By Laura Simon

I keep hearing this myth that having kids will keep you young.

I don’t know about that. Every day when I wake up, I discover that my gray hairs have invited more like-minded friends. At this point, they vastly outnumber the dark brown former occupants. I can’t understand why these young women are dying their hair silver on purpose. When real gray shows up, it’s no picnic, I promise.

So, keeping me young? No. My children definitely don’t do that. But they DO keep me humble.

Case in point: the other day, my oldest was snuggled up with me on the couch. I was answering a question while he listened to me intently. And then he interrupted to tell me, “Mommy, your teeth are crooked.”

Well, thanks kid. Do you know why they’re crooked? Because after suffering through three years of braces, I failed to wear my retainer with any kind of regularity. Thank you for pointing out the results of my youthful stupidity. Remember this when you get your braces off and I do retainer checks every night until you finish college. I’m serious.

Last week, my middle son delivered a double whammy. He asked to cuddle, curled up next to me, and pointed to my roots. “Why do you have that line in your hair?” he wanted to know. And then, because it isn’t bad enough having your six-year-old point out that you need to get your roots done, he rubbed my belly and said, “Your belly is so squishy, Mommy.”

Again, thank you so much. That squishy belly stretched to three times its size to accommodate your nearly-ten-pound infant body. I can do planks and crunches for the rest of my life and that squish will never totally go away. Also, I hide chocolate in my closet to eat after you go to sleep. I’m sure that doesn’t help.

My three-year-old daughter wins the big award in the insult category, though. I tried to take a bath the other night, and she found me within thirty seconds. I kept telling her to go find her father, and she kept coming back. “Mommy, are you relaxing?” “Mommy, why is the water so hot?” “Mommy, can I get in, too?” And then she delivered her fatal blow.

“Mommy, are those your boobs?

“Um, yes.”

“Mommy, I have boobs, too. Only mine are up here.” She paused and pointed to her neck. “And yours are down there. By your belly button.”

For the love of stretch marks and cellulite, why must children have so much to say? If you’re still in the newborn stage of parenting, I recommend developing a thick skin now. It’s not that my children are being mean. They’re just asking observant questions about the things they see, and they seem really good at noticing all the signs that my body gets older by the second.

On the upside, these same kids regularly tell me how much they love to snuggle with me. They tell me I look pretty (apparently even with the overdue roots), they compliment my outfits on the rare occasion that I wear something other than athleisure, and they randomly thank me for things I did without thinking. Apparently you can have a squishy tummy and saggy boobs, and your kids will still think you’re a good mom.

Thank goodness.


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