10 Things I Never Wished For Before Kids but Want Now

It's one of those meaningless truisms of the before: people tell you, with a sigh or a smile, that life changes once you have kids. Sure, you think. Whatever. You're tired of the advice before you even give birth. And then kids happen, and you're so busy you can't even see the change, aside from all the new fluids and messes. I certainly didn't.

But after five years of raising children, I routinely use the phrase kid-friendly. I never used to care about a restaurant's ability to serve children, and now I tell people which ones are "so kid-friendly." It's the same with stores and other public places; I tend to separate them into which places are good to go with kids and which are not. It matters to me that our neighbors are friendly, protective, and present and that there are children living on the streets around us. Before kids, I never really understood just how much time I would spend at zoos or other children's birthday parties. Or how something like naps could make your day or ruin it. And these days, I grasp the dreamy promise of appliances, those machines in your house that supposedly make the work there easy. Here's to the boring, mundane things you never thought were special before kids:

  • A large washer and dryer in your house. Because everything is dirty all the time. And when kids are sick, a washer is your only hope for sanity. That stuffed bunny your kid just vomited on? Throw it in the washer.
  • A fenced-in yard. Being able to let your kid roam knowing they can't leave the property is worth a lot. Until they figure out the gate latch.
  • Tinted windows on a car. Ditch those annoying suction shades.
  • A high-rider. Having a car with some height so you don't have to bend down to get kids into car seats. Self-opening doors are a total bonus. A remote start for those who park outside in winter: heaven.
  • Night-lights. Little bedtime miracles that work. Most of the time, anyway.
  • A faucet fountain. Replace your faucet aerator with a bubbler and get rid of the bathroom cup no one ever washes. Also, your kid can get a drink, like, whenever.
  • A dishwasher. Shorter dinner cleanup, no washing baby bottles by hand.
  • A stroller you can push with one hand. How else will you drink your coffee?
  • A bathtub. Hands down the best place to entertain kids at the end of a long day . . . keeping your hands free for a drink.
  • Slip-on shoes and boots. For your own feet. Because putting on shoes while holding kids is hard.

What makes your list?