As my kids get older I realise that they have left me with a lasting legacy of thoughts and words which I never used to have before they came along. Kids change you in many deep and profound ways I know. You may be a more compassionate person now; you may be more patient and you may have developed a whole raft of new skills. Maybe having kids opened your eyes more to injustices in the world; maybe you now see things that you didn’t see before. You may have developed a new understanding of your own parents and your own childhood. Perhaps having kids has been healing for you in some way.
Kids certainly help us to know ourselves better because they challenge our beliefs and assumptions and they force us to draw on inner resources we didn’t know we had.
But I’m going to ignore all that and share with you instead all the trivial, amusing and irritating changes; the pavlovian responses which are probably now with me for life. Here we go:
I can’t see any new sturdy form of food packaging without imagining the model that could be made from it
I can’t do anything fun yet educational without thinking: ‘The kids would really benefit from this!’
I can’t see a tractor in a field or on the road without saying to the person I’m with: ‘Tractor!’
I can’t look at macaroni without seeing a child’s necklace
I can’t do something I feel quite proud of without thinking what a good role model I am
I can’t drive down a road overhung with trees without thinking gleefully: ‘Tree tunnel!’
I can’t use my sellotape dispenser without thinking: ‘This was the best thing I ever bought when the kids were little, it really helped their independence when it came to making models out of cereal packets and toilet rolls’
I can’t see a coin on the ground without automatically thinking excitedly: ‘There’s one for the money jar!’
So there you have it: a whole raft of unbidden automatic responses which were not there before I had kids. Kids change you in ways you can’t imagine before having them, but the changes are not all deep, profound and meaningful, as I think I’ve demonstrated clearly here…[bctt tweet=”Kids change you in ways that you can’t imagine before having them.”]
There’s another automatic reaction I have which I really enjoy and this one is in response to media stories. I can’t hear any latest scare story about ‘what parents should really be doing’ or ‘what you’re not allowed to do during pregnancy’ without an automatic unbidden flood of relief that I didn’t know that at the time.