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This Is The Best Perk Yet Of The Baby and Mommy Life

Before I became a mother, back in the days when I was single and just starting to explore the world around me, I tried new things all the time. My adventures were large and small, and each helped me become the person I am today. I acted on stage, I moved to New York, I sang in a band, I even jumped out of an airplane—three times! Life was full of possibilities and being unencumbered meant that I could do whatever I wanted, when I wanted.

Even when I was newly married, my husband and I took advantage of our freedom. We took weekend trips to Catalina, open-air-jeep tours of the wine country, traveled Europe, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge—and back! After my children came into my life, it seemed that my world contracted. I was presented with new experiences on a daily basis. And although many of them were miraculous—holding my newborn for the first time, watching my son’s first steps, hearing my daughter’s first word, proudly witnessing my children receive achievement awards—many of those new experiences were no fun at all—changing poopy diapers, controlling catastrophic meltdowns at Target, scrubbing projectile vomit stains out of favorite blouses.

At some point over the course of those first few years with my kids, I realized that my life was ruled by two adorable, amazing, irascible, needy midgets. All of my new experiences, bad and good, were now connected to my children. I would never resent my kids for constraining me because that would make me sound, well, human, and I strive to be Super Mom. But honestly, there were times I felt stagnated and in a funk. Until…

Radiant family at the beach

One day I went to the beach with my kids. I set up my beach chair, laid out the towels, put up the umbrella to offer shade, then sat and watched my son and daughter frolic in the waves. I watched for a while, drinking in their giggling glee, and remembered a time, so long ago it seemed, when I myself skipped along the surf. After a while, my daughter called to me and implored me to join them. Her brother eagerly echoed her request. Reflexively, I shook my head no. There were no other adults frolicking. My bathing suit revealed my cellulite. I would look ridiculous. But then, I thought, so what? My kids want me to frolic with them. In a few years, when they’re teenagers, they likely won’t want to be anywhere near me. How long do I have left to play with them?


So I heaved myself out of my beach chair and lumbered to the surf, dipped my toes in the water and began to frolic. And guess what? It was one of the best times I’d had in forever. Since that day on the beach, I’ve made a point to take part in my children’s activities rather than be a spectator. After all, even if you have a baby and mommy becomes your new full-time, 24/7 job, it doesn’t mean that you have to forget about having fun. Bounce at the bounce house warehouse? You bet. Jump at the trampoline place? Absolutely. Ride the scream-and-vomit-inducing rides at the Fair? Of course, but before lunch, not after. Roll around in the muck at the mud park? Hey, they have showers nearby! I’ve seen every Pixar/Disney/Marvel movie, and I have to say, I loved every one of them and cried at more than a few. Phineas and Ferb? Brilliant. Monopoly? A hoot, especially when you own Boardwalk.

Family Playing Board Game At Home With Grandparents Watching

One of the best perks of being a mom is that we have a free pass to revisit childhood through our kids. We get to play, frolic, dance, bounce, dive in, get dirty, giggle, sing at the tops of our lungs. We get to show our children the joys in life and at the same time, rediscover those joys for ourselves.

I know that not long from now, when my kids go off to college and start their own lives, my husband and I will be able to traipse down to Mexico on a moment’s notice, or take a sommelier’s course, or learn to scuba dive, or try one of those jet-pack water things. But until then, I’m going to enjoy as much time with my kids as possible. I’m going to see old and familiar places and experiences through their eyes and share their sense of wonder.

And when they stand up on a surfboard for the first time, I’m going to be on the board right next to them.

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Janis Thomas
Janis Thomas is the author of three humorous women’s fiction novels, Something New, Sweet Nothings, and Say Never, which was chosen by Chick Lit Central as one of the best books of 2014. Janis has written over fifty songs, and two children’s books which she wrote with her dad. When she isn’t writing or fulfilling her PTA duties, Janis likes to play tennis, sing with her sister, and throw wild dinner parties with outrageous menus for friends and loved ones. Janis lives in Southern California with her husband, their two beautiful children and two crazy dogs.
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Written by Janis Thomas

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  1. This is so lovely (and true!) I was at the beach with the family this weekend and while I usually sit in my little chair and watch my husband and son dig a massive hole in the sand I actually got in there and helped (and it was awesome!) Like you said- raising kiddos is such an amazing opportunity to reconnect with the child within 🙂

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