Being A Parent Means Being Nicer

I think kid-chasing is part of what makes parents nicer. Strange, I know.

I like to think I have nice friends. But lately I’ve noticed that people I knew before they had kids are different as parents. They’re nicer. And a lot more tired.

During a recent visit to my hometown, I got to see eight college friends in this new light. At a pool party, I drew some interesting contrasts between our past and current lives.

Then: The guys thought chasing was drinking something after taking a shot.
Now: They tried to hold conversations while running after their toddlers.

Then: The girls monitored every morsel that went into their mouths.
Now: They compared how much nutrition their kids were getting from dinners of Cheez-Its and organic chocolate milk.
Also Now: The moms were happy just to have a chance to eat. If what they ate was also healthy, well then bonus.

Then: Everyone recounted how much they drank the night before.
Now: Everyone recounted how many times their kids asked for a drink before finally going to bed.

Then: Going out before 11 p.m. was nerdy and getting up before 11 a.m. was insane.
Now: Going out at all is insane and getting up after 8 a.m. is a blessing.

As for being nicer, I have theories. First, I think the new need to look out for someone other than yourself extends beyond the baby; it makes you more aware of others in general. Plus, you’re more interested than ever in what other adults are doing. You’re a lot quicker to remember that someone had a big presentation due at work or is returning from vacation because you want to live vicariously through your pals.

You’re also much quicker to ask for help or advice, and it’s always great to feel needed. Not only does having a friend ask you how you kicked your kid’s gas problem enable you to use multisyllabic words, it makes you feel like maybe, just maybe, you know what you’re doing.

Finally, parenthood is another common denominator. If silence settles in, you can always talk poop.

Stephanie KanowitzStephanie Kanowitz is a mother of two who moonlights as a freelance journalist. A Florida native now living in Virginia, she has worked as a copy editor, web editor, and freelance writer and editor since earning a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida in 2000. In 2006, Stephanie earned a master's in News Media Studies from American University in Washington, D.C. She writes about arts and culture, business, fitness, real estate, and technology, and she's also done several celebrity Q&As. Stephanie also teaches Spinning classes at local gyms. It's the one time a week when she can tell people what to do without them answering back. To see her work, please visit stephaniekanowitz.com.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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