Motherhood Moment: The Words I’ve Eaten Since Becoming a Mom
Save Your Sanity
As I write this post, I am sitting in the rocking chair of my son’s nursery, eating my dinner. My son is sitting at my feet, utterly destroying a box of a hundred individually wrapped nursing pads. Sigh. He has over a dozen toys in the floor beside him, but he wants to play with the nursing pads. He’s busily taking out each one, shaking it so it makes the crinkle noise that is like cat-nip to him, then putting it to the side in his “already shook” pile and moving on to the next one. I realize it’s not a toy but hell, it’s probably the ONLY way I’m going to get a hot dinner tonight. It’s not like he’s trying to eat them or anything, he just wants to shake them…. and I’m content to let him.
This time last year, when I was pregnant, I would’ve scolded a mom like me for letting her child play with not-a-toy toys. If you know me in real life, you know that I’m pretty up-tight. I follow rules for the sake of following rules, regardless of whether or not I’m being watched. I like order. But….. the truth is, when you have kids, that is exhausting for your entire family. It is NO fun. He is in no danger and I’m getting to eat my dinner peacefully. It’s funny how we know so much more about parenting before we become parents and after our children are grown; it seems like people who AREN’T in the throws of child-rearing know the most about the subject.
Even my husband commented on my lax attitude the other day. The baby was having a meltdown because he had found a day old Gerber puff that had rolled under his crib and my husband took it out of his mouth. I rolled my eyes at the dramatic scene.
“I’d just let him eat it.” I said.
“What?” He looked at me like I was crazy.
“It’s just a day old puff. It’s not gonna kill him. It isn’t worth the meltdown in my opinion.”
My husband scoffed, “Are there no rules anymore?”
“No really…” He continued, “When you were pregnant there was a laundry list of things we were never going to do. I bet we’ve done most of them.”
By this time I was laughing hysterically.
“I know, right? Isn’t it amazing how much more you think you know about parenting before you actually become a parent??”
When You Know Better….
I said we were never going to co-sleep. We do. We were never going to let him eat sugary treats. He does, occasionally. I was only going to buy him gently used clothes from eBay and thrift stores because the markup on new baby clothes is ridiculous, yet I just spent ALL of my spending money for the month at the Oshkosh B’gosh store. Oh, and the baby shoes. I said I wasn’t going to buy him shoes until he could walk because baby shoes are pointless. He has six pairs.
My best friend and I were out shopping a few Saturdays ago. We stopped at this ultra-crunchy breastfeeding/cloth diapering baby store. I bought a teething necklace.
“When I was pregnant, I said I was never going to buy one of these because I didn’t want to teach him that it was OK to chew on jewelry.”
We burst into laughter.
“Isn’t it funny how you know everything about parenting until you have a kid!?”
“Yes!” I howled, laughing. “As if I could STOP him from chewing on my jewelry!”
“At least you realized that and lightened up.”
It made me feel better about all the words I had eaten since becoming a mom. She was right. At least I was able to take a step back, realize that my expectations were ridiculous and lighten up. If he isn’t in danger, anything goes. There are so many, many things that I said we’d never do that now we do. There have been a few things where I had to put my foot down but for the most part, these days, I’m pretty laid back.
There’s no amount of “Baby-Wise” sleep training books that you can read that can prepare you for a child who needs to be held 23 hours a day. So, reluctantly, you relent on your strict “no-bed-sharing” rule. There is no pediatrician who can mimic the larger than life fit your eight-month-old has when you eat ice cream and don’t share. So, your eight-month-old eats ice cream. There’s no parenting classes on how to deal with family members who criticize you for spending the entire first two months of your raise on your kid’s first birthday party. That party is for YOU anyway. Spend whatever you damn well please. All the opinions get exhausting, fast. But, at the end of the day, they are just that: opinions. And you know what they say about opinions…… 😉
Honestly, though, what I’m saying is, don’t be so hard on yourself. People are going to judge. Let them. As long as your child isn’t in harms way, do what makes you happy. Do what allows you to have a hot dinner. Lighten up. Enjoy this fleeting time instead of being suffocated by all the “rules.” Enforce the important things, keep your kids safe, keep yourself sane, don’t do drugs, and then let the rest go.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, the baby just found a bug in the windowsill and I think he’s about to try to eat it. 🙂