Monday, May 7, 2012

Never Say Always

Always and Never. The two worst enemies moms create for themselves.
Before I had kids, I had a lot of never and always plans and ideals about motherhood. And I probably had a more realistic view of what motherhood was actually like, since I was the oldest of four kids and started babysitting at 11 for the neighbors, and ultimately had a job where I was teaching parents how to do a better job with their kids. Yep. Before I had kids of my own. So I thought I was pretty reasonable about knowing that I couldn't say I'd NEVER feed my kids frozen pizzas (although, thanks to food allergies, I couldn't for the first 3 years anyway), or that my kids would NEVER watch tv before the age of two. I knew that those things were unrealistic goals for any mom.
I had plenty of them, though. And looking back, it was just setting myself up for failure in my own mind, even if it didn't make me different from any other mom out there.

#1- I would NEVER co-sleep!
Yeah, that lasted about 3 days. To be fair, I knew nothing about co-sleeping except that the people I knew who did it, hated it. Also, I am such a light sleeper, I knew I'd never really get to sleep with a baby in bed with me. I sort of lucked out though, because Little Professor wanted his space when he slept, so he rarely slept with me after the first couple of weeks, and was sleeping in his crib, through the night at just 2 months old. So I understood WHY new moms would sleep with their new babies, but I also thought I was doing something superior because MY baby was so easy and sleeping 7 or 8 hours a night from an early age. Must have been my awesome parenting skills, right? Couldn't possibly be because he had sensory issues about sleeping next to someone or that he spent so much of his awake time studying everything he could see that he completely exhausted himself by night time.
Princess really taught me my lesson, though. She was a very needy, clingy, super-attached baby. When I would get home from work, she would attach herself to my chest and that was it for the rest of the day. I learned to do everything either one handed, or with her in a sling, because I couldn't put her down without heart wrenching screams. It was exhausting! We were both worn out. So, she just came to bed with me because it was the only way we got any sleep. And honestly, I *liked* snuggling and sleeping with her when she was tiny. Eventually she was able to fall asleep on her own, and started the night out in her own bed, but continued to come in to my bed sometime in the middle of the night until she was close to 5. And she really only stopped because I couldn't sleep with her in bed with me any more. I was waking up in pain from being squished all night, so we had to put a stop to it. So now I snuggle her in her bed at bedtime, and she comes in to my bed for morning snuggles, as long as she can refrain from laying ON me.
By the time Puppy came along, I didn't even pretend I was going to put him in his own bed. I pulled the side off the crib and shoved it up to the side of my bed so that I could keep him from being squashed by his big sister, but he was a co-sleeper from day one. Eventually, he started falling asleep in his own bed, but he still ends up in with me more nights than not.

#2- I would NEVER let my kids play violent video games!
This is one of those things that I've learned the "pick your battles" lesson over. Little Professor is playing Grand Theft Auto as I type. Would I prefer that he didn't? Hell, yes! And I stuck to this rule for 7 years, and even got backed up by my husband.
Last year, though, it all fell apart. The fact is, most of the other little boys that Little Professor plays with are allowed to play violent games. His cousin has been playing Halo since he was 3 or 4. I have no control over what other parents allow their children to play, and was losing the battle of keeping Little Professor for watching them play. And I had my husband buying games for himself and playing in front of the kids. I could have kept fighting about it, but ultimately decided that fighting over it constantly was probably worse in the long run than just letting him play the damn things.

#3- I will ALWAYS use positive behavior reinforcement and gentle parenting techniques.
Hahahahahahahahaha! Anyone who claims they never yell at their kid either has a baby under 12 months or is LYING. Or high.

#4- I will NEVER be a stay at home mom!
And here I am. Ok, technically, I still work. A little. When I feel like it. And some days, I am still not 100% sure I'm doing the right thing. But 99.999% of the time, I know I am. I was lucky; I had a job that I loved and was good at and was passionate about. And none of that really changed, but I left it all behind anyway. What changed was my priorities. Ultimately, Little Professor needed me to be his teacher more than he needed me to be able to pay for private school. He needed someone who was committed to helping him CHANGE his behavior, instead of just reacting to it and sending him out of the room. So, while I will continue working my 2 hours a week for my sanity break, I know that being a stay at home, homeschooling mom is the best choice for our family as a whole.

#5- I will ALWAYS have a clean house!
Ok. Just kidding. I was never *that* naive!


  1. Well said!

    I have my own "Always/Never" list that I have failed to stick to. I guess I could say that I always never stick to lofty goals.

  2. I kind of think this is like first time mom syndrome, don't you think? That's when you know everything, and do it all right (until the kids decide to teach you a lesson).
    Dude, get on Twitter!