I have a mommy confession to make. Okay…several. Here are my confessions from a mommy of two. About parenting (have I perked your interest?).
Do you ever remember thinking during your pre-mommyhood days…”When I have kids, I will NEVER…(fill in the blank)”. Or worse, “When I have kids, I will never let them…(fill in the many, many blanks).”
Ummm, yeahhhh. Fast-forward years later, I now have two active, rambunctious, bright, curious, mischievous, stubborn, loving, sweet, loud little kiddos, and I would like to respectfully retract quite a few of my pre-baby “rules.” No matter how well intentioned. Because now I’m a mom in the trenches.
Because as all of you mamas know, you live, you learn, you survive, you thrive, you fail, you succeed, you meltdown, you learn to live on little (or no sleep), you experiment…and you love your child more than you ever thought possible.
So here’s a message for my pre-kid self – being a mama is a LOT more challenging than you ever dreamed. And it will be the most rewarding thing you will ever do. So ease up on all of those “I’ll never” rules. Because you’ll throw quite a few out the window during the winding path of mommy hood.
Want a laugh? Here you go – my top 10 things I swore I’d never do (obviously this was made before I had babies).
Top 10 Parenting Things I Swore I’d Never Do [That I Do Now]
10.) Let them wear mismatched or funky clothes. In public.
I quickly learned to pick my battles. Polka dot shirts with striped pants, Halloween socks and a red Minnie Mouse bow was not a battle that was worth it. My “rule” quickly turned to…if you’re clean and in clean clothes, you’re fine. Go for it. The fashion world is your oyster.
Granted, the majority of the time, my “raised voice” is to simply be heard over my very loud, lovable kids. But still…I was convinced that I would only yell if I absolutely had to for safety reasons. (Does chasing my three-year-old around the house trying to shove his shoes on because we’re late to school, count??)
8.) Spit on my hand…to fix their unruly hair. (Ewwww, I know.)
This is a no-brainer, right? I actually caught myself doing this on picture day at school last year. I was mortified. Then, I realized it was either a “spit-do” or fly-away, frizzy hair on my little princess for her Pre-K picture. Spit it is.
7.) Become a short order cook.
I had listened to other moms complain about cooking several dishes per mealtime, and was quietly convinced that my future children would only eat what I cooked for the whole family. Healthy, organic, fresh food with something represented from each food group.
I have been a mom for almost six years. I have yet to master or enforce this concept. I’ll let you know when it happens.
6.) Feed them lots and lots of snacks…beyond the suggested 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. “snack times.”
The books I read (during my pregnancy) encouraged snack times twice a day. Once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon. Seemed simple enough. Until I actually had kids (are you starting to see my pattern?).
Many days, one snack isn’t enough. And whenever we climb into the car and they have been strapped in their carseats for .3 seconds, they are asking for a snack (I’ve learned that carseats somehow equal snack time).
So I feed my little munchkins their snacks…and Cheerios, granola bar flakes and cracker crumbs litter the floor of my car. Yes, I give them more snacks at random times if they ask for it. And yes, they still eat their full breakfast, lunch and dinner. So I’ve learned to let this one go.
5.) Demand privacy…(for going to the bathroom, showering, dressing – ha ha!)
This one is self explanatory. Any parent understands this. There is NO privacy. Ever. Part of the hazing process of motherhood.
4.) Let them watch television. Sometimes, for more than 30 minutes at a time – gasp!
I read the studies, I talked to other moms, I talked with my husband, and we decided to greatly limit our children’s television time. Of course we would! We would be so busy being the best parents ever, we wouldn’t even have time to turn on the tv! We would be too engrossed in teaching baby sign language, playing classical music, engaging our children in creative and sensory play, yada yada yada.
Almost six years later, I know every Disney Junior theme song, can recite Thomas the Train by heart (it haunts me in my sleep), and have seen every Pixar/Disney movie available. Multiple times.
Not my proudest confession, but I think one of the most honest. Although we DID the baby sign language, music class, gymnastics, swim, story time, park time, yada yada…I still let my kids watch tv. And yes, sometimes for more than 20-30 minutes at a time.
3.) Let them play with iPhones and/or iPads at restaurants.
This used to be one of my biggest pet peeves. I was taught that mealtime was family time. A time to talk and share about your day.
But actually having kids now (including a VERY squirmy toddler), I can certainly appreciate that an iPad can help…let’s say “bridge a gap,” during a restaurant visit with little kids. Pretty much any restaurant that isn’t fast food. So my rule is we all talk about our day first…before the iPad turns on.
2.) Bribe, bribe, bribe.
Now I’m not talking about “I’ll buy you a $20 train if you sit still during a Target run” – but, let’s be serious. I have been known to use tv/computer screen time, fruit snacks, stickers, ice cream, a trip to their favorite park, dinner at Ruby’s, lollipops, etc. as bribes…whatever is an appropriate “incentive” at the time. But I’d like to think I’m still choosy (this helps me feel better about the situation).
“Please, please, PLEASE just…GO TO SLEEP. NAP. STOP SINGING MICKEY MOUSE ON REPEAT. PICK UP YOUR TOYS. REMEMBER TO FLUSH THE POTTY. WASH YOUR HANDS. PUT ON YOUR SHOES. STOP THROWING THINGS DOWN THE STAIRS.” The list goes on and on and on. Said I’d never do it. And, here I am. As a mom, it’s inevitable!
Spill it, mamas! What did you say you’d NEVER do, but do now that you have kiddos? Let’s share the laughs and stories together!