10 mundane moments you'll totally appreciate if you're raising kids.

As a parent, it sometimes feels like you're supposed to be fueled entirely by selfless love and a "spiritual connection" to your children.

But you know what? You matter, too! And there's nothing wrong with needing a little soul-nourishment that doesn't end with you on your knees scrubbing barf out of the carpet.


Yes, it's possible to love your kids deeply but also be a little overwhelmed by what your life has become. It's totally normal to need a little more than just love to keep yourself going.

With that in mind, here are 10 things all parents can agree on about the tiny, but hardly insignificant, pleasures of the daily parent-grind.

1. You've determined that one and a half is the perfect number of drinks.

Perfection. Photo via iStock.

Drinking alcohol is fun! It's also a brief reminder of what it used to be like when you were allowed to have adult fun. But each drink also increases the amount it will suck if and when the kids wake up early or in the middle of the night.

The magic number usually tends to be around two drinks, less the half beer left sitting on your night stand after you've just given up and passed out, netting a perfect 1.5.

2. You hate washing dishes, but you love that warm dishwater.

Washing dishes while holding baby? Parenting level: expert. Photo via iStock.

Children are basically mystical fairies that fill your home with dirty dishes while you aren't looking.

Washing those dishes is an endless, thankless chore, but at least soaking your hands in the hot, frothy water feels kind of nice.

3. You know that silence really is golden.

...

No, no, don't ruin it. Just listen.

Ahhh...

4. You don't drive just to get places.

Me too, Ryan, me too. GIF via "Drive."

Most people think cars are just motorized hunks of metal that take you from Point A to Point B.

Parents know that they are, in fact, complex machines designed to make children fall asleep while you pick up dinner at the drive-through, or even just drive aimlessly through an area without a lot of stoplights.

5. You cherish the days where nothing happens.

GIF from "Seinfeld."

Getting up, going to work, eating dinner, and going to bed. That's all we really want.

Any day where no one gets sick, injured, or inexplicably, inconsolably cranky is a success.

6. You also love Mondays. (Really.)

Me on Monday morning. Photo via iStock.

Having a young child is kind of like making a bomb out of household items and carrying it around with you. Even if you're really careful, there's a chance it might explode.

Monday (for many of us) means dropping the kids at school or daycare where, short of severe injury or illness, anything that happens after that is their problem.

7. You have a new appreciation for waking up naturally.

I barely remember what this feels like. Photo via iStock.

Being kissed awake by the sun's heavenly rays is so rare that when it does happen, you assume your child must have died in their sleep. But once you confirm that all's well and melt back into a peaceful slumber, there's no better feeling in the world.

8. You know that hot showers are everything.

See: Warm dishwater, silence.

9. You hang out with other parents to put everything into perspective.

GIF from "A Night at the Roxbury."

Hanging around a bunch of parents is amazing. Everyone's wearing sweats, no one's in shape, and showering is totally optional. Everyone's just trying to get by, OK?

And if you have to go home because your kid's having a meltdown, they're all too busy cutting food into small pieces or monitoring timeout to give you the side-eye.

10. You drink coffee like it is the source of all life.

BIGGER. Photo via iStock.

Drinking coffee doesn't really have the same effect as getting more sleep, but it's possible to convince yourself otherwise. Sometimes, though, you'll drink coffee too late in the day and have trouble sleeping.

The only solution to that? Yep. More coffee.

Being a parent is hard. It's OK to admit it.

It doesn't matter if you're tired. It doesn't matter if you're sick. It doesn't matter if it's your birthday. It doesn't even matter if you're tired and sick ON your birthday. (And you will be.)

At least, that's how it can feel.

But psychiatrist Gail Saltz told TODAY Parents, "You have to put your oxygen mask on first," so to speak. "If you go to pieces, everyone is going down with you."

That's why we're all so desperate for that spa day or for a beer with friends. But it might be a while before we can get one on the books.

In the meantime, it pays to look for the little moments in between that give us the juice we need to keep going.

We know that mammals feed their young with milk from their own bodies, and we know that whales are mammals. But the logistics of how some whales make breastfeeding happen has been a bit of a mystery for scientists. Such has been the case with sperm whales.

Sperm whales are uniquely shaped, with humongous, block-shaped heads that house the largest brains in the animal world. Like other cetaceans, sperm whale babies rely on their mother's milk for sustenance in their first year or two. And also like other cetaceans, a sperm whale mama's nipple is inverted—it doesn't stick out from her body like many mammals, but rather is hidden inside a mammary slit.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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