Written By: Kathy Glow @ Kissing the Frog
I knew with absolute certainty that I was going to be the best mom ever. I knew what foods my children would eat, how much television they would watch, how they would behave in public and what level of success they would achieve in school.
I knew this until I became a mom, that is.
You see, I was that childless woman who sat in judgement of you as you battled with your child at church, in the grocery store, and at the public event.
I was the one who said, “I would never let a child that old ride in a shopping cart!”
“My children will never behave like that in church!”
“I will never allow my toddler to eat potato chips or French fries!”
“I am never going to nurse my child after he is a year old!”
“My children will never throw tantrums like that at the grocery store!”
“I will never get a mini-van with a video player!”
Time after time I sat in judgement of the things I knew nothing about. I judged parents doing a job I had never held.
But it looked so easy. How could they possibly mess it up as they had?
I found out the answer once I became a parent.
The reasons and circumstances are many, varied and complicated. Or sometimes they are just simple.
Sometimes, for the sake of time, you let your 44 pound eight-year-old ride in the shopping cart, long legs dangling out the front, because you know you can shop more quickly if you let him ride along and play his video game than if you would have to chase him all over the store saying no to all the things he wants.
Sometimes, you realize your headstrong four-year-old is just trying to get your attention during a 60- minute church service, so you ignore his repeated attempts to poke you/rifle through your purse/drop things/hear the sound of his own voice.
Sometimes, you realize the only way to get a tantrum to stop is to walk away and leave your child standing in the middle of the toy aisle at Target.
There is the moment you realize, after nursing four babies, that this is your last one, and you want to make this moment last as long as you can.
Over time, you begin to realize what works with children and what doesn’t. You recognize that all children are different, even if they are raised the same. What worked with one child flops with another, and what one likes the other despises.
You understand that there are circumstances out of your control, like a baby with a birth defect or a five-year-old who gets cancer. Or boys who lose a brother and are hurting.
Sometimes, after you have that fifth baby, you realize that a few potato chips and a little dirt are not going to hurt him, so you let him have fun with his older brothers because life is too short to worry about all the “rules” that you thought were so important.
So you relax a little and eventually you come to the understanding with yourself that you must do what works for you and your family. Because, really, that’s all that matters.
And you learn to never say never or always because – most of the time – there are exceptions.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to toss the one-year-old a potato chip and then pick out a DVD for the boys to watch in the van on the way to the grocery store.
What are some things that you thought you’d never do before you became a parent?