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8 Things You Really Appreciate Now That You're a Parent

Can you even remember what life was like before you had kids? Before you had that little angel on earth whose smile can cut through a bad mood and warm your heart with the power of a thousand suns?

SURE YOU CAN.

It was a life of simplicity, satiating selfish desires, slow drawn out dinners at places with French names, and lots and lots of chill time. You didn't have to worry about anyone but yourself. And certain things that would soon become important had never even crossed your mind.

Here are some things that you couldn't give two rips about, that had absolutely no effect on you before you birthed babies, but now have an impact on your life far greater than you dare say. We can all appreciate how much life changes once you have kids.

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1. People holding the door open for a stroller

Before kids, when you needed to enter a building, any building, you simply opened the door with one of your two free hands and walked on through. Now, it's like being forced to play a vertical game of Twister with a heavy door, a City Mini, meddling little body parts and your sanity. Childless people: When you hold a door open for a mom or dad either pushing a stroller or leading a trail of kids into a store or restaurant, you have added at least three full days to their lifespan.

2. Changing tables in restaurants or any public place

Before kids, if you happened to notice the Koala Kare apparatus on the wall of the big stall, you were probably like, "Oh that's cute."

Before kids, you never thought about the shock, horror and foulness that would someday come with having to change your back-arching, leg-flailing baby's poopy diaper on your own lap while you yourself are sitting on a dirty, public toilet. You never envisioned yourself contemplating putting the changing pad on the floor, but then deciding that you'd rather have poo on your jeggings than hepatitis on your baby. Before kids, if you happened to notice the Koala Kare apparatus on the wall of the big stall, you were probably like, "Oh that's cute," finished up, then went back to your table to eat your bbq rib combo. Now, when you don't see it, you die a little inside, get poop on your jeggings and then lose your appetite. No ribs for you.

3. Reinforced walls

OK maybe this mattered to you when you were single, but only for very single reasons—i.e. you had crazy, loud, INSANE sex and you didn't want the neighbors (who were probably parents) to be jealous. Now, you don't have as much time or energy (or your husband didn't take out the garbage and you're pissed!) to do that sex thing as much or as crazy (FML) as before, but you need those thick walls now more than ever to avoid getting evicted. The rest of the tenants in your building do not think it's cute anymore that your 3-year-old sings "Girl on Fire" at the top of her lungs or that your 13-year-old son loves bumping trap music. Oh, and there's the "NO I DON'T WANT TO EAT THAT!" scream on repeat. You are never borrowing flour from any of your neighbors. Ever.

4. Butcher paper table cloths

Pre-junior, your stance on paper-covered tables at restaurants was, well there probably was no stance. Maybe you got a little excited when the server wrote his name upside down in crayon with a smiley face right on the table at Macaroni Grill, but the appreciation usually stopped there. Now, when you're being led to your table and you see that paper table covering freshly laid out for you, you smile, because that means you may at least get five minutes to dig into the bread basket in peace while your 3-year-old draws Peppa. Oh, how cute! Now draw her again over there. Now over there. And again over there…

5. Wide sidewalks

You will never care about the width of a sidewalk more than when you are pushing a big ass stroller down a busy city sidewalk that's as wide as a stick of gum while people push and smoke and cars whizz by. Your "pardon me"s will quickly escalate to "get out of my f**king way!" and you'll come out of it looking like you just left Fight Club.

6. Registers without candy and chocolate (do these even exist?!)

Now when you see the M&Ms and Nerds and you silently scream, "WHY ARE THEY THERE? WHY?"

When you don't have kids, a trip to the store is easy. You find what you need (want), go to the register and place your three items (goat's cheese, a bottle of red and some figs) on the checkout counter. You then pick up the US Weekly while you wait and look at pictures of Halle Berry ordering almond milk at Pressed Juicery. Oh, and hey, maybe you even throw some tic tacs up on the counter because they were just there and why not. Now when you see the M&Ms and Nerds and you silently scream, "WHY ARE THEY THERE? WHY?" Every sugary object your kid is willing to sacrifice a limb for is right at the checkout counter, right at your toddler's eye level. BASTARDS!

7. People giving up their seat to a pregnant woman or tired mom

Remember giving up a seat on the bus or the subway to a pregnant woman before you had kids? Sure, you do it because that's just what you're supposed to do. You were raised to give seats to pregnant ladies, moms and elderly people. But now that you are that pregnant lady or that tired mom, when someone gives up their seat for you or your kids, you want to embrace them, hold them tight to your bosom and cry grateful tears into their hair.

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8. Drive-thrus

A late-night drive-thru window being open after a wild night out is like, YEAH BRO! But a drive-thru of any kind that saves you from dragging uncooperative, young children into an establishment to do simple tasks like deposit a check, get a coffee, pick up dry cleaning or even get a Happy Meal (happens more often than I'd like to admit) is a true gift from the gods. Specifically, the god of "not losing your shit." He's a hard-working god in our house.

Photograph by: Andrea Wada Davies

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