Before becoming a parent, I never would have been thankful about another human’s bowel movement. I had things like promotions and hot dates on my list of things to be ecstatic about. Things like not feeling that hungover the day after the company holiday party or scoring a great deal on a Kate Spade bag I had been coveting left me wanting to express my vehement protestations of gratitude as well, but thanking my lucky stars that a tiny human finally shit after being clogged up for three days would not have made my list.
However, delving into parenthood gives you a plethora of new things to be thankful for. Some may even confuse you. You find you are thankful for the tiny victories, for the little wins that used to seem a little sad to us all. Hell, here I am in my jammies at 5 p.m. with kids who have no activities this evening and I haven’t been this thankful in a long fucking time. Sad or not, this is what heaven must feel like, and I am up to my eyeballs with feelings of thanks.
I first started noticing just how thankful I could become over little things, like seeing a pair of pajama bottoms that could pass as pants, a few days into parenthood. I had made it through a diaper change and my son didn’t pee in his eye. This saved us both tears; it is heart wrenching to see your child harm himself. I fastened up his diaper while chanting, “thank you, thank you, yes, thank you,” then proceeded to remind myself I was still a badass.
Here are some other little things that parents find themselves thankful for:
1. You make it through a shower without any visitors.
Hallefuckinglujah. Really, it happens so rarely that you get to shave both legs, trim up your lady bits, or give your hair a deep conditioning treatment that you can’t help but feel all the feels if you step out of the shower solo.
2. Your kids are super hungry.
This means that by the time your food gets served at your favorite restaurant, they all shut up and eat — which means you get to eat. Thank the heavens above, it is a miracle.
3. All of your kids fell asleep at the same time.
This one is more valuable than gold. Hang onto these moments, for they will be over quickly and you will be jolted back to reality.
4. You made it through the doctor’s appointment.
Not only that, but none of the kids called you out on all the lies you were spewing to the pediatrician about screen time and sugary drinks. You take them right home and give them some juice and turn on the television because they were so good.
5. You were able to finish a conversation with the hubs without being interrupted.
Pure joy. You decide you will make hot dogs and chips for dinner more often.
6. When your 4-year-old asks you to tell him “about the magic that makes us alive,” you handle it like a boss.
You don’t even stutter or hesitate. He is so grossed out now that he surely will not talk about it for another five years. Well done.
7. Your phone reminds you of your gynecologist appointment today.
You almost start to weep. These kinds of visits have become kind of refreshing. You get to lie down in a quiet room and have only one person poke at you.
8. Your kids played together for a solid half hour before they started throwing Legos at each other.
You were able to go to the bathroom alone. You had forgotten what it was like and feel like a new woman.
9. The first time those non-maternity jeans slide over your hips and you can snap them, you are elated.
Who cares if you look like a busted can of biscuits? You are going to wear those fuckers. You feel so good, you want to tape a sign to your forehead that says “These are pre-baby pants, bitch!” but you don’t. You just tell anyone that will listen.
10. Everyone slept in.
And by that, I mean nobody woke up before 6 a.m. You feel like you can do many great things — until the morning routine is over and you are delirious again. Getting kids out the door on time is a full contact sport. But yay! You got more sleep than you have in four years.
11. You jump for joy when you find just enough caffeine at home to get you through the day.
The fact you don’t have to schlep everyone to the store so Mama can get her fix is cause for celebration.
12. Nobody had to pee while grocery shopping.
You were able to get out of there a whole half hour faster than the last time. You now have the energy to cope with all the meltdowns they will have on the way home.
13. You got your teeth cleaned and still have 30 minutes before you have to pick up the kids at school.
You take your ass to Target, where being able to fly through the store alone is bliss. You feel like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music dancing on the hill. Thirty minutes of uninterrupted perusing is priceless.
14. A note came home advising you to check your child’s head for lice because it’s going around, but you escaped the nightmare this time.
You still throw all hats, coats, and clothes in the washer, and then get out the lice spray and spray everything in your home after marching your naked kids to the shower. Then you check their heads again. You are exhausted, but hey, no lice!
15. It is not your kid crying, throwing a tantrum, or acting like an asshole.
Of course they will have their turn soon, but not right now. You are so thankful, you can’t help but smile just a little bit.
Maybe parents lower their expectations, or maybe we are just expanding our horizons. I don’t care. Call it what you will. Anyone who has shed blood, sweat, and tears in the grocery store trying to get their 2-year-old to cooperate is so thankful when they do actually cooperate, they feel they deserve a promotion — only parents don’t get promotions. We instead get to be giddy about the fact our kids are lice free, or about the times they let us sleep until the sun rises in the East.
These little wins are what makes us realize how important parenthood really is to us. And I will take that over a promotion any day.