Mama guilt is a peculiar thing. It follows us Mamas around and yells at us when we're trying to sleep. I have discovered that it can be stifled by - at least occasionally - resorting to Things We Said We'd Never Do.
Things We Said We'd Never Do Before We Had Kids Back When We Were The Perfect Parents With No Kids To Ruin Our Perfect Parenting Streak:
1. Bribe them. The experts say you cannot do this or chaos will ensue: the world will be consumed in fire, followed by death, maiming, soiling of quilts, and the stepping on of chickens. But here's the truth (shh!):
If a purse full of candy means your toddler will let you roam the aisles of Ross twice per year, then get a bigger purse.
2. Count to three. Back before we had our own little nose pickers we said we'd never do this because "it only gives them three more seconds to be naughty." Well, I'm here to tell you this:
We have already been programmed to count to three when we're upset. You can't help it. You're already doing it in your head, so it may as well come out your mouth. Plus, it will buy you three seconds to get yourself under control so that you don't do something you will regret later, like snarf a carton of Oreos in despair. Go ahead and count to ten if it helps. I won't tell.
3. Potty train later rather than earlier. Who ever said potty training = freedom was smoking something, and I'm not talking about salmon.
Potty training means two years of your life you will never get back, plus an intimate knowledge of every public restroom from here to Topeka. Every errand you run will take fourteen times the amount of time it would take had your little muffin been wearing a diaper.
4. Give in when nagged. I always said/thought/read/heard that if you NEVER give in on a battle with a toddler, then YOU WILL WIN FOREVER. That is a big, fat lie and whoever told you that is laughing it up. Saying "no" only makes stubborn little gremlins more stubborn and more gremlin-y. They really, REALLY like a challenge.
So, do yourself a favor and just give in next time.
5. Never let them become a picky eater. I don't like picky eaters. I don't like your picky eater and I don't like that picky eater across the street and I don't like my picky eater. But they didn't become that way because you "let" them. They just are. Like spiders and high bridges and wedgie-prone underpants. So, accept them. Let them be. Give them cereal for lunch (instead of steamed quineoa) and Nutella for breakfast (instead of vegetable stir fry).
I won't tell.
6. If you don't read to them, they won't become readers. Yeah, well, sometimes you read to them and they still don't become readers. Set that example all you want and it still might not work. I read all the time. I read so much I forget to change my socks or mop the floor or parent my children! And all I have to show for my stellar example are a bunch of kids who tell me they'll wait for the Xbox version.
So go ahead and sink into that bubble bath with the latest romantic mystery...but don't expect your sacrifice to rub off into literate children.
7. Have a strict bedtime.
Yeah. Good luck with that one.
8. Don't allow them to have a "sleep crutch." You know, those things like binkies and babas and blankies and other things that begin with B. Well, I'm here to tell you, surround that little angel with every sleep crutch you can possibly find.
We used to surround a snoring infant Cora with upteen pacifiers in the hope that when the one in her sweet angel mouth would fall out (which it would the second we hauled our tired bodies into our own bed), she would magically have enough power over her own limbs to grab the nearest one and pop it in herself. This doesn't work. But I still recommend the Circle of Binkies.
9. Purify their water, boil their pacifiers, use non BPA bottles, give them organic food, use cloth diapers, etc.
At least when someone is looking. This is key. When you're home alone with Baby, do whatever the heck you want.
10. Your turn.
What rule do you break when it comes to parenting?
Melyssa writes over at The Daze of Us and, we cannot tell a lie, she's awesomely funny. Go visit! Enjoy!
Just in case you're traveling this year for the holidays, here's a glimpse back to 2009 and an extended car trip with a 3 year old and 2 year old. It was awesome.
We’re almost through with 2009 – it’s been quite a fun journey!
We have spent the last week visiting our families. Overall it’s been a wonderful trip and we’ve enjoyed every minute.
There has been a little bit of a toll on us as we stay an extended period away from all that is familiar to us. The girls are still trying to figure out what’s going on with their nap schedule since we’re on a different time zone. We’ve been taking advantage of car rides in order to lull them to sleep.
Today drove a few hours to visit friends and Dos took a nap on the way up but Uno refused. After a full afternoon and fun adventures Lizard and I realized that the trip home was a necessary time for her to nap.
Dos, for her part, had an allergic reaction to the soap at Bath & Body Works and so we had given her a dose of Benadryl. Previously Benadryl knocked Dos out – but today it had the opposite effect. She was wired!
So... On the way home we told both of the girls that they needed to take a nap while we drove. They were quite resistant to this idea, but Uno was the more vocal of the two about her disinterest in our napping plan.
Finally Lizard put his foot down.
“Do not talk, Uno!” he said in his firm, “don’t mess around anymore” voice.
Uno began to wail. “But I have words inside of me and they want to come out!” she protested.
“They are inside of me saying, ‘Please, let me come out!’” she continued with her voice pitched almost to the height that only a dog could hear. “And I promised them that they could come out... But you say, ‘No!’”
Lizard and I were both cracking up in the front seats, trying to hide our laughter from Uno since she was howling and moaning as we drove along the highway.
Uno decided to give one last opinion:
“You mean guy!” she moaned a long “ooooooh” moan. “You mean guy!”
Then it got even better. Because Dos, the Dizzy Devil, began to chime in.
“Mean guy! Mean guy! Mean guy!” she chanted in her little 2-year-old voice. Then without pause, “Santa Clause is coming to town,” she warbled.
That sent us over the edge and I began to write down the conversation so that I could share it with you without messing it up.
Things calmed down a bit and we thought that the fun was over. But then Dos piped up again.
“Uno... Mean guy!” she said.
“I am not a guy,” Uno corrected Dos with passion. “I am a girl!”
Then Uno stopped to consider. “I am a lady!” she amended.
“I’m Santa Claus!” she crowed.
Juggler blogs daily at StealingFaith about life, parenting, and poop or other bodily fluids likely to arrive in a house with three children and three dogs.