My Top 10 Favorite Things About Being a Grownup

My kids are always talking about how cool it will be to finally be grownups. They’re always wishing time away, even as I’m begging it to slow down. It made me start thinking about this whole grownup thing I have going on.

Sometimes I get bogged down with the responsible side of grownupness. Bills and insurance and the blah blah blah of existing as a human in the twenty-first century. 

Sidebar: seems to be a lot of blah blah blah, am I right?

Today, I’m thinking about what my kids must see:

1. I get to stay up as late as I want. And I don’t have to take a nap. Unless I want to.

2. I can eat cake for breakfast. Or lunch. Or whenever I want.

3. I get to pick out my own clothes. 

4. I can use the computer. All. The. Time.

5. I get to watch Netflix. Whenever I want.

6. Who decides if we’re going out to eat? This girl!

7. I can drive a car. Which means I can go anywhere I want.

8. I have my own money. I don’t have to ask anyone for it or wait til my birthday to get money to buy things.

9. I don’t have to go to school anymore.

10. No one’s the boss of me.

Yeah, being a grownup is pretty amazing. 

What do you think the best part is?

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Top 10 Things I Forgot About Being a Kid

I’ve been pondering some big things lately. 

Mr. Wonderful had to be gone for a few days. This means I’ve been spending even more time with my kids. (How is that even possible? I work from home!) It also means Mama’s in charge of meals, a terrifying prospect. I’m in that weird zone where kid rules are starting to make more sense to me than grownup ones. A little Playground Justice might do us all some good.

Let me start this list off with a disclaimer: since I’ve been under the influence of children for so many days, though this would make sense to a seven year old, it may not make sense to you. 

Let me also say I miss Mr. Wonderful. Sigh.

Since I forgot to do a Top 10 Tuesday List (due to the aforementioned extra time with kids I’m sure), here’s one for Thursday, even though it doesn’t sound as good. Here are the Top 10 Things I Forgot About Being a Kid:

1. Dancing Can Solve Nearly Everything. Having a bad day? Throw on some tunes and dance those problems away. Doesn’t matter where you are, just bust a move.

2. Skip Everywhere. Or Jump, Flip, or Twirl. Why walk when you can do anything but? I even have a kid who occasionally must do a cartwheel out of sheer joy.

3. Clothing Is Optional. Clothing is really just an accessory, like earrings or hair bow. This means epic battles at our house as I try to convince whoever’s decided to be The Nudist that we really must wear clothes in public.

4. Anything Can Be a Toy. Doesn’t matter if it’s a piece of trash found in the neighbor’s yard or a nightlight (I’ll have to do a post solely on this terrifying moment that happened just yesterday), it will be turned into a spaceship or a pet before you can say, “Is that a diaper?”

5. Anything Can Be a Weapon. Kids don’t always get along with their brothers and sisters. Sometimes a weapon is necessary to get your point across. Especially if you’re one of the littler ones. I have a seventeen-month-old perfecting his aim with projectiles of any type: cups, binkies, motorcycles. If he wants your attention or if you took away his toy pay attention or you may get smacked in the head.

6. Lots of Noise is Preferred. And all the time if you don’t mind. Singing nonsensical syllables (over and over and OVER) or banging a toy against something your Mama dearly loves or screaming because you thought you saw a spider (lint from the dryer) and then continuing because it just felt right is how these kids roll. 

7. Ask Questions. Constantly. And be sure they are question that actual rocket scientists haven’t discovered answers to. Why does my arm do this? Does God have a beard? When will I get hair on my face like Daddy? (Hopefully never, you’re a girl.) What does heaven look like? I’ve estimated through complex parenting math formulas that I answer about 32,459 questions every day. And one of my four still doesn’t say much…

8. I am Awesome. Kids just look in the mirror and like what they see. They think they pretty much rule in the looks department. And they do. We could all learn from this kind of confidence. Which leads us back to #3 and Mama harshing their vibe when I try to enforce the “clothing in public” rule.

9. The Only Things to Fear Is the Dark. There’s no such thing as bad bosses or mortgages or economic crises in the lives of kids. There’s no worry about strangers or people with guns or deadlines. There’s just the dark and all that can be conjured up with a vivid imagination. And the cure for that fear is always the light. I think there’s a lesson in there for grownups too.

10. Everything is Hilarious. Laughing all the time, even while sleeping, is par for the kid course. The baby hurling projectiles? Funny. Farting? Drop to the floor hilarious. Making monkey faces? Ok, stop, they can’t breathe! There is something to smile about in every situation. Another lesson, I’m just saying.

I’m remembering a lot of things I’ve forgotten. Important things, it seems. Good thing I have these four munchkins to remind me.

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer 2015) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Top 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me in My 20s

1. Travel. Spend a lot of your money and time traveling when you’re young. See how others live. It’s how you develop compassion and learn that there is always someone worse off than yourself. This will, in turn, make you appreciate being you. Learning about other cultures and religions and customs helps open your eyes and your heart and your mind. Time and money spent on this will never be wasted.

2. Do Your Secret Dream. You know that thing you love to do? That thing that makes you stay up late and rise early just to find time to do it? The first love that you dream about while working at your “real” job? Find a way to do it for real. While you are unencumbered by children or mortgages or demands of career advancement, do your thing. See if there is a place in your world any way you can to do this secret dream so that you won’t get into your thirties or forties or even fifties and look back with regret that you didn’t do your thing from the beginning. You’ll have less time and energy and more responsibilities later that will make the road to your secret dream much longer and more bumpy.

3. Be Choosy in Who You Love. The whole “love the one your with” is ridiculous. I’m sorry to take such a hard-nosed approach on this one but it is better to be alone than with the wrong person. You may somehow wind up married to the one you’re with (it seemed like a good idea at the time…) so be sure the one you’re with is worth marrying. If not, see #2. You need more time for that anyway.

4. Have a Plan (but you don’t have to have everything figured out). If you float through your twenties without a plan, you may end up somewhere you didn’t want to go. I’m not saying things have to be written in blood or stone, but get a general idea of a direction. And then go that direction. I’m convinced that any direction is better than apathy or complacency with your current situation. If you’d rather be working as a real artist rather than a sandwich artist when you’re in your thirties, get started on that in your twenties. Understand that your twenties don’t last forever so use them wisely.

5. Get to Know Yourself as a Grownup. Who are you now? Do you like that person? If you do, congrats! You’re way ahead of the game and I’m not even sure why you’re still reading this. If you don’t, no worries-you’re completely normal. I suggest you spend some quality time with that person you see in the mirror. Take a moment to sit down and ask yourself what’s important to you. If you can’t figure this out, you may not know yourself very well so get to know yourself better. And if that’s the case, pay particular attention to #3.

6. And Then Embrace Who You Are. Once you figure out who you’re supposed to be becoming, embrace the best parts of yourself and hold onto them for dear life. And those gross parts, those things about yourself you want to keep locked up in the closet-work on them, be vulnerable with them, and then embrace them too. Maybe you don’t love some things about yourself, but I bet the things that you are most hesitant to share with the world are the things that will make you most endearing to those who truly love and appreciate you for you. Follow their lead and give yourself a break.

7. Start a Roth IRA. I’m not one to give financial advice or do math on this blog. But I have heard of this thing called compound interest and I know if you start with small amounts they add up over time. You think you can’t afford to start in your twenties? Wait until you have the aforementioned kids and mortgage. Start young and small and just trust me on this. Your forty year old self will thank me. And you.

8. Use Sunscreen Every Day. Your skin is gorgeous and pliable and unmarked by scars of that glorious sunshine you don’t even think about now. Want to avoid things like wrinkles and skin cancer? Just slather it on your face and neck every single day before you walk out of the house. Make it part of your routine. You will not regret this choice in any way so just do it! How many other situations in your twenties can you say that about?

9. Feel the Fear, Do It Anyway. Those things that you really want to do (see #2-6)? Things that scare the hot mess right out of you? They’re probably actually good for you-you just can’t see it yet because you don’t have a lot of life- or self-experience. These might be those life-altering things that will bring you great personal joy or self satisfaction or glory or riches or rainbows or unicorns. But you won’t know til you take the leap. It might feel terrifying, but if you feel a layer of excitement and intrigue underneath the fear, it might be a good leap for you to take.

10. Be Adventurous (for these are the stories you’ll be telling the rest of your life). This goes hand in hand with #9. Being adventurous doesn’t mean being stupid. But it can mean taking calculated risks. It can mean leaping, jumping or diving for that thing you really want. Maybe in your job or personal life or school or introspection. Only you can decide where your adventure will take you. And if you have no adventures to speak of, you will never be invited to parties in your forties, a fate worse to consider than death when you’re twenty, I realize. You will be more interesting, more engaging, more satisfied and more joyful if you live a life full of adventure.

Don’t wait for life to happen to you. Embrace it with a sloppy wet kiss that will surprise you both. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

Top 10 Reasons It’s Awesome Being an Older Parent

1. Your memory is not that great anymore but that’s okay. It just means you forget nearly as soon as it happens when your kid floods the bathroom, or finger paints all over the house.

2. Remember the jobs you had in your early 20s? Being a sandwich artist, part-time musician/student, and playing piano for a boys’ choir were some of the job highlights of my early 20s. I’m just sayin’.
3. What you lack in energy you make up for in wisdom. Now instead of jumping up to go get the baby from his bed when he’s crying, I just send the oldest kid to do it.
4. No one mistakes you for the babysitter.
5. You know how to enjoy things. You don’t rush around anymore, mostly because you can’t.

6. You have had a professional life, so you know getting people to do what you want is nearly impossible. This is very helpful with children.

7. You’ve paid for the mistakes you made in your 20s that were reflected on your credit score. It’s possible you may even own a home now.
8. All of the money you blew on shoes and alcohol and other luxury items for yourself now goes to a good cause: your kids.
9. You are more patient than you were in your 20s and 30s. This is because you are more tired.

10. Your children can serve as your IT people. Let’s face it, they already know more about technology than you ever will.
Being an older parent is the best gift I’ve ever given myself. It doesn’t matter that I squandered part of my youth; my kids are showing me every day what it’s like to be young at heart. How to take a moment. How to enjoy the present.
I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world. This is exactly where I need to be.´╗┐


Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015

10 Ways You Know You’re an Older Parent

1. You join your kids for a dance party in the living room and your bones ache the next day.

2. You don’t see anything wrong with eating dinner at 4:30 and you justify it because you have little kids who go to bed early.

3. When you go to your preschool age kid’s class party you wonder why so many high schoolers have babies these days.

4. Your kids are impressed that you know answers to “olden times” Jeopardy questions about the ’80s. The 1980’s.

5. You’re exhausted. All. The. Time.

6. You go through the whole list of kid and dog names before you call the right kid. Then you forget why you were calling them in the first place.

7. Kids you once babysat for have kids older than yours.

8. You realize when your mom was your age you were applying to colleges.

9. Your high school friends are posting pics on Facebook of their kids’ graduations and their grandkids.

10. You’re trying to stay out of reading glasses while you still have one in diapers. 

It ain’t easy but I’m blessed! Tomorrow I’ll be posting my Top 10 Reasons it’s Awesome Being an Older Parent. If I remember…

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015