When you’re pregnant, the list of things you and your child will do and never do grows as you watch other parents and children. Birthing and parenting classes can give you a lot of good information, but they don’t tell you to leave your judgment at the door and start checking yourself.
I’ve been there.
I rubbed my pregnant belly in Target as we looked at bottles, listening to kids scream an aisle over because they couldn’t eat the Gerber Puffs that were on the shelf. I shopped for clothes in Carter’s and watched children run and pull things down. I watched kids scream up and down each and every aisle in the grocery store.
That would never be me. I would never let my child carry on at a restaurant. He wouldn’t spend more than one hour in front of a TV. I’d never let him scream in public!
Then I became a parent. Then I realized everything I “knew” I didn’t really know at all. You realize pretty quickly everything you thought about parenting was wrong and you have to figure it out as you go. You realize these little ones have a lot more control than you ever thought they would.
Here are the six things I do now as a parent that I said I would never do.
Before my son was born, I read all about screen time and decided it wouldn’t be worth putting him in front of a TV until he was quite a bit older. I didn’t want to fry his brain. I didn’t want his little brain to turn into a TV mush. I wanted him to learn! I wanted him to play with the dozens of toys he had and work on those motor skills.
Even after my son was born, I kept telling myself how little TV he would watch because there’s just so much else for him to do. We would go outside! We would play with all the toys! We’d read books!
You forgot about chores. Do you know how much you can get done in a 30 minute episode of Daniel Tiger? A lot. A shower, the dishes, and eat breakfast. Maybe even catch up on your fleeting social life. Do you know where your child will be in that 30 minutes? More than likely, the same exact place you left him. My son doesn’t move an inch when the almighty TV is on, and I have never cleaned faster in my life. Let loose on this one. We don’t spend all day in front of the TV, but a little time won’t hurt him.
In addition to this, I said I would never let him touch my phone. I delete some of my apps to make more room for apps for him. He’s a little wiz with my phone and it’s fun to watch.
I didn’t read about safely bed sharing until my son was six months old. We had started off just like any other parent. We weren’t sleeping. He was up often to eat or just be cuddled. Around four months, right when he was starting to sleep five hours a night everything changed and never got better. I say
this happened as soon as we decided to try cereal as per our pediatrician and know-it-all relatives. Our entire routine went out the window. I created a new routine and even went back to the old routine. We tried almost everything and he was up nearly every hour if not more often. It was so incredibly hard.
I broke down, looked at safe ways to bed share, and we’ve been bed sharing since six months old. Ten months later, we are trying to get him to sleep on his own, but more often than not he’s in our bed. Neither of us really care at this point and we all sleep better.
Make a Separate Dinner
My child will be cultured and eat everything we make! He will have a refined palate!
Or he will be a regular toddler and eat chicken nuggets and either stare at the meal I just spend an hour and a half preparing. That meal might end up on the floor, too.
I do try to give my son what we are eating a lot of the times. I have chicken nuggets on standby if things get a little crazy and the boy needs to eat. If he doesn’t eat, I am awake twenty-seven times throughout the night because he’s hungry. Chicken nuggets it is.
Post about my son on social media
I never said I’d never do this, but that I wouldn’t overshare. Right. You realize soon enough the child you created is the most amazing person you ever met. He has the best smile and he makes me laugh so much. My son is only going to get cooler as he grows older and I want to share just how awesome he is with everyone who will listen. If people don’t like it, unfriend or unfollow.
Don’t care, overshare.
Meltdowns in Public
Oh yes. This is a big one for everyone. We’re getting to that meltdown age and I know it’s only going to increase and get louder as time goes on.
A few weeks ago we were at a small local water park and my son had a meltdown. I’m sure kids freak out here all the time. You never see a meltdown coming and you just hope you’re able to quickly diffuse the situation before it gets worse, longer, and before people can stare and talk about you as a parent. I was trying my best and a child, maybe about five, came over and told my sixteen month old to shut up! His parents swooped in, said I was doing the best I could, sometimes babies get upset, and that he needed to practice patience.
A few reasons why this was awesome and I will always remember this couple. You know they had been there with their child and knew what I was going through. They taught their son a lesson calmly and he later apologized to us. They didn’t judge me, my parenting, or my screaming child. They were just regular people doing the best job they can and knew I was doing the best job I could. I was really happy leaving the pool that day even though my son screamed his head off for no apparent reason.
I can feel you beginning to judge me. Put your pitchforks down. I realize Caillou is the whiniest child on the planet, but his stupid high pitched voice makes my kid giggle. I also get to clean up after dinner, put all the dishes in the dishwasher, and remove my makeup. Fine, we watch Caillou.
I am constantly eating my humble pie and doing things I swore I’d never do as a mom. I may not be a perfect mom, but I do my best and that’s all we can ever do.
What do you do as a parent that you said you’d never do?