16 Unexpected Perks of Having a Kid

Parliament Hill, Ottawa, October 2013

Par­lia­ment Hill, Ottawa, Octo­ber 2013

Ten min­utes of free time feels like a life­time of oppor­tu­ni­ties. Oh, where should I start? Pee­ing in peace with the door closed, hav­ing a smoke, check­ing my email? So many options!

You learn to com­mu­ni­cate effi­ciently. For instance, at home, “sssss” and a quick eye roll means “get the bed ready I think he is pass­ing out”. Arched eye­brows means “he pooped”. And we can have a full argu­ment in a whis­per. Talk about a valu­able life skill to have!

My arms have never been so toned, prob­a­bly from push­ing the stroller (and yes, I have cal­luses on my hands too!) and hold­ing Mark. Who needs to go to the gym when you have a tod­dler? And bathing him is equiv­a­lent to a full yoga ses­sion, except the stretches are less gen­tle (and you get more wet).

You can make fun of your kid. Feng and I love to imi­tate “Mark who bumps his head against the floor try­ing to lick it”, “Mark walk­ing and crash land­ing” or the mini-tantrums he throws when he can’t reach something.

The kitchen floor has never been cleaner. Before, mop­ping was an after-through, a chore I would under­take if I felt domes­tic. Now it’s a neces­sity if I don’t want to step on mashed bananas or carry crumbs everywhere.

Tired of tak­ing pic­tures of the same old land­marks? With a kid, you never run out of cre­ative moments. It’s like hav­ing your own free photo model with you all the time. Mark learned to smile on cue when he was just a few weeks old (should I feel bad about that? Meh!).

You get to ride the car­rousel again and you don’t look like a weirdo (even if you have to pre­tend you are doing it just for your kid). You also get to explore McDon­alds’ play­ground (bonus for not get­ting stuck in the slide!). And you can do Halloween!

Occa­sion­ally, you can jump the queue, espe­cially at the air­port. And instead of being pissed off, strangers smile as you and your kid as you walk to the front of the line with the stroller.

Any mun­dane activ­ity that should take a few minute of your time takes at least three times that. Ever tried to fold the laun­dry with a kid? Don’t. But on the plus side, time goes by faster and there is never a dull moment.

You can blame any screw up on hav­ing “mommy brain”. For­got to pay your credit card? Blame it on your kid! Warn­ing: this works well for the first few weeks/months, not so much after.

You make most old folks smile. It makes my day every time we walk by the retire­ment home close to the house, when Mark waves at ran­dom peo­ple and older folks take the time to have a chat.

Kids are a great con­ver­sa­tion starter. Like, when they grab some ran­dom dude’s shoes at the play­ground or when they reach for some­one else’s gro­cery bas­ket at the super­mar­ket. Okay, that’s kind of embar­rass­ing too sometime.

You gain a new appre­ci­a­tion for any­one who works with kids. Seri­ously, kind self­less souls choose to spend their days edu­cat­ing a bunch of tod­dlers? They should get paid bil­lions of dol­lars. At least. And it should be sub­si­dized, of course, because I can’t afford daycare.

You gain a bet­ter rela­tion­ship with your in-laws. Well, not nec­es­sar­ily bet­ter but… dif­fer­ent. Instead of dol­ing out advice about your work, your health and your life, they focus on their one and only grand-child. Sure, they may screw up your edu­ca­tion but mean­while you get some peace and some much-needed alone time. So what if they dress Mark like a baby girl and feed him too much? It’s a small price to pay, right?

You gain a new appre­ci­a­tion for your own par­ents. I have no idea how mine dealt with the three of us in a tiny apart­ment with lit­tle money and full-time jobs. And raised us right.

Is there any­thing cuter than baby clothes? No, I don’t think so. Unfor­tu­nately, they aren’t priced by how lit­tle fab­ric is used for these tiny out­fits. But hey, you can look, right?


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I think you’re the first par­ent I have heard who has said that their house is cleaner now that they are a parent.

    p.s. I think by edu­ca­tion you mean child-rearing or par­ent­ing, right?

  2. You get to ride the car­rousel again and you don’t look like a weirdo.” Just tonight I met up with a friend in front of a car­rousel, and I jok­ingly said that we should ride it. Once in a while I say this lightly when the oppor­tu­nity arises; I hope that one of these days the other per­son will take me seriously.

  3. Great post! I don’t have a kid yet but i com­pletely agree at “You gain a new appre­ci­a­tion for any­one who works with kids”! Spend­ing half a day with 10–20 tod­dlers and try­ing to teach them basic things like eat­ing with forks/spoons looks stress­ful ! Also i gained new pro­found respect for par­ents in gen­eral because deal­ing with kids and tantrums and teething is SO TOUGH !! Kudos to you and all parents!!

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