5 things I said I'd never do as a parent

These balloons have been my nemesis since their arrival. The kids walk in the door and get distracted by these things. I've been known to use bribery a time or 2 in this hallway. 
It doesn't matter if you choose to have kids at 55 or 25, there are some universal truths to parenting. Your kid will teethe, possibly poop in the bathtub, lose him/herself over you peeling a banana the wrong way, bang on the door while you're in the bathroom. You'll be tired at all hours of the day—3 pm will at times feel like 3 am. And, on more than one occasion, you'll question your sanity.

Because of these inevitable realities, you may find yourself sinking into a few habits that you swore you'd never do before you had kids. Today, I'm here to admit 5 things I said I'd never do as a parent before I had kids.

1) Bribe. Let me just say, I don't think bribery is the healthiest way to get a kid to do something. (Duh?) I'm a big advocate of the ideas in the Parenting With Love and Logic series, which promotes talking your kids through tough situations or when they're upset, etc. But after the fifth "no" to "let's get your pants on" I've been known to say, "I'll give you M&Ms in the car if you put your pants on."

2) Give a pouch for dinner. Ah, food. It's the hot topic of 21st century parenting. Making funny faces out of your kids' veggies and getting 2-year-olds to eat kale chips are all the rage these days. Power to those parents who try to get their kids to eat healthy under any and every circumstance. I put an effort into getting my kid to eat green stuff, too, but after having one easy eater and one picky eater (both born and bred the same way) I've learned to pick and choose my battles. And, from time to time, I'm okay losing a battle over dinner. My kids have had a pouch (little nutritious packs of goo created from the baby gods themselves) for dinner on more than one occasion. Either they were too tired to eat, or they had a snack too close to dinner, or they just didn't want the dinner I made. Fine. I've learned the world will not end if they have pouches for dinner three times in their youth.   

3) Use phrases your parents said to you like "because I said so" or "just do it". This one makes me cringe. I can't count how many times my mom said this to my indignant, rebellious youthful self. It's usually when you're trying to tend to 25 things at once and a toddler is refusing to do a simple task. I haven't said either of these phrases many times, but I have said one of them a time or two. And, man, you never really understand the Circle of Life until you utter something that you were told as a kid. 

4) Use the TV as a babysitter. Alright. Let's be real, people. I wouldn't believe it for a second if a parent said, "I've never used the T.V. as a babysitter. Pah-lease. On some days, I wouldn't get out the door with pants on if it weren't for ABC Mouse. And I only have two kids. A majority of the time, my kids stay occupied with toys, books, and playing with each other, but there are days when the little ones are antsy or irritated and the only thing that will keep them peaceful in one room is a little TV. I watched a ton of TV as a kid. And I'm perfectly fine with how I turned out.

5) Snap at your kids. This one is touchy. Like I mentioned before, I'm a big advocate in the practices laid out in Parenting With Love and Logic, and one of the practices that is encouraged is "no yelling". And I'm proud to say nine times out of ten, I take that route. If a meltdown is in full force, I typically take the little one to my rocking chair in the bedroom and hold them. Once they're quieted down, I'll talk to them and this practice works. But I'm a working mom of 2 toddlers. I get tired easily, and I'm not perfect. I've raised my voice at my 3-year-old. If it was unwarranted, I've also sat her down and told her Mommy was wrong and apologized.

When I was a (really) new parent, I questioned every little thing, and it gave me serious anxiety (see early parenting posts). But I've come to learn that parenting is a dance with being kind to yourself and persevering. Not every day will unfold like Parenting magazine thinks it should, but that doesn't mean my kids will turn into selfish terrors. After seeing some habits we've worked to instill in Ella come to fruition, I've become more confident in my abilities as a parent. I'm confident with how I'm raising my kids and the choices I've made. These 5 human things don't make me or any other mom out there less of a parent, they make us human.

Happy parenting, friends. Be kind to yourself. 


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