Never Will I Ever: Letting Go of the 'Perfect Parent' stigma
We’ve all said it at some point in our lives. The ever so popular, “I will never ____!”
As new moms, and even seasoned moms, we put these expectations on ourselves on how we are going to raise our kids. Whether it’s giving them nothing but healthy, organic foods, classic toys, little to no screen time, or breastfeeding for as long as you can, sometimes setting these expectations, harmless as they may be, can set ourselves up for failure, or even worse, mom shame.
Now please hear me out before you judge me or say I’m completely wrong ( though you are entitled to your opinion). I am not judging you, telling you how to raise your child, or discouraging you for setting up parameters on how your kid will be influenced or raised. In fact, it's just the opposite. This is about not shaming yourself if you falture on those very things.
I think sometimes as parents, and especially as moms, we see things what other people do, abuse, or say, and try with the best intentions to break that cycle with our own generation. I myself am guilty of that. As a result I had a list a milelong of things I thought never in a million years I’d let me kid do.
Eating anything that’s not organic or homemade or homecooked (Say no to GMO)
Playing outside as much as possible
Speak softly when chastising my kid, no yelling or screaming
Eating at the table
And that’s just to name a few. First off, I’ll openly admit that the first thing on that list went completely out the window and I had absolutely zero regrets. Now, although my son is 2.5, everything on his iPad is age appropriate, that much I did keep to. He has a certain number of movies downloaded, he has a time limit on how long he can be on it, and the games are educational and fun. Now I can feel some of you cringing in your chairs as you read that.
A two year old with an iPad?!?!
Yep, you read that correctly! And I’m ok with caving on that standard I set for myself because it gave me my sanity back when my kid is so rambunctious and just needs to sit still for 10-15 minutes. Or we are on a roadtrip, a plane ride, or just sitting in restaurants with friends and wanting to hear the conversation being had without pausing to yell at my kid to put the salt and pepper shakers down for the 1726738813th time while we wait for our food to arrive.
And if you have managed to stick to your rules then you’re doing great mama! But know that if you cave, don’t feel that guilt or shame. You’re not perfect, so why should your parenting be? There are going to be things your do, or say, to your child that you never thought would come out of your mouth, and that’s ok. I repeat, IT’S OK!!!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve threatened to turn the car around or reiterate when and where and on what my son can karate chop and “hi-yah” in the house. It’s ok.
Parenting isn't a perfected profession and why should it be? . Mistakes will be made, perspectives will be changed (and better understood) and you’ll catch yourself more than once going, “oh my god, my mom was right about this all along!”
Having kids helps makes us flexible, whether we want to be or not. There will come a point where your toddler wants nothing but mac-and-cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And not the Annie’s brand, the Kraft brand chalk full of GMOs and god knows what else. There will be days when you find yourself yelling, “oh my god, please go sit down for five seconds so I can finish this!”. And you will catch yourself not going outside because, well, you just don’t feel like it, so you plop your kid in front of the tv for a movie or some other distraction and that’s OK.
I’ve had so many mom’s share how they swore they’d never do something as a parent and caved because realistically, sometimes your sanity is more important than your pride. To prove that it’s ok and other people experience it, I took a little poll on social media and invited some other moms to share their experiences. Here’s what some of them said:
“Hoped to always eat at the table, but most of the eating happens either on the go (Grace running around and one of us shoveling food in her) or in the living room while either playing or watching something.”
“ I also said no to junk food but Rowan loves his lays chips 😂 “
“ 1. I won’t let my kid watch tv until 2 years old. We started at 1 years old before I caved and now watch inside out every night before we go to bed.
2. I won’t let him play electronics and now every now and then he can have my phone or iPad.
3. I wouldn’t let him eat junk food or preservative filled foods. Then I found out my new daycare provided breakfast and lunch and gave up on that at 1 years old lol.”
“I said I would never ever co sleep 😂🤷🏻♀️💙 and we caved at about 2 weeks old and he's almost 2!”
There are so many moms out there who have slipped up or adjusted the way they parent. Just as long as you remember that you’re human, you’re allowed to change things and be flexible, and do what works for you. Because what works for you may not work for others and vice versa. Be strong mommas and know that you’re doing great.
X’s & O’s
Art : Speak No Evil by Kristel Bechara