We parents love to complain about our kids.

We post memes and share blogs that make us nod our heads and murmur, “mmmhmm. SO true.” And I believe we gain some strength from commiserating with fellow parents on the daily grind of trying to raise human beings who aren’t awful people. We need those little chuckle-inducing reminders that we’re not alone in the trials that come with trying to train these little creatures so that they become adults who have some verbal filter, don’t pick their noses, and don’t make really bad choices; like ride their motorcycles without helmets or go on a reality show or something.

But I’m here today to do the opposite of complaining about these little wrinkle-makers. That’s right, I’m going to applaud these kiddos of ours and the good they bring to our lives!

AN INCOMPLETE LIST OF NON-CHEESY REASONS WHY IT’S AWESOME TO HAVE A LITTLE KID

1. The Toy Aisle

Of course, this is first on the list! Because, seriously, who doesn’t like checking out the new toys?! (Preferably when your child is NOT with you to whine and want.) If I didn’t have two little children, I highly doubt that I’d be perusing the latest Barbie toys (who knew there were so many Barbie movies off which to base new toys?!) or standing for an embarrassingly long amount of time in the aisle as I feel up “P.J. Masks” blind bags in hopes of scoring a figure we don’t yet have. New toys just rock.

2. New Toys

Of course, not every trip down to the toy aisle results in a new toy being brought home. But when a reward has been earned, allowance spent, or a holiday or birthday celebrated, the toys come home! Just like the kids, I love figuring out how it works and exploring each piece. And a bonus to the packaging being nearly impossible to open, is that I’m the one who has to open it, so I get to check out the new toy as I do so. And then, once my “turn” with the toy is done (that is, as soon as the pound of rubber bands and plastic thingies are cut off it), I get a second wave of benefit from the toy: the kids will now be occupied longer, because they have something new and exciting to play with.

3. Pools, Sprinklers, and Other Water Fun

Having kids really pays off in the summer. Without them, on a hot day I’d have to settle for turning on our sprinklers and “accidentally” tripping so that I have to walk through the sprinkler to get my balance. But with kids, I am extended a direct invitation (or demand) to run through the sprinkler with them. Or get in the pool. Or sit on a teeny tiny stool and push squeaky toys through a water table (which is surprisingly relaxing). I am begged to join into the water fun and, for that, I love them!

4. Fun Home Décor

I’ll admit that there are plenty of days when I take in how “family life” has just exploded itself all over my house and wish I could clear it all away to have a house that looks like it’s in a “Restoration Hardware” catalog: perfectly clean (um, why do they never have cords for anything?), minimalist and, yes, even done in a dull and fun-sucking two-toned palette of “blah.”

But, most days, I am full-on appreciative of the fun that having kids adds to a room. I like seeing colorful toys (preferably nicely put on shelves, but that may be a vision only in my dreams), and I think it’s fun to walk around and see what their little minds have created throughout the day: random art projects and “inventions,” a doll repelling from the dreamhouse, a stuffed puppy propped up to eat an afternoon snack. And, really… could I have gotten away with painting bedrooms happy shades of bright pink and vibrant purple had I no children as the excuse? ( Well, yes, I could have, but I never would have done it – because those aren’t paint colors cited in the Potterybarn catalog).

5. Children’s Shows and Movies

Now I know for sure that, if I didn’t have kids, I wouldn’t be plopping down to catch up on my Nick Jr. and Disney Jr. shows. So thank you, Offspring, for giving me the opportunity to watch your shows and movies. And I’m not joking. For instance, “Peppa Pig” seriously cracks me up (I kind of can’t get enough of it). And I’ve learned more from “Wild Kratts” than in years of biology classes. (Though this whole “Elena” being connected to “Sofia” thing has really lost me).

Turn on a children’s show and, suddenly, music and happiness bubble out into the room. It’s awesome! And, since I’m a wimp when it comes to blood and gore and dead people walking around, I’m a huge fan of children’s animated movies. Talking animals in clothes never gets old.

6. Random Song-and-Dance Outbursts

If you know me well, you know that I probably don’t need children as a cover-up for randomly bursting out into song and doing some embarrassing dance moves across the kitchen. But, it sure is convenient to have the kids to blame! Our family life basically is in a constant state of “flash mob moment waiting to happen.” Though I could do without the “West Side Story”-esque singing and dancing “fights” my kids get into (singing louder and louder to try to drown out the other person and dance moves progressively, and maliciously, taking up more of the dancing space until someone bursts out into tears).

But, all in all, it’s awesome to be able to sing and dance-walk your way from the kitchen to the laundry room without anyone even giving you a second glance. (Note to self: in a few years, write blog re: my kids kill me with their eyes if I sing/dance).

Like I Said, It’s an Incomplete List

I really could go on and on with reasons why having kids is awesome. Sure, their hugs are nice and, yeah, they’re kind of cute. Yes, there’s the whole “they love you with their whole heart” thing and you could say that they make every day so much better. But I’ll save that cheesiness for the kids’ grandparents and well-meaning (but annoying nonetheless) strangers in grocery stores. What I’m talking about here is the real payoff we get for putting up with these needy, whiney, little creatures.

My kids provide me with endless opportunities to enjoy the essence of childhood and, for that, I’m ever grateful.