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Pre-children, we all swear there are just some things we'll never let our kids do. Then come the kids. And the reality check. Here are just six things I promised I'd never do, that I totally did:
1. "I'll never let my kids sleep in my bed! They belong in their own beds, in their own rooms." After my first child was born, all I wanted to do was snuggle with him all day long. I decided that I wanted to try co-sleeping with him, but we kept waking each other up so he got his own bed, and eventually his own room. Not the case with Baby #2, who has bed-shared with us every night for 2.5 years now. The firstborn also sleeps in our room, but on a separate bed. We all love the arrangement, and I wouldn't give up those midnight snuggles for anything.
2. "Once a baby is old enough to ask, it's time to stop nursing." Once a baby is old enough to ask, you're finally getting in the groove of breastfeeding. It's comforting and a bonding time that, once gone, is gone forever. Why rush weaning when the average age globally is 4.2 years and the World Health Organization recommends babies be nursed for at least two years—well beyond the child's first verbal communications.
3. "I won't let my kids watch TV as a distraction." Do parents actually do this? Do said parents ever shower?
Sometimes, they're just going to throw a fit. Sometimes, this will be in public.
4. "I'll never take my kids through McDonald's." I do try to avoid fast-food, but not very hard. I'm picky about what we order for them, but sometimes you're too hangry to shop or cook. For everyone's benefit, we just pick something up. Nobody needs to see the me who emerges when I'm hungry. Trust me. A few preservatives are far safer.
5. "Bathing, changing, and using the restroom are private affairs." I used to be so modest. I mean, I'm still pretty modest, but there's very little that's sacred once you've given birth. No place is safe from interruption, and if you use the bathroom or shower leaving the kids unsupervised, you will be scrubbing marker out of something when you get out. Every. Single. Time.
6. "I'll never let my kid make a scene in public." So, apparently even good parents have to deal with tantrums, sometimes. I know this because my kids throw fits sometimes, and I rock. Seriously, though. There are times when the good and reasonable boundaries you set and enforce for your child will cause them to feel frustrated. It's tempting to just give in so they won't make a scene, but that's not going to help you or your little one in the long run. Sometimes, they're just going to throw a fit. Sometimes, this will be in public.
Am I the mom I thought I'd be? Not even close. In many ways, I'm better. More importantly, I try to become better for them every day, and they can see it.