Seeing the before and after photos of a US President can be downright shocking. Although their time in office is relatively short, the everyday burden of the job seems to age them in dog years.
Maybe that was Mike Julianelle’s inspiration for his Instagram phenomenon Got Toddlered, with pics of parents before and after they had children. After all, the only thing comparable to the stress and responsibility of having the power to unleash nuclear Armageddon on an unsuspecting world is the stress and responsibility of having no power to control a screaming two year old in an unsuspecting Walmart.
Or maybe Mike, who runs the Dad and Buried blog, found his inspiration closer to home, as he looked in the mirror, saw the bags under his eyes and a suddenly swollen jowl and recalled, with a mix of sadness, longing, remorse, and complete and utter despair, what he used to be. For alas, that man is no more. Le sigh.
Since Mike is a friend and also my editor at The Dad who is forcing me to write this article about him, I decided to ask.
The Dad: Before we get to the photos, what was the inspiration for your Instagram page Got Toddlered?
Mike Julianelle: Um, my toddler? I believe it started when he converted what had been a nice coffee table into a train yard. And then I just started noticing all the other stuff that had been toddlerfied, aka, altered beyond its initial pre-kid purpose, aka, totally destroyed. And there were a lot of examples, especially once I asked other parents to share some.
TD: Were the before and after becoming a parent pics a natural extension or was there a different inspiration or impetus?
MJ: Yeah, MY HIDEOUS FACE after almost 8 years of parenting. And also a photo I posted showcasing the way it has changed, because when a follower saw it, she suggested I ask others for THEIR before/after photos. So I did! Boom. VIRAL. My followers are great.
TD: Yeah, you’re pretty grotes…I mean, you’re still so good looking. Are you sure you’re really a parent?
MJ: That depends on who you ask (at least in regards to the “Are you really a parent?” part, not the “you’re so good looking” part; everyone agrees with that). Many people who read my blog or follow my social platforms think I should have my kids taken away from me because I make fun of them and call them names, but like I’ve already told my wife: until you convince a judge, they’re still my kids!
TD: What is the biggest stress of being a parent? What has aged you the most?
MJ: Making sure they don’t die while simultaneously making sure you don’t go broke while simultaneously making sure they don’t grow up to kill people while simultaneously making sure you don’t fall asleep behind the wheel while simultaneously making sure you don’t ruin your kids while simultaneously making sure they don’t ruin your marriage while simultaneously making sure…
TD: Parenting is definitely a chainsaw juggling act. So, what makes becoming a parent “worth it”? Are you mostly interested in making sure the Julianelle name survives or are there some short-term benefits as well?
MJ: Can you ask me again in 30 years? Because there’s no way to know if any of this has been worth it until you see how they turn out. Look, bro, the lows of parenting are PLENTIFUL but the highs, while much more rare, are also much higher. That’s the trade-off. As for my name surviving, it is a pretty cool name, but seeing as my wife already refused to take it (FEMINISM FTW!), I don’t have much hope.
TD: Why no before and after pictures of your wife?
MJ: You think I’m fucking stupid, Hans?
TD: Has anyone submitted before and after kids photos where the after is an improvement? If so, do you have an explanation for these aberrations?
MJ: I have an explanation: they’re rich and/or they have a nanny. But they’ll never be on my Instagram because listening to someone explain how their life has improved after having kids is not only not funny, it’s flat-out RUDE.
TD: Well, thanks for sitting down with me for this fascinating interview.
MJ: This was done over email. You’re not fooling anyone, idiot.
Of course, Mike isn’t the only Dad staffer who #gottoddlered.
Here’s the bossman himself, Joel Willis:
Here’s comedian Josh Sneed:
And here’s yours truly!