There are so many wonderful, beautiful, life-changing reasons to have kids.
But there are quite a few “bonus” reasons for having kids around, too. Whether you’re a parent or guardian, aunt, uncle, or grandparent, be sure to take advantage of these Top 10 Parenting Perks when you’re out with your little one. Go ahead, you’ve earned it:
1. Kids-Eat-For-Free Night
Did you know that there are some restaurants that have a night completely dedicated to kids eating for free!? Well, there are. Just Google it! It’s usually some time mid-week when the restaurant would normally be empty. And the best part? We all know that kids don’t eat (TIP: especially if you order something they don’t like). Tack on a dessert for them, and YOU can eat for free!
2. Every Business Now Has a Public Restroom
You know how, even when you waddled into that fancy shoe boutique when you were eight-months pregnant, and that snooty 20-something pushed up her designer glasses, twirled her hair, and said, “We don’t (like) have a (like) public restroom.” Well, guess what? They do now! Because, now, your toddler is standing just a smidge too close to those Manolo heels, holding her legs together.
3. Acting Crazy is A-Okay
Singing, dancing, whistling, or humming while walking solo would probably cause some bystanders to stare or whisper, “Why is she so happy/crazy?” Now, it’s perfectly acceptable to act like a loon in public. You can put on a full-cast version of The Sound of Music at your local cafe, playing each character, singing, yodeling. If your child is smiling, no one will care.
4. These Lucky Charms are For My Kids
Buy whatever junk-food you want for yourself. Just bring your sticky-fingered little one along! It doesn’t matter if Mr. Only-Eats-Apples-And-Quinoa-For-Every-Meal stares in horror at you, terrified that some of your calories and preservatives might jump into his cart. It doesn’t even matter if he assumes that you’re a terrible parent. He already thinks you’re a terrible parent, because your child swiped a copy of The Inquirer and is in the back of the cart looking at photos of Elvis being eaten by sea monsters.
5. Free Access to Theme Parks
If your child is under 3-years-old, they will most likely get in free to most theme parks. AND if you’ve been spending the last 2+ years raising one or more children, you may have enough wrinkles and gray hair to qualify for the senior discount! Go now! Run!
6. Gumball Machines
Have a hankering for gumball-machine Chiclets or a secret obsession with temporary tattoos? Repeat after me, in the department store, “What do I do with all these extra quarters I have?” Step back. Kid stampede!
As soon as you have your baby, I mean, even the next day, you can bring them to the toy store. You are in the club. You officially “have kids.” Long gone are the days of you looking too young to be a parent but too old to be buying Nerf guns. You have a baby with you, who could even possibly have an older sibling at home. Go ahead, buy the Lego Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer for your 2-week-old. It’s okay now.
8. Strange Smells
Don’t pretend like you haven’t done it. It’s the day after taco night. You back into a corner that you thought was unoccupied, because you “have the vapors.” When you turn around, a middle-aged woman is staring at you with a puzzled and disgusted look on her face. Simple solution: Casually glance down at your baby or child, and allow a confused frown to ever-so-subtly spread across your face. Then ask her, “Do you know where the changing room is?”
9. A Reason to Leave
From, “He needs a nap,” to triggered temper tantrums, when you have kids, there is always a reason to leave. When you run into that super-athletic mom at the park who asks if you want to get together Saturday for a “short,” 10-mile run, the list of potential excuses is equally long. Sure, some of the same excuses would have worked before kids, but it was clear then, at least in some way, you were putting yourself or other adult friends before this friend. With kids, you’re 100% justified in putting them first — especially if they’re puking or your partner has to work that day. Someone has to watch your child, and that someone can be you, any time you need it to be.
10. The Fun
Now, everywhere you go is an adventure — even the bottle-redemption center. Everything is a game. You interact with more people, like that woman in the ladies’ restroom who your toddler loudly insists is a man, and the check-out guy who “looks just like Papa, but shouldn’t Papa be at church right now?” Papa lives in another state. Embarrassing sometimes, sure, but I can honestly say that I’ve never laughed so hard than when I started spending every day with a kid.