guilt-free daily naps are a luxury and not a crisis, they’d respond to the phrase “Let’s take a nap!” with something other than a meltdown of my-dog-just-died proportions.
2. They have in-home spa services.
While I’m over here shaving one leg (to the kneecap only) because there’s some sort of mini-crisis going on that’s more important than my shower, my kids can slip into a nice, relaxing, bubbly bath on the daily. And not just any bath, but one that’s enhanced with all kinds of fun stuff to make it more appealing: toys and tub crayons and character-shaped soaps that cost far more than my bar of Dial.
What’s more, they never have to tend to any other matters of personal hygiene, like getting a trim when their nails or hair get out of hand. Nope, mommy dearest handles all of them. But judging by the way they react when I come at them with clippers, like a pack of indignant howler monkeys, they don’t care that this is actually an awesome perk and they need to chill the fuck out and enjoy it. Hey kids, these things are called manicures and pedicures and haircuts and grown-ups pay people to do them. You, on the other hand, have your very own stylist on call 24/7 — for free — who automatically tends to your needs when your nails get long or your bangs get scraggly. So sit back, relax, and enjoy it like you’re paying to get it done. Only enjoy it more because you aren’t.
3. Their wardrobe is always on point.
As grown-ups, if we want someone to shop on our behalf and pick out the stuff we look best in, we fork over a fee. It’s called StitchFix. In a kid’s world, it’s called Mom, and it’s just another thing to gripe about — even though someone (me) lays out a coordinated, weather-appropriate outfit for them every day. And laundry? What’s that? Kids simply toss their dirty undies wherever the hell they happen to land, and like some sort of fresh-smelling miracle, they end up clean and in the drawer again. Presto. I, on the other hand, spend a depressingly large percentage of my time sorting, washing, folding, putting away, and removing odd stains (what is that, anyway?). If I had that kind of in-home laundry-slash-personal shopping service, I’d spend all my freed-up time marveling at how freaking lucky I was.
4. They have a personal chef.
Next time, my kids are picking the “yucky pieces” out of their food and complaining that they wanted cereal, I’d love for them to be slapped — with the realization that they’re living the ideal dinner situation, that is. They never have to stare blankly into the fridge racking their brains for something quick to thaw or endlessly browse Pinterest hoping for inspiration. They don’t have to budget, or clip coupons, or maneuver a cart through a BOGO sale at the grocery store, or plan a menu that caters to the ridiculously varied tastes of an entire family. Their sole job is to sit down at the table when you’re called. Literally all they have to do is show up. Not only do I provide their sustenance from concept to cooking, I also blow on it until I’m lightheaded, sacrificing the temperature of my own meal while I make sure theirs is cool enough to eat.
5. They have a chauffeur.
When’s the last time my kids wrangled their way through rush-hour traffic, irritation deepening with every red light, calculating shorter routes and hoping they make it to their destination on time? Or searched desperately for a parking space? Or navigated the fresh hell that is the school drop-off line? Oh, that’s right…never. Because they don’t have to drive. They can just chill in the back seat with their headphones or their tablets or their books or their thoughts. They couldn’t care less about the guy who just cut us off or the jerk parked in a no-parking zone — their chauffeur is there to handle that mess, right?
And when they arrive safely at the birthday party or soccer practice or Billy’s house or wherever you’re going, they don’t even have to tip. What’s more, when the event is over, their ride home will be waiting without them even scheduling it. Why? Because they’re lucky. That’s why. At this point in their lives, they never have to drive anybody anywhere (except for nuts).
No doubt, kids enjoy amenities that parallel the perks of the super-wealthy, but they’re blind to their own good fortune. It would be nice if they could appreciate the fact that they’re reaping the benefits of a live-in laundry service, maid, driver, chef, personal shopper, stylist, therapist, and the list goes on. But like the rest of us, they’ll wait until they’re all grown up and deprived of these things (or having to pay for them — ouch) to realize that, hey, this is a pretty sweet setup.
Appreciate them now, kids, while you still can…for those of us who didn’t.