I was a perfect parent for twenty-seven years. The best. I had this whole thing figured out. My children were well-behaved, thriving in every way, on a strict routine, and I was well-adjusted with a perfect balance between parenthood and self-care.
Then my first child was born, and everything went to shit.
All those plans, all those promises of things I would NEVER do when I became a parent, they all went out the window as soon as that wrinkly screaming little thing was put into my arms. Actually, he was mostly briefly showed to me then whisked away, because true to form, the first thing my child did was completely screw up my birth plan.
Over the years, I have pretty much gone back on everything I swore I would never do as a parent. I know you have too – don’t come at me in the comments section with your, “When my kids were little thirty years ago I was perfect” stuff. I see you, Brenda.
Here are just a few of my broken promises (lies) I told myself before kids. Look familiar?
“I will never make a separate meals for my children.”
So, about that…I do it all the time. It started because I want them to eat healthy, and I want me to eat pasta almost all the time, so admittedly, this began with my own picky eating, not theirs.
Also, I like to enjoy my pasta without people bugging me, so I fed them at normal-people dinner time and ate my own dinner when they went to bed. I’m not a good example of anything food-related, I admit it. I never claimed to be.
But I did at least start out making them planned out, coordinated meals. Then they wore me down, and I got tired of arguing with children who have vastly different food preferences.
You want a peanut butter sandwich, and you want stir fry? Fine, whatever. Just put your dishes in the dishwasher.
“I will never yell at my kids.”
I was going to be calm all the time, talk through our problems, and definitely not yell “If you two don’t cut the crap, you’re grounded forever!” Whoops.
“I will never send my kid to daycare when I have a day off.”
This is especially hilarious because I worked at a daycare. I judged and I’m sorry. When parents would have time off work and still bring their kids in, I would think, “When I have kids, I’m going to want to spend all of my spare time with them. Don’t these parents miss their kids when they are at work?”
Then I had my first kid, and the second I got any time off, I dropped him off to the same daycare from which I had stood smugly judging just two years before. Of course parents need time to themselves, even when they love their children with their entire beings! What was I even thinking?
“My kids will not watch TV before age two.”
To my credit, I was pretty good about this with my first child. I was younger, and more awake. By the time number two came around, and I discovered that YouTube stopped the screaming, I gave him the best spot in the house for TV viewing.
We didn’t make it to two in the afternoon never mind two years old.
“I will never bribe my children.”
I bribe them all the time. I don’t even have further commentary on this, I just do it. Guilty. I’m the queen of idle threats.
“If my kids want me to read a book, I will drop everything and read it to them.”
Nope. I like reading books to my kids. I read books to my kids. I think reading is important, absolutely – but I finish what I’m doing first.
Also, sometimes I make them choose a shorter book. I might also skip pages if they don’t notice (but they always notice.)
“I will never make people watch my kids do cute stuff.”
Me: It’s boring. No one thinks your kid doing this stuff is that cute except you and their grandparents.
Also Me: (Music playing) It’s the Jones Children Variety Shooooow…
So, like most parents pre-kids, I had big plans and now that I’m a parent, I’m a big fat liar.
I kept none of these promises, and hundreds more. But you know what? I’m a friggin’ awesome parent anyway. And so are you.