Before I became a parent, I had certain ideas of what kind of a mother I wanted to be. Those ideas were fairly vague initially, but nonetheless I had a list as long as my arm of things that I knew I would NEVER do. I wasn’t going to be THAT mum. I wasn’t going to be a servant to my kids. Nope. Not me. There was going to be rules and those rules would be followed. So here are some of those things that were on my list of things I wouldn’t do.
- Give in to their begging for sweets. Not going to happen. I will not be blackmailed by a 3ft Tyrant! Cry all you want. You think you’re persistent? Guess who you got that from! That’s right!
- Follow you around the house bowl and spoon in hand trying to feed you! If you are hungry, you’ll eat sitting down at the table like a normal person!
- Get drawn into your fashion allures and the whole circus around it. You are 3 years old. You will bloody well wear what I tell you to wear!
- Co-Sleeping. What do you think I bought that cot for. I painted your room in Bubblegum Blue. That’s where you will sleep. That’s what the book says.
- Cook more than one dinner. Are you high? You will eat what everyone else is eating. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Isn’t that what they teach in school?
- Molly-coddle you past the age of, let’s say 5? That’s the cut off. After that I have expectations of self-sufficiency. Maybe you could get yourself a part-time job or something.
…..and then I had kids.
And that’s when everything changed. My world was turned upside down. All my parenting ideals got shaken up. Theory met reality. The more kids came along, the more the rules went out the window. The more I started free styling. Partly by choice. Partly by necessity.
Did I say I wasn’t going to give into your begging? Go on. Just say “Pleeeeeeeeeeease” again with that cute face and big smile of yours. I know you are trying so hard to win me over. You know how to play me and you know you have me wrapped around your little finger. I guess in the perseverance competition you win hands down.
And yes, I have run after my baby, bowl and spoon in hand, when he just refused to sit in his high chair. We all know that food equals sleep. The more he eats the longer he will sleep. At least in theory. So Mother will do what she needs to do to get that food into him. Baby 1- Mama 0.
Fashion allures? Well, unless it has Minions, Batman or Turtles on it, the boy child won’t wear it. He has his own ideas of what he likes and how he wants to look. I have tried to be persistent and enforce that what I say goes, but another very important lesson in the parenting game is “Pick your battles”. I am not going to get upset (again) over a silly T-shirt. Today he has chosen to wear all 3 of them. Batman, Minions and Turtles. Who am I to argue with that.
Co-Sleeping. When I started co-sleeping with my eldest child, I explained to him, that he needed to sleep by himself like a big boy. His reply to me was “But, Mama, you don’t sleep alone!” Good point, and so well made. That got me thinking. Noone likes sleeping alone. We have co-slept with all of our children. By choice. Then choice became habit. While there are days where I wish we had our bed to ourselves and that one of us wouldn’t always end up in the spare room or on the floor, I know this is for a short time…..relatively short time. I mean it’s been 5 years give or take. But this isn’t going to last forever and I know that the kids sleep peacefully and happy and will (hopefully) grow up to feel secure and loved and close to both parents.
I’ve been cooking more than one dinner for the best part of my parenting tenure. I have had two very fussy eaters and I have tried the approach of “You’ll eat what everyone is eating” and failed. I chose the easy way out because (see above), you have to pick your battles. Now one of the fussy eaters is nearly 5. I can reason with her. I can tell her about food and the importance of eating her vegetables and coax her by telling her about the poor children in Africa. She gets that now and we are on the way to one meal for the whole family. (Can I get a whoop whoop please!)
I mollycoddle all of my kids. Guilty as charged. Mum-turned-Slave will do everything a lot for them. I will stand outside the shower, holding the towel for my 9-year-old. I will make sure his hair is brushed and that he changes his socks. I will clean up after all my kids and do their jobs for them. I know. Who is the bigger eejit. Sometimes it’s just easier. Sometimes I get the notion of “This is it!” and “Things are going to change around here!”… Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll start putting my foot down……
Note to self: Maybe the things all critics and I think of as parenting mistakes aren’t really mistakes. Maybe they are a chance to learn to trust ourselves, trust our instincts and do what we feel is right at any particular point in time and enjoy riding the waves of parenting. Without the need to constantly second guess. Everything we do, we do by choice. It is ok to back down from the society-imposed or self-imposed parenting expectations because we know what is best for us, for our family and our children. Noone else knows what we know. Noone else knows our children like we do. Noone else is walking in our shoes. All that matters is that we care about our children and that is why we walk the extra mile bent over backwards to make sure we give them all they need….. and much much more.
What are the things you said you would never do and have done when you became a parent?