Things I will never do for my kids

Before I became a parent, I had certain ideas of what kind of a mother I wanted to be. Those ideas were fairly vague initially, but nonetheless I had a list as long as my arm of things that I knew I would NEVER do. I wasn’t going to be THAT mum. I wasn’t going to be a servant to my kids. Nope. Not me. There was going to be rules and those rules would be followed. So here are some of those things that were on my list of things I wouldn’t do.

  • Give in to their begging for sweets. Not going to happen. I will not be blackmailed by a 3ft Tyrant! Cry all you want. You think you’re persistent? Guess who you got that from! That’s right!
  • Follow you around the house bowl and spoon in hand trying to feed you! If you are hungry, you’ll eat sitting down at the table like a normal person!
  • Get drawn into your fashion allures and the whole circus around it. You are 3 years old. You will bloody well wear what I tell you to wear!
  • Co-Sleeping. What do you think I bought that cot for. I painted your room in Bubblegum Blue. That’s where you will sleep. That’s what the book says. You might like this post on sleep.
  • Cook more than one dinner. Are you high? You will eat what everyone else is eating. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Isn’t that what they teach in school?
  • Molly-coddle you past the age of, let’s say 5? That’s the cut off. After that I have expectations of self-sufficiency. Maybe you could get yourself a part-time job or something.

…..and then I had kids.

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And that’s when everything changed. My world was turned upside down. All my parenting ideals got shaken up. Theory met reality. The more kids came along, the more the rules went out the window. The more I started free styling. Partly by choice. Partly by necessity.

Did I say I wasn’t going to give into your begging? Go on. Just say “Pleeeeeeeeeeease” again with that cute face and big smile of yours. I know you are trying so hard to win me over. You know how to play me and you know you have me wrapped around your little finger. I guess in the perseverance competition you win hands down.

And yes, I have run after my baby, bowl and spoon in hand, when he just refused to sit in his high chair. We all know that food equals sleep. The more he eats the longer he will sleep. At least in theory. So Mother will do what she needs to do to get that food into him. Baby 1- Mama 0.

Fashion allures? Well, unless it has Minions, Batman or Turtles on it, the boy child won’t wear it. He has his own ideas of what he likes and how he wants to look. I have tried to be persistent and enforce that what I say goes, but another very important lesson in the parenting game is “Pick your battles”. I am not going to get upset (again) over a silly T-shirt. Today he has chosen to wear all 3 of them. Batman, Minions and Turtles. Who am I to argue with that.

Co-Sleeping. When I started co-sleeping with my eldest child, I explained to him, that he needed to sleep by himself like a big boy. His reply to me was “But, Mama, you don’t sleep alone!” Good point, and so well made. That got me thinking. Noone likes sleeping alone. We have co-slept with all of our children. By choice. Then choice became habit. While there are days where I wish we had our bed to ourselves and that one of us wouldn’t always end up in the spare room or on the floor, I know this is for a short time…..relatively short time. I mean it’s been 5 years give or take. But this isn’t going to last forever and I know that the kids sleep peacefully and happy and will (hopefully) grow up feeling secure, loved and close to both parents.

I’ve been cooking more than one dinner for the best part of my parenting tenure. I have had two very fussy eaters and I have tried the approach of “You’ll eat what everyone is eating” and failed. I chose the easy way out because (see above), you have to pick your battles. Now one of the fussy eaters is nearly 5. I can reason with her. I can tell her about food and the importance of eating her vegetables and coax her by telling her about the poor children in Africa. She gets that now and we are on the way to one meal for the whole family. (Can I get a whoop whoop please!)

I mollycoddle all of my kids. Guilty as charged. Mum-turned-Slave will do everything a lot for them. I will stand outside the shower, holding the towel for my 9-year-old. I will make sure his hair is brushed and that he changes his socks. I will clean up after all my kids and do their jobs for them. I know. Who is the bigger eejit. Boys and their mums. Read more here. Sometimes it’s just easier. Sometimes I get the notion of “This is it!” and “Things are going to change around here!”… Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll start putting my foot down……

Note to self: Maybe the things all critics and I think of as parenting mistakes aren’t really mistakes. Maybe they are a chance to learn to trust ourselves, trust our instincts and do what we feel is right at any particular point in time and enjoy riding the waves of parenting. Without the need to constantly second guess. Everything we do, we do by choice. It is ok to back down from the society-imposed or self-imposed parenting expectations because we know what is best for us, for our family and our children. Noone else knows what we know. Noone else knows our children like we do. Noone else is walking in our shoes. All that matters is that we care about our children and that is why we walk the extra mile bent over backwards to make sure we give them all they need….. and much much more.

I am on Facebook.

This column is now also on HuffPost and was published in an edited version on Mother.ly.

 

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42 thoughts on “Things I will never do for my kids

  1. Ah this is so spot on, I remember being a little later starting my family than my peers and i was certain I was going to do things ‘right.’ hahahaha! yes, you do have to pick your battles! Then I had a little break of 16 years between kids and do you think I learnt my lesson from first time around?

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  2. Oh how I understand you. I have also found myself doing and saying things I never thought I would! Now I think that we need to just go with it. They will grow out of it eventually (so they say). Great post.

    #bigpinklink

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  3. Yes, fabulous post!! Especially at the end, where you said that until you have walked in someone’s shoes, do not judge the choices they make to keep the family, as a whole, happy! I think we all set impossible standards for ourselves when we become parents, and then feel a terrible sense of failure and judgment when we can’t stick to them. But parenting can be impossible! And it’s so physically, emotionally, mentally, absolutely everything, draining, that we shouldn’t feel bad for taking what may be perceived to be shortcuts, but are actually just normal parenting strategies! I was guilty, as probably everyone will be who reads this, of making a list pretty identical to yours, of what I wouldn’t be doing! And of course it’s been scrapped! I let the children eat in front of the tv to get them to eat more, I bribe them with chocolate, I will probably mollycoddle them till they leave home…! At the moment they don’t care what they wear, but I’m sure that will change! Actually getting them into the clothes can be a massive challenge most days, but they do wear what I pick. I also have 2 very weird children who HATE being in our bed! They preferred their Moses baskets as babies, and even if they are ill, I will offer for them to come into our bed, but they will mess around until they eventually ask to get back in their own beds!! But yes, I totally agree with the message here! Nobody is a perfect parent, and we all do these things!!
    Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink!

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  4. This is a brilliant post, and probably the same list I have for future children when I have them… But, I can totally say they’ll be thrown out the window! Two things I probably won’t do, and this is mostly from Being blind is: chasing your toddler around the house to give them food. And, cool sleeping. I love my bed far too much, and my partner takes up an off of it as it is, so no babies to share a bed with I think xxx #BigPinkLink

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  5. I strongly believe that the only person you should be trying to please is yourself. As long as you can move with your choices then fine. Don’t try and live up to anyone else’s expectations or you will fail! I think your point; “Maybe the things all critics and I think of as parenting mistakes aren’t really mistakes. Maybe they are a chance to learn to trust ourselves…” is spot on. Having a child with Special Needs has taught me to throw away that rule book anyway 🌸 TY for linking up with #FamilyFun 🌸

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  6. This is a brilliant post – you’re absolutely spot on. You’re right, it’s about trusting ourselves, as only you know your family and what is the best thing to do. I always felt so guilty that I let my daughter eat dinner in front of the TV when she started weaning and never told a soul, for fear of the judgement that I’m creating bad habits for her! #familyfun

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  7. Fab (honest) post! I think the most important rule in parenting is ‘choose your battles’! I’m as strong willed as my kids and battled horribly with the first, determined not to give in and be ‘the parent in charge’ in all situations. By the 3rd, I’ve had to learn to choose my battles wisely as, to be completely honest, I would send myself to an early grave, if I didn’t!! xx

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  8. I said I would not shout or yell, it shows I have lost total control. Now, I shout. And yes, I have lost control. Mostly, on school mornings when they won’t do what they are told!.

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  9. Ha ha pretty much the same list as you! I agree you must trust your instincts and I am sure my number two will probably get away with even more than our first born! I still listen to friends without kids and often think to myself you just wait… lol. Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again this week x

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  10. I love this so much! I was like you and I have chucked, (most!), of it out the window! I was always ok with co-sleeping, but the other stuff, definitely, My son will only wear trackie bottoms and I am not a fan! He looks so scruffy! But he will pick out his own clothes and will not be dissuaded, and good, he is learning to make independent choices and stick to them. Hopefully this means that he will be stronger in the face of peer pressure. Who knows, I also said I wouldn’t have resorted to tv and would entertain them with crafts and stories and love. Pahahahaha what a knob!! 🙂 Thanks for linking up with us again! #bigpinklink

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  11. Oh yes, I can relate to this – it’s funny the things you say you’ll never do as a parent and then you end up doing them. Co-sleeping wasn’t one of mine though – I was happy to co-sleep from early on and your son makes a good point about you not sleeping alone – I suspect our natural instinct is not to do so and we’ve embraced that to the point that we now have a family bedroom and will move the girls’ beds out when they want their own space. For now it works for us. Picking your battles is such good advice – I’ve found myself getting stressed out so many times about things that were really quite minor on the grand scale of things. I was never going to let my kids watch lots of TV – I stuck to it fairly well with my first child and then I had my second and the TV became a way of helping me get things done!

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  12. Oh this is so true – and I love the fact that we are softies deep down – isn’t that what we should be like … isn’t that what the children will look back and remember … all the fun stuff … not the moany, nagging mummy with strict discipline rules. A really lovely post … don’t you go changing #passthesauce

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  13. Oh God I love this! I read the first 6 points and thought “Yeah! Go that Mummy!” and started climbing on my chair shouting “whoop whoop!”. Then I read on and was actually kind of relieved to read that you are just as soppy as I am post kids! My husband somehow still manages to stand by most of these points whereas I’m more of a push over. Then again he only has the kids one day a week so I guess it’s easier to keep up the battles? (Plural!)
    Fantastic post. Thanks for sharing with #passthesauce x

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  14. Absolutely loved this post! I could have sworn this was me in this post. I was quite idealistic I must admit…so many lofty ideals and yes, I crashed down HARD! But then again, there are days when my kids know I will not budge on what I have said. I love the way you write!

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  15. I am with you all the way here girlfriend – especially about the clothes (I am so confused by parents who can coax their kids into mini Boden). I really think there is a new wave of parenting in the offing and you have just written the rules for it! #fartglitter

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  16. haha! we can’t help ourselves can we lol?! been there, said all the same things and lost all battles badly! I still make 2 different dinners most nights even though mine are preteen and teen. The preteen is super fussy, and what I can say, I wouldn’t eat something I didn’t like, so I can’t expect her to either really.. she also just went off mince, so we now don’t have lasagne, spaghetti or chilli for dinner at the moment… I have to admit though, it has made me slightly more creative in the kitchen, so its not too bad, even if a little annoying at times. I think I have the making of a vegetarian on my hands, which is fine, but I will have to seriously stock up on new cook books lol #fartglitter

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  17. Love this! It’s so true, it also highlights how we can pre-judge mamas but we never really know their situation and what struggles they’re trying to overcome. #MarvMonday

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  18. Yep yep yep! I think all of us when we’re childless think ‘I won’t do that with my kids!’ and we just don’t realise. I was so against co-sleeping, but I just wasn’t knowledgeable and it was something I HAD to do with my first and now I am a huge advocate. A sleeps in his own bed mostly, but he’s always in with us if he’s poorly or if he comes in in the night and I won’t beat myself up for it if it’s what he needs. As you said, it won’t last long and we don’t sleep alone! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

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  19. Yup, I certainly had a lot of misconceptions/ideals pre parenting (and have a draft in my blog folder all about it! lol) But it’s so true. You pick your battles, and these little folks have personalities all of their own and there are times it is just easier to go with their ideas and opinions for the sake of everybody’s sanity! #fartglitter

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  20. Oh man, this is sooooo me! I had this long list of things I wasn’t going to do, and how things were going to be. All went out the window the day my son was born haha. Co-sleeping was a big one for me. Literally, the day before he was born, I was talking with someone about how I was NOT going to do that, that he would sleep in his crib like it was supposed to be. 2 days later, he was in my bed. We’re now 14-months-in and, yes, he’s still in my bed! #MarvMondays

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  21. Well I can say hand on heart I take my hat off to you. You’ve given yourself totally to parenting and I admire it. I couldn’t do the cosleeping and my hubby wouldn’t stand for it and frankly I’ve no idea how that enables a sex life which is hard enough when one has kids! Or the standing outside the shower or most of that. If you’ve seen my latest post for my 12yo you’ll be horrified at how opposite I am. I love my kids but the selfish streak I have carried into my parenting and I resent doing things for them I feel they can do themselves so they’ve been showering themselves since they were really young. And I’ve probably made something different for them meal-wise twice in my entire parenting life! The world needs more parents like you. I really think you’ve cracked the code to a happy parenting experience; pick your battles. Sadly I pick too many xx #marvmondays

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    1. My parenting has definitely evolved. I wasn’t always the mother I am today. I wasn’t pro co-sleeping. Kids belong in their beds. But you know with 4 kids you have to pick your battles and I was shouty too once but I made a decision thats not how I wanted to be. I didn’t like the person I was when I was shouting. We all go through our parenting journey and we become the best mother we can be for our kids. We will never be perfect and always second guess ourselves. Thats in our nature as humans i think. You are the best mother for your kids. If they are independent and self sufficient then thats one thing I definitely need to work on. #mollycoddling. Sending lot of xx and a big hug from one mother to another. I have read your post btw……

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  22. God this is me down to the letter! I also thought id be a “good parent” that never bribed, shouted or fed my kids fish fingers all week. How wrong i was! Great post by the way! Really touching! #Chucklemums

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  23. This is brilliant! Although I don’t think that I said any of those things (more due to never even thinking about them than knowing everything in advance) there are SO MANY things that I file under ‘OMFG What the hell were you thinking you idiot??!’. You just have no idea. You sound like a brilliant mum 🙂 Thanks so much for linking to #chucklemums

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