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.

More

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

Someday, future Americans will look back on this era of school shootings in bafflement and disbelief—not only over the fact that it happened, but over how long it took us to enact significant legislation to try to stop it.

Five people die from vaping, and the government talks about banning vaping devices. Hundreds of American children have been shot to death in their classrooms, sometimes a dozen or so at a time, and the government has done practically nothing. It's unconscionable.

Keep Reading Show less
Education & Information
via Hollie Bellew-Shaw / Facebook

For those of us who are not on the spectrum, it can be hard to perceive the world through the senses of someone with autism.

"You could think of a person with autism as having an imbalanced set of senses," Stephen Shore, assistant professor in the School of Education at Adelphi University, told Web MD.

"Some senses may be turned up too high and some turned down too low. As a result, the data that comes in tends to be distorted, and it's very hard to perceive a person's environment accurately," Shore continued.

Keep Reading Show less
Education & Information
Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign, is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

truth
True