Having kids does weird things to you.
The gravity of being the one responsible for the care and development of another human being can be overwhelming. The role of responsible “grown-up” can make you terribly paranoid, overly strict, and endlessly stressed-out.
In other words, completely Adultitis-ridden.
A woman named Johanna recently described this transformation on her blog:
I realized I had Adultitis when our second child was born 6 years ago. Bugs were icky, mud was too dirty and craft projects too messy. I thought to myself, when did this happen? I used to love playing with bugs and especially, my all time favorite childhood past time, making mud pies. That same day I took my then one and three year old out into the backyard to play in the mud. The process to heal myself of Adultitis has been at a standstill. This year my resolution is to find something more exciting to do with the dear husband than walk around Costco on date night.
I’m sure that many parents can relate to this turn of events. One day we’re free spirits enjoying life, and the next day we’ve turned into our parents. When you’re the one responsible for laundry, mud pies don’t seem so appetizing anymore.
Too often we resign ourselves to a life that is void of fun and adventure.
But that is not your only choice! It is not an all-or-nothing proposition.
Having kids gives you permission to be goofy, and to do things you probably wouldn’t have felt as comfortable doing before you had them. Building snow forts in your front yard. Dressing up for Halloween and going trick-or-treating. Demonstrating “proper technique” when using a Slip ’n Slide.
One of the most important responsibilities of any parent is to keep their children safe, teach them how to function in society, and discipline them when necessary.
But the truly fortunate kids are the ones who also have parents who take the time to get down and dirty with them, to teach them not to take themselves too seriously, and to treat life as the adventure it is meant to be.
Sometimes it seems like that person is long gone.
If so, have no fear. You’ve got some pint-sized teachers living in your house that I’m sure would be happy to show you how to make a proper mud pie. All you have to do is let them lead and have some fun.
After all, I’m pretty sure that’s why God invented washing machines and laundry detergent.
[ This article originally appeared at Dad-O-Matic, the awesomest blog for Dads on the interwebs. ]