I had a very specific vision of the type of parent I wanted to be. And then I became a parent and was smacked in the face with reality. I still have the same basic core values and I won’t budge on those. But then there’s everything else. I will be the first to admit, many of the things I swore I would never do I do now because it’s just plain easier. Yes. I take the easy way out. A lot. Here are a few examples…
Use TV as a babysitter
Pre-Mom: My child will never sit in front of the television. My child will use educational toys to entertain himself. We will spend our time together reading books, doing puzzles, and having intelligent conversations.
Today: What do you want to watch? I’ll put anything on for you if you’ll just SIT DOWN AND BE QUIET! When the kids are in front of the TV, they are not under my feet, pulling on my clothes, or yelling my name. So thank you Thomas the Train, Mickey Mouse, Woody and Buzz for babysitting. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
Make separate meals
Pre-Mom: My child will eat when the family eats, and will eat what I put in front of him.
Today: Oh, you want crackers for dinner for the fourth night in a row? Ok. Again, it comes down to what makes my life easier. I do not allow him to eat whatever he wants, but if it’s somewhat healthy and allows me to sit down and eat MY dinner, it works for me.
Pre-Mom: I will not yell at my children. I will calmly explain to them why I am upset and what they are doing wrong. After all, yelling is futile.
Today: Yelling may be futile but I do it. All. Day. Long. Sure, I start off “calmly explaining” why I’m upset but my frustration usually takes over and I end up screaming at the top of my lungs (which is odd because I have never been a yeller. There’s just something about a whiney 3 year old brings that out in me.) It turns out that Pre-Mom was right: yelling is useless, however I have not yet perfected my Carol Brady persona so the yelling will likely continue.
Become their slave
Pre-Mom: I am the mother and he is the child. Period. End of story.
Jack: Mom, can you get my milk?
Me: It’s on the kitchen counter.
Jack: Can you get it?
Me: No, you can get it yourself.
Jack: No, you.
Me: No, you.
We go back and forth until I can’t take it any longer and I get him his darn milk. Yes, I am well aware of the implications of this scenario, but while in the moment, it’s just – you guessed it – easier.
Let them sleep with me
Pre-Mom: My children will never sleep in my bed. They will sleep in their own room no matter what.
Today: My three year old went through some serious sleep issues last year. Hub and I spent MANY sleepless nights trying to get this kid to sleep in his own room. After months of fighting, tears, dark under eye circles, sticker charts, begging, bribing, rewarding, hiring a sleep coach, you name it, exhaustion won and I let him sleep in my bed.
I’m not proud of succumbing to this behavior, but I’m also aware that everything is a phase, and this is my way of dealing with surviving the current situation. So if you’re like me and also do something you swore you would never do as a parent, it’s time to give yourself a break. It’s ok to take the easy way out to save a little sanity. Really. It’s ok.