Parenting is not the easiest thing in the world. The generation of parenting I am in is way different than my parents. I would play in the neighborhood for hours and come home when hungry. I remember when my sister was two years old and eating a tuna sandwich on the front step alone. My mom went out to check on her and there was a black bear sitting in front of her. Now days if that happened, someone would call 911 and the bear would be killed. My mom just brought my sister inside and shooed the bear away.
Now we are all helicopter parents. I mean, my daughter can’t even go to the bathroom alone—and I doubt she will ever be face-to-face with wildlife. Prior to having kids, I was very opinionated on the things I would not do as a parent because of the way I grew up. Here are a few things I said I would never do as a parent.
I vividly remember reading something about kids watching TV before the age of two and how it is bad for their brains. I said I would NEVER let my kids watch TV before the age of two, and once they were two, I would only let them watch for 20 minutes. Well, that didn’t happen. My kids have always been able to watch TV, because why not? They are stimulated all day in preschool, and a little downtime never hurt anyone. They are people, just like adults. When you get home from work, I doubt you start a complex project that requires all of your brain power. I know I don’t—I just try to get through dinner.
Kids in our Bed
I was a firm believer that kids did not belong in their parents’ bed. I stuck to my guns on this for close to two and a half years. Jacob was great about sleeping in his bed, but once Isabelle came along, it was all over. She was a clingier baby, so I decided to let her sleep with me because we all needed sleep. Then Jacob found his way in, and then I gave up. It was hard for me to surrender my stance, but I decided it will one day pass and they will not need me to comfort or cuddle them. These years are too precious to wish away.
Phones at dinner
Before having kids, I would say my kids would NEVER play with my phone if we were out to eat as a family. But now, I know the only way to avoid phones at the dinner table is to not bring your little kids along. We go out to dinner because sometimes you just need to get out of the house at the end of the day. The stretch between 5PM and bedtime can get awfully long, especially if your kids do not go to bed at 6:30 or 7PM. So, if we do go out for dinner and one of my kids starts to get antsy, we might hand over our phones and let them watch all the Ryan’s Toy Review they want.
I also said that I would never swear in front of my kids. Well, you can’t be perfect at all times, and sometimes you just swear. Am I proud of it? No…but I know there are a lot worse parents out there than me. Just watch the news—it is quite sad. I give myself a break if I hear them repeat something I said. Most of the time it makes me smile, because they usually use it the right context. My son is riding the bus this school year, so he is bound to hear it all sooner or later.
Once you become a parent, you do all the things you said you would never do. What are some things you do now as a parent that you swore you never would?