Monday, April 16, 2012

Rules I Said I Wouldn't Break When I Became a Parent

Before I was a parent, it was easy to judge people who were parents.  I found myself constantly judging them and being horrified at what they were letting their children do or what they were doing for their children.  I was very judgmental.  Thank goodness I never told these people what I thought (I can only imagine the reaction that I would have received), I just kept it to myself and made a mental note of what I would and would not do when I had kids.  Here is the list of sins I vowed I would never commit:

1.  I will not let my baby watch TV.  When my children are old enough to watch TV, they will have a limited daily viewing time.
Reality:  I did not let my first child watch TV until she was two.  When she was two, I had our second child.  The second child got to watch TV from the day she was born because my then two-year-old was watching it.  Oh, and the "limited daily viewing time," yeah, that was how ever long I needed them to watch it in order for me to gain some sanity.  The TV stayed on the entire time that they were home and awake.  By the time that our third child came along, she watched it all day.  After all, it's like preschool on TV, right? I'm doing her a favor.  There is no way that I could teach her everything she has learned from the TV.  She would not believe me if I told her that the healthy food wanted to go the party in her tummy, but because she saw it on TV, it must be true.

2.  I will never let our baby sleep in the bed with us, that is too dangerous!
Reality:  When we brought our first child home from the hospital, where she slept like an angel, I assumed that she would also sleep well at home.  Wrong, apparently we needed a team of nurses to pass her back and forth in order to sleep.  We didn't have that luxury at our house, so one night when we were at our wits end, I put her in the middle of our bed in order to rest my arms.  Do you know what she did?  She fell asleep immediately.  From that moment on until she was ten months old, she slept between us in the middle of our bed.  Judge me if you want, but at least I was not sleep deprived.

3.  Our baby will have to adapt to our schedule, we will not adapt to the baby's schedule.  The baby will not run our life.
Reality:  I am really glad that I did not spew this wonderful advice to new parents before I had any experience on the subject, because I am pretty sure they probably would have slapped me, or worse.  I have news for everybody: your baby does not care what your schedule is or what you have planned.  If she wants to pitch a fit, take an unscheduled nap, poop through her clothes, projectile vomit across the department store, she will do it and there is nothing in this world that you can do about it.  Accept it, deal with it the best you can, and move on.

4.  I will not let my two-year-old have a pacifier in her mouth in public, it looks ridiculous for a child that old to be sucking on one.
Reality:  I do not care if my child is six, if there is something that makes her not scream and throw a tantrum in the middle of the store, by God, she can have it.  There are few things that we understand less before we are parents than how shopping with a screaming child can completely crumble our normally calm composure.  When your child is screaming through the store, every nerve in your body is standing on end and screaming right along with your child.  If there is something that you can stick in their mouth to make them hush, then so be it.  Pacifier it is, I do not care how old they are.  Silly non-parent for judging the quiet three-year-old sucking on their pacifier.  Little do they know that their shopping experience has also been made more pleasurable by that pacifier.

5.  I will not let my child take over the radio in my car.  I will not let an infant/toddler/child dictate what I will and will not listen to in the car.
Reality:  "Oh, watching The Wiggles will make you stop screaming so loud that the cars next to us at the stoplight are looking at us finny?  Ok,  you are right, 'Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car' is a better song than anything Carrie Underwood or John Mayer could ever sing."  Let's face it, when dealing with screaming kids, listening to anything that will knock the noise level down a notch or two is worth it.  And knowing all of the words to "Just Like a Rockstar" by the Fresh Beat Band could come in handy some day.  I'm not sure when, but when I find out, I will let you know. - Oh, to take back all of the advice I spewed to new parents, before I was ever a parent, about what they should or shouldn't do as parents....


  1. I completely understand all of these things. Mine were that I would never let my children have any kind of fake gun at all, including nerf guns and water guns, that I would never give into incessant whining and give them what they were asking for to get some peace, and that I would never say, "because I said so!!".

    Yeah... didn't happen. :)

  2. I think that the second is a bit rigid. you can let the babies stay at same bed with you when they are too young. and you can make it different when they old enough. because the little babies can sleep better and safer beside the parents. I did it with my boy and it's ok !!!

  3. nice post, many things which parent must know when have a baby, especial with a new parent :)


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