This morning, I posted the following status update on my Facebook page: “OK, I admit – I gave the kids a tiny slice of chocolate cake for breakfast (but only after they finished their REAL breakfast)…”
The post was intended to be a veiled shoutout to Bill Cosby, and to poke a little fun at myself (because it was true – my kids got a tiny slice of my homemade cake this morning). I was happy to see that MOST of my friends got it and even found it amusing, as evidenced by the increasing “LIKES” and comments that I got throughout the day. But no later than 2 hours after I had posted that update did one of my Facebook friends send me a personal message:
Did you really give your kids cake for breakfast? You’d never catch me doing that…
What I responded was this: Haha, you’re a better woman than I am!
But what I really wanted to respond was the following bit of snarkiness: CHILLAX, Woman!
I’m not an extreme mom; although, if you ask my husband, he’d probably disagree. My mantra in motherhood is that life and childhood are all about balance. While I firmly believe that kids thrive with routine and require structure and standards, I also believe in knowing that it’s ok to relax. I don’t “break the rules” simply for the sake of breaking them (because that would be irresponsible), but I do think that bending the rules, when appropriate, adds variety to our kids’ mundane routines. I believe that if our kids do nothing but rigidly follow a schedule like robots, they’ll never learn to deal with the curveballs that life will inevitably throw their way.
So yeah, in the eyes of the woman who messaged me: I’m setting my kids up with poor eating habits because I feed them cake for breakfast; In the eyes of my kids: Mommy’s great because she woke up early, baked a cake from scratch, and let us taste it while it was still warm.
In her eyes: I’m rotting their minds because I let them watch cartoons; In my kids’ eyes: We love Friday nights because we get to snuggle on the bed with Mommy and Daddy after a long week of school, watching ballerina and train cartoons.
In her eyes: I spoil their appetites by allowing them to eat candy before dinnertime; In my kids’ eyes: We wish every night was Halloween because Mommy lets us dress up and ask our neighbors for candy…and then lets us EAT the candy before dinner!!!!
In her eyes: I’m depriving them of much needed sleep because I delay bedtime by 15 minutes; In my kids’ eyes: Mommy loves to sit on the floor in the dark before we go to bed and hear all about our very busy day.
In her eyes: I’m messing up their sleep schedules by letting them skip their naps; In my kids’ eyes: We got to spend an entire special day (Mommy’s birthday!) at the zoo with Mommy and Daddy (and they let us skip our naps!!!).
In her eyes: I’m wasting their minds by allowing them be lazy in the morning; In my kids’ eyes: We love Sunday mornings because we get to sleep in, stay in our jammies, relax, and play and not rush off to go do something.
Perhaps these things are my way to justify not always doing the things that parenting “manuals” tell you that you should do. I’d like to believe that these are the little things that lifetime memories are made of. I hope that my kids won’t look back one day and say, “Can you BELIEVE that Mom let us eat cake for breakfast on a Friday morning in November when we were three??” or “How COULD she let us eat all that candy on Halloween night???!!” Instead, I hope that they’ll hold special memories of Mom baking a chocolate cake for them, or memories of their first trick-or-treating Halloween where a ballerina and a dragon walked with their Mommy to neighbor’s houses, sucking on Tootsie Pops and marveling at the chewy chocolate center.
Life is a journey. Cease (seize!) the day!