5 Things I Said I’d Never Do as a Parent but Ended Up Doing Anyway
(and what I realized because of it)
I’m a big proponent of moms supporting moms. HUGE. No judgment, no coupons for free advice unless asked, and an objective understanding that different people do different things. I think it’s excellent to dole out compliments and cheer each other on. Still, that option lacks one thing – [hashtag] all the laughs from everything that went sideways that we’re dying to talk about.
My girl buds and I think sharing our not so proud mom-moments, and failed utopian promises are hysterical and comforting. Nothing breaks frustration quite like the verge-of-peeing-yourself kind of laughter. And feelings of defeat are usually the catalyst. So in the spirit of the transparency movement, I give you my 5:
“I’ll never bribe my children.”
This is a laugh-and-a-half. Back when I thought I had the roadmap to all things discipline, I said I’d never offer a bribe of any sort. “Mom’s don’t negotiate,” says a sign someone gave me. I’ve been bribing for so long I couldn’t tell you when I first broke the rule. I dangled video game money in front of my son so I could write this fun article uninterrupted. Spoiler alert: His manners haven’t gone down the tubes, and he couldn’t be more loving. He’s simply loud and wants me to watch him in motion, so he needs a distraction.
“Once I tell them to do something, there won’t be any of this counting to five nonsense.”
I’m not sure what takes over when you fail at this one: Your toddler being too cute? Realizing we’re not in boot camp? I count to five all the time. Backward, forward, adding extra numbers; I’m even a little embarrassed while I do it. Maybe I’m enjoying those few minutes of counting, and it’s secretly my “me time” while the kiddo is trying to escape having to pick up their toy.
“I’ll never nurse beyond six months.”
I used to be THAT mom. The one who thought nursing was unnecessary beyond the newborn stage. “Why would that woman want to be so inconvenienced if she didn’t have to be?” In my defense, I was 20 years old, so please no hate mail; I’ve eaten my words, and your forgiveness is appreciated. I nursed my firstborn for three months, believing it might be helpful for her dad to bottle feed and bond with her – he was deployed when she was born. I was trying not to “take a selfish” (that’s from Schitt’s Creek, I couldn’t help myself). She wanted nothing to do with the bottle, it was pure chaos with zero bonding. My fourth child was two when I cut the cord. Plot twist: There was no way I found more convenient for feeding an infant/toddler than nursing.
“I’ll never buy character bedding or T-shirts.”
I don’t even know what this was about. I thought every outfit would match, the room would have a complete theme, and my little ones would love my English garden taste. So far we’ve had Yo Gabba Gabba, Hannah Montana, Spiderman, Transformers, Minnie Mouse, and Frozen, on everything. The central theme is “fairly clean.” Oh, and when my son was two, his favorite outfit was a pair of shorts, a Pantera T-shirt, a Sons of Anarchy Beanie, and John Deere boots. In July. Nothing close to the newsboy hat and khakis I picked out. But he was happy, got dressed independently, and cute as a button.
“I’ll never make a separate dinner.”
Not only have I made a separate dinner, but I’ve made a few for a single meal. I suppose I thought this was my way of conveying that no special circumstances would be made, and everyone should be grateful for what they have? Real 1950s type stuff. I respected my grandparents, it worked on me as a kid, and people go with what they know. I realized the old school kitchen rule just didn’t jive with me. Often I’m not “in the mood” for a certain something to eat, and I quickly extended the courtesy to my kids. Because I’m a closet softy. Do I love it? Nope. Way too many dishes and extra work, but they’re healthy, happy, and no one’s behavior took a turn for the worse.
What I’d Love for You to Ponder
You didn’t break down, your children aren’t spoiled, and if you want to rock your littles to sleep, that’s cool. You’re not breaking any “rules.” Most of us just want to spill our guts about the ridiculousness that takes place but too afraid of looking like ill-equipped parents. Live on the wild side if you’re not already. Be transparent, laugh with mom friends, and they’ll be comfortable sharing too – it’s the best kind of mom support. As I walked into a friend’s get together, I said: “I gave Jackson ice cream for breakfast, and ate Chex Mix I dropped on the floor because I was too tired to get up and throw it away and I didn’t feel like holding on to it.” (true story).
What are some things you swore you’d never do as a parent? Here are a few responses I received in the funniest group text that went on for hours:
● “Own a minivan!”
● “Be a soccer mom.”
● “Miss a school event.”
● “Hide my cookies.”
● “Curse in front of my kids.”
● “Let them sleep in my bed.”