Let me just start by saying that I am not a coffee addict. I know this sounds like a denial, but it’s true. What I will admit, is that coffee has assumed a new role in my life as a parent. Like toilet paper, it has become one of those daily necessities that makes life more bearable, and some days you need more of it than others. For the first few sleepless months of babyhood, you need a lot of it. Thankfully, Josie is now a toddler and sleeping around 12 hours a night, so most of the time I don’t look like this in the morning:
Sometimes though Josie has a rough night, and I’ll take on the pallor of the undead. This is me without coffee after one of those nights. Not very flattering is it? Luckily, as a stay-at-home parent, toddlers really don’t care what you look like. In fact, I spend a large chunk of my day every day intentionally making faces like this for the amusement for my daughter. But this is not the face of an engaged parent. This is the face of a zombie, and they’re not very good parents. Here, I am quiet, disengaged, impatient and cranky. Favorite parenting activities in this state include rubbing temples, reading the newspaper and staring into space speculating on whether our health insurance policy covers vasectomies.
This is me on coffee. Notice the difference? This is a good parent, and you’d know it if you could hear the hysterical giggles coming from my daughter. I’m engaged, animate and happy. Favorite activities in this state include talking rapidly in a high voice, aerobic hide and seek, and pretending to throw my daughter into a river. Toddlers love it when you pretend to toss them in a river, or dangle them from their ankles over a deck, or grab them by their little wrists and spin them around on the lawn like an Olympic hammer thrower. Coffee gives me the energy to do all this, and for it my daughter laughs a lot more, and I’m a better parent. Coffee – making sleep-deprived parents more human for the past thousand years.