It’s true. The pre-kid version of me had this laundry list of things that my kid would never do. My first foray into parenting lies. People told me that my list wouldn’t hold up, but I swore I wouldn’t be “that mom” that went against my ideals. Before I had kids, I knew how I was going to raise them and I was certain there was nothing that would make me stray from my plans.
And I’m sure you guessed it, but I was wrong. Or these were parenting lies I was telling myself. Either way, I have absolutely strayed from that laundry list of parenting ideals. In some respects, I’m the parent I knew I would be, but in other aspects (like that list for example) I’m so very different than I would have ever imagined.
I want to share the list with you, so let’s review it, shall we? In no particular order…
My kids won’t eat sugary cereal
Now, the sugary cereal is certainly a stretch for us, but it was one of the top things on my list. Luckily my kids prefer waffles or pancakes, overnight oats or simply yogurt and granola. But every now and then when we are in the grocery store they beg (yup, beg) for that big beautiful box of sugar filled cereal and I’ll be honest, the fight isn’t worth it.
My kids won’t eat junk food/snacks
I think a lot of this came from when I was younger. Our household snacks were always big bowls of fruit. We didn’t have a candy or cookie jar that I can remember. And when friends or kids at school were enjoying their Fruit by the Foot… I had a natural organic fruit leather that basically tasted like actual leather. It’s funny to look back now and see myself swearing that my kids wouldn’t have the snacks that I craved as a kid. My kids crave fruit nonstop, and they eat almost anything we ask them to eat. When they want that Pop Tart, lollipop, or bowl of ice cream every now and then, we let them.
They are, however, MY children, so they absolutely inherited my sweet tooth.
My kids will never watch TV
TV was a big one for my husband and me. I honestly believed that there was no way I would allow my kids to just sit in front of a TV and watch whatever they wanted. I honestly believed that I would never tell them to watch a show just so I could wash dishes or finish work emails. But I did. And we do. We absolutely monitor what they watch and restrict quite a bit. Several of their favorite shows are fairly educational in nature, so I don’t feel as bad.
And while most shows they watch are age appropriate, we also now have a 5 year-old obsessed with the entire Jurassic Park series, and a 7 year-old obsessed with The Princess Bride.
My kids will never be left with family for date nights or weekends
This was something my husband and I felt really passionate about. There was no way I would leave my kids with anyone just so my husband and I could go out to dinner or have a date night in. And the idea of leaving them with family for a whole weekend? NO WAY! But you guessed it, we did.
Honestly not only is this short time apart good for us as a couple, but it’s good for our kids too. It’s good for them to spend time with family (they only stay at my parents’ house), and interact in a different way from their routine. We didn’t go for a “vacation” until our daughter was almost 4 and our son was 2, but when we did, we sure went all out and traveled to Vegas for a weeklong adult vacation. Did we feel guilty? Absolutely! Did it negatively impact the kids? Not one bit, and if anything, it was great for them and my parents.
My kids will never be allowed to play video games
It’s true. My kids won’t be allowed to play video games. HA! I really thought this would be one rule that we could stick to. Not to mention that they don’t need any additional screen time since we became so lax on the TV situation. The truth is, there are some really fun games out there! We absolutely control what games they can play, and we don’t allow any of the co-gaming or whatever it’s called where they can connect with complete strangers. Our kids both have handheld Nintendo devices similar to the Game Boy of my youth (but way cooler), and the games that we allow them to play are quite harmless (Super Mario, Zelda, Luigi’s Mansion, and Mario Kart). Honestly, video games (along with their books) are fantastic for long road trips to break up the drive.
We also allowed our daughter to get a laptop for her birthday this year. Now, when I say laptop, this is a very affordable Chromebook. She’s limited on what she’s allowed to do with her computer, but she loves logging into Google Docs and practicing her writing, or playing the game, The Foos, which is something she also has access to at school.
My kids will never have a temper tantrum in public
Not my kids. They will never flip out in the middle of the grocery store because I won’t buy that sugary treat that I swore they would never have. My kids will never flip out because I wouldn’t let them lick the table at the restaurant. My kids will never flip out because I didn’t give them the receipt or because I wouldn’t let them sit on a random bench by themselves out of my sight. Nope. You can totally laugh now, as you imagine how this vow went.
My kids’ toys will never take over the house
Ok, for the most part, we’ve been on top of this one. It’s more of a pet peeve for me than anything related to my kids’ well-being. If they want to make their rooms messy, that’s ok by me. If they want to mess up a playroom (which we don’t have, but hopefully someday will), perfectly ok. But they better not bring their toys, books, and dirty socks into my living room!
My kids will never speak “that way” to me
It’s true. My kids were never going to talk back to me. No no, my kids would be respectful at all times. This rang true until this last year. I’m fairly certain my 7 year-old has an inner 16 year-old that is coming out. And my 5 year-old doesn’t like to be told he can’t do something that looks potentially dangerous, so he tells me as if he thinks he’s putting me in my place.
It’s pretty safe to say that I can only imagine what the next 8-10 years have in store for me as the kids get older (especially our daughter, since she takes after me).
My kids will never change who I am
I honestly believed that when I became a mom, I wouldn’t change. The most beautiful thing happened though — I did change! I’m stronger, more confident, more resilient, and more sure of who I am than I ever was. So while I changed, I can’t help but be sure it was for the better. Each and every day we change to be the better parent, and the better version of ourselves. Friendships often come and go as a result of this, but I think for me, becoming a parent has been the most incredible learning experience. Parenting has been an incredible journey of self-discovery.
If you too had a list like mine and stuck to it, that’s awesome! I’m proud of you and you should be proud as well. If you didn’t stick to it like I didn’t, and your list became a source of parenting lies, then I’m proud of you too!
As we become parents, we learn what works for our family may not have been the path that we thought we would take. We also learn that it’s ok to parent differently than you pictured and differently from others.
So, are we raising our kids the way I swore we would? Most certainly not! Did my laundry list of child-rearing requirements go out the window? Almost completely. We are, however, doing the best we can by our kids, and they are happy, healthy and thriving. In my opinion, we must be doing something right.
Did you (or do you) have that laundry list of parenting lies like I did- of things your kids would never do? Please share in the comments!