I work at a university, and I get a lot of unsolicited advice from college students on how I could be healthier and happier as an adult. It all seems so easy to them, and outwardly, I am always gracious. But deep inside, I want to lay into them about what real life in your 30s with three kids is all about. Here are a few examples.
"All that diet soda is killing you. You’d be a lot happier if you quit."
Somewhere between having kids and buying a minivan, 7 a.m. became sleeping in. Want to know why I drink so much diet soda? Because I’m exhausted from getting up in the night with pukey, boogery, thirsty children. They fight going to bed each night, and get up far too early. They wake me up in the night with poop and pee in their pants. Last time we spoke, you bitched because you only got 7 hours of sleep. Boo hoo. I get that much sleep in two days. I. Need. Caffeine.
"An iPhone 4? You need to update yourself."
Kiss my ass! I don’t have money to spend on phone upgrades and I don’t have time to figure out SnapChat. I know that most of your money goes to looking awesome, staying connected with friends, and getting laid. Good for you. Happy for you. My money goes to paying for insurance, a house payment, and baby food. Sometimes we order pizza, but it’s usually the kind you can get for $5. Listen. Someday you will have to lower your standards. Someday you will realize that it’s been almost a decade since you bought a new album, and unless your clothing has holes in it, you just make it last. You will worry more about your kid and bills than making sure you have the newest phone. That’s adult life. That’s what making family sacrifices looks like. But for know, enjoy your latest’s toy. Keep yourself updated. But please, stop judging 30 something’s for not keeping up with your dumb ass priorities.
"If you cared about your body, you’d switched to an all-natural organic diet."
Here are the problems with your advice. My kids have a huge influence on what I eat, and they eat three things: Dinosaur shaped meat, Mac and Cheese, and the marshmallows from Lucky Charms. None of that is natural or organic. I’ve tried everything short of prying open my kids mouths and shoving good food in. Last time I tried to give my son a burrito, he gave it a terrified look, as if the burrito were a long dark cave… And do you know how much organic and natural food costs? I don’t have money for plants that people cared about. I work in education. I have money for GMO’s. I have money for mass produced food. You know what, you are probably right. But honestly, my nutrition isn’t that big of a deal right now. I’m worried about making ends meet and not listening to my kids bitch every single meal because they don’t like the food.
"You always have white stains on your clothes. Don’t you care about the way you look?"
I always start the day in clean, stain free clothing. But then kids puke on me. Or they wipe boogers on my jeans. Deal with it.
"You should spend more time doing things you enjoy. Stop being a slave to your kids."
My kids are my life. I am not a slave to them. This is a labor of love. I want them in my life. I want them to be happy and successful, and for that to happen, I have to put a lot of things aside. I don’t mind, honestly, because they are worth it.
Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America,The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post,Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him onFacebook and Twitter.