Comic by Jason Kotecki

Having kids does weird things to you.

The gravity of being the one responsible for the care and development of another human being can be overwhelming. The role of responsible “grown-up” can make you terribly paranoid, overly strict, and endlessly stressed-out.

In other words, completely Adultitis-ridden.

A woman named Johanna recently described this transformation on her blog:

I realized I had Adultitis when our second child was born 6 years ago. Bugs were icky, mud was too dirty and craft projects too messy. I thought to myself, when did this happen? I used to love playing with bugs and especially, my all time favorite childhood past time, making mud pies. That same day I took my then one and three year old out into the backyard to play in the mud. The process to heal myself of Adultitis has been at a standstill. This year my resolution is to find something more exciting to do with the dear husband than walk around Costco on date night.

I’m sure that many parents can relate to this turn of events. One day we’re free spirits enjoying life, and the next day we’ve turned into our parents. When you’re the one responsible for laundry, mud pies don’t seem so appetizing anymore.

Too often we resign ourselves to a life that is void of fun and adventure.

But that is not your only choice! It is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

Having kids gives you permission to be goofy, and to do things you probably wouldn’t have felt as comfortable doing before you had them. Building snow forts in your front yard. Dressing up for Halloween and going trick-or-treating. Demonstrating “proper technique” when using a Slip ’n Slide.

One of the most important responsibilities of any parent is to keep their children safe, teach them how to function in society, and discipline them when necessary.

But the truly fortunate kids are the ones who also have parents who take the time to get down and dirty with them, to teach them not to take themselves too seriously, and to treat life as the adventure it is meant to be.

Sometimes it seems like that person is long gone.

If so, have no fear. You’ve got some pint-sized teachers living in your house that I’m sure would be happy to show you how to make a proper mud pie. All you have to do is let them lead and have some fun.

After all, I’m pretty sure that’s why God invented washing machines and laundry detergent.

Jason Kotecki is a dad who also moonlights as an artist, author, and professional speaker. Jason and his wife Kim (a former kindergarten teacher) make it their mission in life to fight Adultitis and help people use strategies from childhood to create lives with less stress and more fun. Escape Adulthood — stop by and follow them on Twitter @kimandjason


  1. Oh my gosh. This makes sense.
    In some ways I’m better than I was as a kid though.
    I was the ‘yuck, that’s dirty kid.’ After being a Machinist Mate on a sub I’m over somethings.

  2. Great post Jason! My kids already think I am goofy, so actually being goofy comes natural to me. And running around outside at night playing laser-tag is pretty darn fun! I won’t be trying those flips on the trampoline though.

  3. Todd: Yes, I can imagine that being on a sub might be useful in getting over certain hang ups.
    I bet you have a lot of interesting stories!

    Steve: Good call on the trampoline, Steve. Older bodies don’t “bounce back” quite the same way as younger ones.

  4. Pat

    What a sap I’m turnging into in my old age… this post really got to me! Maybe it’s because my daughter is not yet 3, and I’ve already realized the importance of her learning to experience life the way I did – through tactile experiences (meaning: in the dirt/mud/water/grass). She helped me with yard work last summer and learned to love how wiggling worms feel in your hand. Hopefully I can hold on to this as we both get older.

  5. Hey Pat! That’s why I often refer to little kids as “sherpas.” They are little guides with wisdom we often overlook. I love learning things about life from them!

  6. Phil Anderson

    I took my 7 year oldgrandson for a hike at a nearby wilderness area where we can catch California Newts as they migrate to their breeding ponds (catch and release,ok?). As it turned out, the grandson spent 2 hours wandering up the wet creek bed in search of little critters and probably in his mind he was living out some Tom Sawyer fantasies…needless to say his shoes and socks were caked with mud …..that’s part of being a boy…..I sure felt a lot younger (though tired) as we drove home

  7. Phil, you haven’t lived until you’ve had some personal items “caked with mud.” Delicious.

  8. Hi, I really appreciate your blog. Great
    Friendship day sms

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