I’ll never be that mom who complains that she doesn’t have a moment in her day to even brush her teeth.
I’ll never be the mom who doesn’t do anything for herself. I’ll always be sure to have “me” time.
And now, “me” time is a 5 minute bathroom break with my cell phone in hand, and a 1 year old trying to open the door shouting, “Mooooommmmy, where are yooouuu?!?!”.
Whether you’re a mom-to-be or a mom with experience, the “never will I ever” topic will relate to everyone. My pre-baby self made judgments and lists of things I would never do as a mom. When I was pregnant, I thought I was smarter than the whole What To Expect series of books. I had worked in daycare, preschools, and as a nanny throughout college, after all. Two years into motherhood, these are the things I said I would never do….and then reality slapped me in the face.
1.) Use electronics and watch TV- Before baby, I was so judgey when I would see little kids and babies using iPads and cell phones as a means of entertainment at restaurants. I told myself that I’d teach my children how to entertain themselves with books and toys, and how to sit patiently at a restaurant. It’s what I had to do growing before the tech boom. Fast-forward to now and my daughter is cell phone and tablet proficient. She is a YouTube aficionado, and she has had these skills probably since she was 16 months old. Daniel Tiger, Peppa Pig, and Sesame Street rule our TV. Do I feel badly about this? A little bit, but I’m kinda over feeling bad about it. Technology is never going away, and I’m okay with letting her use it but also teaching her balance. We can play with the tablet for 20 minutes, and we can also read books together, sing songs, run around in circles, make messes…for hours. I’m happy with that.
2.) Buy pre-packaged baby food- I really love to cook and bake, so this was one area I was super confident in before I had my daughter. I bought baby cook books and all the supplies needed to make baby food. The thought of pre-packaged baby food was so gross to me, and I couldn’t imagine feeding preservative-ridden mush to my kid. The problem is, once baby is ready to start eating solids is usually around the time that they start sleeping less during the day. Your time becomes extremely valuable and you have to prioritize every last second of it. The only break in my day was 2 short one-hour naps, and spending it making baby food was not going to happen. I got over this one pretty fast. I do buy the organic baby food and make sure there are no weird, unpronounceable ingredients. That’s my happy medium, I suppose.
3.) Buy non-organic anything- Another one of my lofty, pre-baby aspirations that has gone down the tubes. I was going to be one of those moms that made every meal from scratch using only seasonal, organic ingredients. These days, a home cooked meal for my daughter is usually chicken nuggets and french fries, pizza, or mac n cheese. She will only eat like 5 foods consistently. No matter how much I try to make meal time fun and enjoyable for her, the moment I put a plate of “new” foods down in front of her she gives me a look like, “Bitch, please.”. Welcome to the wonderful world of trying to feed a toddler.
4.) Let my kid eat cookies/cake/candy- My pre-baby ideas of what my child would eat did not include anything processed or sugary. When I was out in public and saw overweight toddlers, I would think that the mom must be so ashamed for letting that happen to her child. I promised myself that I would never allow her to consume candy, cookies, cake, chocolate, etc…I did really good with the wholesome, healthy diet until my daughter developed a horrible case of the terrible two’s prematurely at the age of about 17 months old. Those baby books fail to mention early terrible two onset.Ugh. So, bribery and rewards became my go to for cooperation and good behavior. I’m not stuffing her face with chocolate and candy for every little thing, but when Phoebe is standing in the middle of the grocery store trying with every ounce of effort to get her pants off because she just can not be wearing pants at that very moment, I will resort to a cookie/candy reward just to get the hell out of the store with our pants on. No harm, no foul.
5.) Co-sleep- Out of every parenting issue I’ve encountered, this one takes the cake in terms of people feeling the need to express their disagreement with it. I co-sleep with my 23 month old. I have since she was about 4 months old. The alternative for us is a night of no sleep, screaming and crying, and begging to come in bed with me. At this point in my life, I just need to sleep and co-sleeping allows me to get a full, uninterrupted 7-8 hours. Before I had my daughter, people would flat out tell me never to put the baby in bed with me for safety reasons. I listened to that advice because newborns are so fragile, and she slept next to me in the bassinet anyways. Once the night time sleep issues started and she refused to go to sleep on her own, I gave in. I was desperate and needed her to go to sleep at a normal time and stay asleep. Crying it out just didn’t work for her or me. To this day, I still get eye rolls and “I told you so” statements from people about my choice to co-sleep. Whatever. The way I see it, I work full time and this gives me extra hours with her to cuddle, kiss her little cheeks and hands, and watch her sleep like an angel. I’ll crave this once she’s grown up and grossed out by the thought of sleeping in the same bed with me.
6.) Snap at the little things- Have you ever been out in public, let’s say Barnes and Noble, and you overhear a lunatic mom just unleashing on her kids? Well, I’ve become that lunatic mom, even though I promised myself that I would never lose my cool with my kid. I’m not talking about hitting or full on screaming. You know what I mean. You tell your kid to sit and stay. They run. You repeat, “Sit. Stay.”. They run again. Then your ugly mom voice comes out. It’s about 5 octaves deeper than what it normally is, your face stiffens up, and you drop the scariest threats and demands to your kid imaginable. I always shook my head at those moms and told myself if I can be patient with some of the nastiest kids that I teach, then I can definitely always be patient with my own children. Nope. They push your buttons so hard it hurts.
7.) Use formula- This is like the most judged upon mom topic out there, unfortunately. Pre-baby me was all for breastfeeding for at least one year. Postpartum me was all like, “Lady you’re crazy, and so are your frickin hormones so now you can have postpartum depression and be even crazier so you will have to stop breastfeeding. YOU FAIL!” And that’s that. Hey, my baby is getting fed regularly. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself on some days.
8.) Let a baby change my relationship with my husband– This one is a toughie. My whole idea of our family and marriage pre-baby was all sunshine and rainbows. We’d both contribute 50/50 and live in complete harmony. The reality is that most days I feel like we’re just co-workers or roommates. I’ve got an attention-demanding, almost 2 year old, 34 week pregnant, swollen cankles, and a husband that tries to know what to do but usually doesn’t. Oh, and he complains about all of his aches and pains constantly…drives me nuts, really, have you looked at ME and my swollen cankles lately?? We hardly get to go out alone anymore, which I swore up and down would never happen, and it’s hard to get any conversation time in because, well, life. All I can do right now is remind myself that this is a temporary phase in our marriage. And maybe plan a luxury, kid-free vacation for when we are finally able to do that again.
Instead of calling these mom fails, I’ll take the glass-half-full approach and say I’ve learned to become more flexible and adaptable in situations where I don’t have complete control.
What were your mom goals before you had a baby? What did you stick to and what went out the window?