I used to think I knew a lot of about parenting. The best ways to discipline a child, what they should be eating, and of course, how to dress like a parent who hasn’t given up on life. Then I had a kid. And I became a much humbler person. As it turns out, almost everything I thought I knew about parenting was wrong, unrealistic, or just plain ridiculous. So, here’s a small sampling of the things I very mistakenly said I’d never do before I became a parent.
1. Let my kid watch TV before the age of two
“She won’t even look at a screen until she’s two-years-old!” “And when she is old enough, TV time will be strictly monitored and limited.”
That was the old me. The pre-parenting, naive me. Unless you plan on not turning your television on for two entire years, there’s no way to achieve this goal. Of course she watched TV before she was two! And while I do make an effort to limit the amount of screen time my daughter gets, I’m learning to embrace Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig. Plopping my toddler in front of the TV is pretty much the only way I can take a shower without serious concern for my house when I emerge.
2. Feed my precious baby anything that wasn’t organic, grass-fed, and raised by a local farmer we know by name
I remember picturing myself cooking gourmet meals in our immaculate kitchen, stirring sauces while effortlessly balancing a smiling baby on my hip. Yeah… it doesn’t work like that. Dinners are usually prepared in a quiet and frantic hurry while my daughter is napping or momentarily distracted by toys. The fewer and less complicated ingredients the better. If there happens to be a box of mac and cheese in the cupboard, you know I’m going for it.
3. Let my kid ride in the stroller once they learned how to walk
I had it in my head that as soon as our little girl was toddling around on her own two feet we’d retire the stroller. I wasn’t going to be one of those parents pushing a gigantic four-year-old around. What I failed to realize was that even though she was now capable of walking, my daughter’s pace had two speeds: tired snail or drunk cheetah. We aren’t packing away that stroller anytime soon.
4. Leave my house in sweatpants/yoga pants/leggings
You know what? They’re darn comfortable and they go with everything. I’m not apologizing for this one.
5. Allow my kid to have a meltdown in a very public place
I used to walk past the parents whose children were losing it in the middle of the cereal aisle with quiet disdain and judgement. How could you let your kid behave so badly? In public, nonetheless. Now, I feel their pain. I recognize their struggle and I salute their efforts to make it to the grocery store and back in one piece. The truth of the matter is, when your child is throwing a level nine tantrum because they want chocolate Cheerios instead of multigrain, there’s nothing you can do other than ride it out.
6. Bribe or lie to my kid
“No, we can’t watch any more Paw Patrol today. The TV needs to take a nap.” “If you come put your boots and jacket on right now you can have a cookie.” “Don’t put your arm into the filter at the pool. Crocodile’s live in there and they’ll bite it off!”
I bribe and lie to my kid all day long. But it’s mostly for her own good and for my own sanity.
It’s safe to say I’ve learned a few lessons and hard truths as a parent. And seeing as how my daughter is only the ripe old age of two, I have a feeling I’ll be learning a few more. Check back in a few years for 6 Things I Said I’d Never Do Before I Became the Parent of a Teenager.