The other night I was thinking about writing a "benefits of living a childless life" list, because one point popped into my head and I thought if I concentrated hard enough, more would follow.
The part of me that works hard to please everyone and piss off no one (must be liked; above all else, must. be. liked.) worries that this will sound like a big vat of whiny sour grapes at best, and smugly bitter at worst.
But the part of me that struggles daily to come to terms with this unplanned life is shouting louder today, so here goes:
1. We can (and do) venture out at all hours to wander through the neighbourhood on evening walks together.
2. Our rooms aren't decorated with anything in bright primary coloured plastic.
3. We only trip over our own toys.
4. We can (and do) lay about and read quietly on the weekends.
5. I never have to watch any DVD more than once unless I want to.
6. I don't have an endless loop of nonsensical songs sung by adults in matching jumpsuits playing in my head 24/7.
7. I can have a bath all by myself.
8. I can light candles without worrying that someone is going to get singed.
9. We can put breakables wherever we want.
10. We can stay out as long as we want.
11. We don't have to remember to spell out certain taboo words.
12. We can swear with reckless abandon.
13. No one here randomly pukes, pees or poos on floors, carpet or bedding.
14. We rarely get sick.
15. No one here hates going to bed.
16. No one here hates eating (we have the opposite problem...).
17. There is silence when we need it and only the occasional tantrum.
18. We enjoy uninterrupted sleep.
19. Our car is only dirty because we made it so.
20. No one requires entertaining (okay, sometimes I do...but that's My Beloved's problem).
There. Twenty things.
And yes, I know the list on the other side of the equation is far longer. But the fact remains that if you look hard enough, you can find just enough material to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
It might not be a pretty purse, or one you ever really wanted to use in the first place, but it can be done.
Even though I'd trade everything on this list in a nanosecond for just one great big hug from my boy, I still think it's a decent list. And a valuable exercise too.