I used to be such a great mother. I had a whole host of things I knew I would NEVER do as a mother. And then I had kids. It’s amazing what those little boogers will do to you. I can’t imagine life any other way!
In honor of Mother’s Day this past Sunday I thought I would re-post this post I wrote on my family blog for Mother’s Day last year. Since starting this blog, I don’t really write on the other one anymore, but it’s always fun to go back and see some of my old posts on there. Hope you enjoy this one (and don’t think I’m nuts after reading it!).
1. I will never allow my children to sleep with me.
Oh my, where do I even start with this one? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I broke this “never” before we even left the hospital with our daughter. She stayed in our room for five months. And has slept in our bed many times since.
Let’s just say, this mama likes her sleep, and it is so much easier to roll over and nurse a baby back to sleep than it is to become fully awake, walk down the hall, nurse the baby, rock the baby, try to gently maneuver baby back into bed without waking the baby (an exercise in futility), and then attempt to get back to sleep if this routine happens to be successful. Yeah, I’m a lazy mom. What can I say?
I also have allowed children into my bed for any one of the following excuses ahem, reasons: “I’m puking”, “I think I’m going to puke”, “I just puked”, “I’m scared of the dark”, “I’m scared of the thunderstorm”, “I had a bad dream”, “I want to snuggle with you, Mama”, “I wet the bed”, “My brother wet the bed”, “My sister wet the bed”, “The dog pooped on my bed” (I wish I was joking), “Can I please sleep in your bed tonight?”, “Daddy’s not home and you need someone to keep you company”, “It’s really cold in here because the furnace is broken and it’s 52 degrees in our house”. Yeah.
2. I will never breastfeed longer than a year.
Again, this was one that I knew I would break from the word go. There is no way to describe the relationship and bond that is established when a mother nurses her baby. I remember the first time I nursed my first-born, all I could think to say was “WOW!” I just kept saying that over and over because I was so in awe. And because she was a Hoover. Ahem. Since then, I have become comfortable in my skin as an exclusively, on-demand, breastfeeding mama who practices baby-led weaning. I am still nursing my 25-month old and if you add it all up, I have nursed my four children for nearly 6 1/2 years of my life.
3. I will never let my daughter play with Barbies.
I used to hate Barbies. I mean LOATHE them. With a passion. I don’t really know why. I guess maybe I thought they were degrading to women or some such nonsense. But my daughter, she is a girly-girl through and through. She is pretty much out of the Barbie phase now but she used to love Barbies. I am not sure how it started. I think someone got her one for Christmas one time and it was all downhill from there.
We still have some rules where Barbie is concerned. She has to be fully and appropriately clothed. No pregnant Barbie, no tattooed Barbie, and definitely no MasterCard Barbie. Thankfully we successfully avoided the Bratz phase. No way! My daughter actually did get one for Christmas once and looked at it and said to me, “Why does it look mad?” I don’t know baby, I just don’t know.
4. I will never say “because I said so” or “because I’m the mom, that’s why”
I always told myself that I would have a good reason for telling my children “no” and when they asked the inevitable “why”, I would tell them. I would never use the above cop-outs.
However, I have one particular child, that can be a bit, shall we say, obsessive? When this child gets an idea in his head, there is just no derailing that freight train. And then come the questions. And more questions. And arguments. And debates. And negotiations. And begging.
Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m the one doing the begging. “PLEASE STOP ARGUING WITH MOMMY. I’M THE MOM, I GET TO MAKE THE RULES. SOMEDAY YOU WILL GET TO MAKE THE RULES BUT THAT DAY IS NOT TODAY.” Sometimes, “because I said so” is a perfectly legitimate reason. Yes, I know I have turned into my mother.
5. I will never let my child go into a store with dirty feet or a dirty diaper.
Oh man, was I ever naive! My child crawls across my kitchen floor and the tops of his feet are covered in dirt. I swear I mop my floor. But it is impossible to keep a child clean.
I’ve also discovers that the degree of dirtiness increases in direct correlation with the importance of the occasion. Upcoming doctor’s visit, and I want to look like a good mom who actually washes her child? Guaranteed diaper blow-out. Family picture day? Someone will puke, no doubt about it. Sitting on Santa’s lap? Let’s not even go there, shall we?
Needless to say, we are now THOSE parents. The ones who let our kids take their shoes off in a restaurant. The ones who run out of diapers or wipes or changes of clothing when you need it most.
There was one particular occasion with my third child where we were out to eat and he had such an enormous explosion that by the time I had gotten him into the bathroom for a change, his entire back, neck, and arms were covered in…well, you get the idea. I am telling you, there were not enough wipes in the world to clean up this mess.
So what did I do? Well, what any resourceful mother would have done! I held him under the faucet and cleaned him with soap from the soap dispenser while my daughter stood look-out. And then I proceeded to walk out of the restaurant with my freshly diapered (and bathed) baby. Unfortunately, all he was wearing was a diaper. In January. Pretty sure we are never allowed back in that restuarant.
I’m telling you…THOSE parents!
6. I will never give in to one of my children’s tantrums.
I have to admit, this is one I am pretty good at. I am no sucker, that’s for sure, and my children know for the most part that if they throw a fit about something, they will not get that something.
Then I had child #3. Let me let you in on a little secret about having your third child. Now this is highly advanced mathematics so try to keep up. YOU ARE OUTNUMBERED!!!! And we thought it would be a good idea to name our third child Brady. Does anyone happen to know what Brady means? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Brady means “spirited”. That’s right. And we’re Irish.
Sometimes you have to pick your battles and with my “spirited” child the battles are frequent. And don’t forget, I’m a lazy mom. Sometimes, it’s just easier to give ‘em what they want.
7. I will never yell at my kids.
This one would be pretty funny, if it weren’t so sad. I come from a family of yellers. I’m pretty sure that until I met my husband I didn’t even realize people could communicate without yelling. It was seriously a novel concept to see his family sit down and resolve conflict without going on a tirade. In fact, in nearly 12 years of marriage, I can honestly say, The Chick Magnet has NEVER raised his voice to me once.
I didn’t want my kids to take after me in their communication skills so I resolved to never yell at my kids. This is one I try very hard to achieve, but way too often fall short. I guess one good thing has come from it though-I have mastered the art of apologizing to my kids.
8. I will never wear my baby in a carrier.
I never thought I would be one of THOSE moms. The ones who never put their babies down, who never have a moment to themselves, whose lives are dictated by the whims of an screaming adorable 7 pound bundle of joy. Well, my babies were closer to 9 pounds, thank you very much.
I first became a “baby-wearer” out of sheer necessity. Need I remind you that I am sorely outnumbered? Not only that, but I actually have things I need to do that I use my hands for, so my carriers are invaluable to me. Add to that the fact that I can’t stand to hear my babies cry, and I have become a full-fledged, card-carrying member of the baby-wearing club. And I love it!
Tell me there is nothing more sweet than having a sweet baby snuggled up on your chest. I didn’t think so. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it! Maybe I am a sucker after all.
9. I will never reward my child with food.
Don’t judge me. Don’t you judge me. When you have tried for the seventeenth time in one day to get an uninterrupted 5-minute shower, that Easter basket full of candy looks pretty tempting. Please, go have a peace of candy…and be sure to share with your siblings!
10. I will never lose myself in my kids.
Some women think in order to be a real woman you need to do it all. You need to have the career, and the perfect marriage, and the nice house, and maybe, if you have time, you can throw motherhood in there too. But be sure you stay true to yourself. Don’t lose your identity. BALONEY!!!
This is one I have NO regrets about. I AM A MOTHER. That is who I am. You cannot separate my identity from that of me as mother. It’s not just a role I play or a hat I wear when it fits in my life. IT IS WHO I AM. I AM MOMMY, MOM, MAMA, MOTHER. And that’s okay with me. I don’t want to be anything else. Sure there are other things I do that are important, there are other things I could say to identify myself. But this one? This defines me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m curious-what parenting “rules” did you have before having kids that you have long since broken? Any of mine make your list?