I’d NEVER…failures

Dear Courtney,

I loved all the indoor activity ideas from your last post!  Ages ago I pinned the one for mixing paint in a baggie, but I’ve been afraid to try it in case the bag failed and leaked!   Now I have no excuse; next rainy day (which will probably be tomorrow, this is Seattle after all) we’ll give it a try!

Well, maybe we’ll try it tomorrow.  Lately the weather here hasn’t been TOTALLY miserable; last week it was actually nice enough (read dry enough) to make a few afternoon trips to the park.  During one of the trips a chatty, new-mom-to-be struck up a conversation with me.  She was there with her five year old niece and had lots of first-time-mom questions: do I like my stroller (yes), do I have a regular sitter (no), how long did my babies sleep in my room (only one night with baby #2 because he was SO loud).  Then she noticed another mom, there with two older preschoolers, sitting on a bench looking intently at her phone; my new friend rolled her eyes, “I will never be THAT mom; I mean get off your phone and play with your kids”.  I smiled and gave a little shrug; I don’t entirely disagree with her, but I know something she doesn’t:  New-Moms-To-Be say a lot of “I’d nevers” that their future Mom selves have to eat!

I don’t judge her; before I became a mom I also had a long list of “I’d nevers” (don’t we all?) some I stuck to, but many, many, many flew out the window.  She’ll learn.  In 5 years she may not be updating her FB status from a park bench, but she’ll compromise something.   Somewhere along the line “I’d never” becomes “Just this once” which becomes “Oh, forget it; I give up”.   Here are a few of my most notable “I’d never” failures.

1.  “I’d NEVER let MY kid go in public with a snotty/dirty face!  After all, how hard is it to wipe their face?”  I was adamant about this!  It is a good, admirable goal.  It doesn’t seem like it should be unrealistic.  Until you realize kids sweat dirt and snot; seriously, can you think of another explanation?!?  I can wipe their faces, turn to toss the tissue, and they’re already covered in sticky, gooey, dirty grime.  It must ooze from their pores.    Case in point, on Thursday I washed Lilly’s face moments before we got in the car; we drove 8 minutes to preschool;  when we arrived she had a trail running from her right nostril to her upper lip and milk crusted in the corners of her mouth.  She didn’t have milk for breakfast.  She had a shower the night before.  I don’t like it, but sometimes my kids have snotty/dirty faces in public.

2.  “I’d NEVER bribe my kids.  Parents should develop a child’s intrinsic motivation.  They should never bribe.”  Ha.  Haha.  Hahahahaha.  There are some things my kids are intrinsically motivated to do that I need to extrinsically motivate them to NOT do.  This extrinsic motivation comes in two varieties: the carrot and the stick.   Don’t worry, I’m not saying I always bribe my kids, but I do give a lot of credit to chocolate covered raisins for potty training Lilly.  And the promise of a 1/2 hour with Thomas the Train is fantastic at getting L to stay in her room at bedtime!  Which leads me to number 3.

3. ” I’d NEVER use the TV/Ipad to babysit my kid!”  So actually, I’ve done a pretty good job at this one– at least until #2 was born.  But when he came home, all bets were off, especially those first few months.  And even still, sometimes PBS kids (on the Ipad or the TV) is the only way I get a regular shower, or dinner made, or bills paid.  Oh, wait, I need to revise; I did use the TV when L was a baby.  She was super colicky and would NEVER sleep, but somehow I discovered music videos soothed her.  I’d put her in the swing, turn on MTV or CMT,  lay down on the couch, and we’d both take a nap.  Survival necessitated eating a little crow!

4.  “I’d NEVER use the phone while my kids play at the park.  I want to play with them; make sure they are safe.”  Yep, that poor mother-to-be at the park said it, and so did I.  In truth, I’m not terrible about this because I’m not that attached to my phone, but L is 4 1/2, and she’s fairly self-sufficient at the park.  So from time to time I sit on a bench and chat with a friend or text.  I watch her; I’m not neglectful, but I’m also not playing with her.

5. “I’d NEVER take my kid to a nice restaurant/museum/ other adult venue.  Kids don’t belong in those places.”  We don’t do it often,  but sometimes our kids come with us to adult places.  We teach them to behave.  We leave if they don’t, though we’ve never actually had to leave because my kids are perfect :)~.  I don’t feel guilty about it at all!

6.  “I’d NEVER let my kid go to bed without brushing teeth!”  And most nights I don’t.  Most nights.

7.  “I’d NEVER have a battery operated toy in my house. Kids should use their imaginations to make toys move/have sound.  A battery cheats them.”  This one was lost before we started!  You can’t control gifts, and there are some pretty awesome battery operated toys!

8.  “I’d NEVER scold my kid in public; it just humiliates them.”  I will never intentionally humiliate my kids (yes, I just said never :), but I have had occasion to scold in public; most decent parents have.

9.  “I’d NEVER let my kid scream on an airplane.”  I can honestly say I’ve never LET my kid scream on an airplane.  In the same way I’ve never LET my kid cut her own hair or tell a lie.

Okay, I could go on; my list is much longer than this, but in the interest of time I’ll stop.  Courtney, what are your “I’d never” moments?  Please tell me I’m not alone in this!



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