Nothing like a couple of kids to humble you. Like...immediately.
In the second installment of #RealRavishly, where the reader is the writer, we are talking about the things you said you’d never do when you had kids…that you now, of course, do. A lot. Maybe every day.
Before you had kids you were all, I am going to be SUCH a good parent. I am never going to do what my parents did. Never. TV destroys the developing brain. There will be none of that nonsense. Red dye causes ADHD/ADD/cancer. There will be no red dye. I’m going to give my children a head start by teaching them their alphabet and numbers before they are three. And yelling. You would never. Ever.
...Remember that time you had a baby and threw all that shit out the window?
TV definitely isn’t THAT bad. There is no way an hour of TV a day is going to hurt anyone. People have been eating red M&M’s for like a hundred years. There are SO MANY people who ate red M&M’s and didn’t get cancer. Alphabet and numbers what? OHMYGOD SHUT UP I AM ON THE PHONE.
OOPS. The best laid plans, as they say.
I wrote about this as a sort of confessional a few months ago, but I thought it’d be fun to say what you said (since I know my answers) and to see what company I was in. And boy, what company I am in. If this article was nothing, it was an exercise in solidarity.
Onward we go — apparently, with the television on.
Television (and electronics):
Veronica: TV. Lots and lots of TV.
Lily: Let my son watch television so I can take a nap.
Bas: That they would never have their heads in some kind of handheld game system at family functions.
Alisha: They wouldn't play with iPhones out at a restaurant because we would engage them.
SO basically ALL the TV. All of the iPhones/tablets. Whenever is necessary. Amen.
So I'm caving on the TV, BUT not the food. The Food shall be: Organic, Non-GMO, dye/additive/preservative free. There shall be no junk. It will been consumed at a regular mealtime, with the family, at the table. It is set forth on this day.
Sarah DeGroff: Let the kids eat off the floor (at home).
Christine Gritmon: I still hate the "bringing snacks" thing — honestly, can't your kid go five seconds on the slide without more fucking Teddy Grahams??? — but I have learned that sometimes you really can buy silence/good behavior by keeping those little mouths busy! You should have seen my bag at New York Comic Con...it was like the Annie's bay at Shoprite.
Sarah DeGroff: I would never let my kid eat pb&j for lunch every day. That's not healthy. (It's called Pick Your Battles.)
Christine Gritmon: Oh yes!!! Making different dinner for anyone at all. We try to hold to that 99% of the time but sometimes we have to cave, because life.
Bas Clark: Making dinner for one kid.
Food. Get it in their faces. Check.
Now we come to bribery...all of it. If I give you this full size Hershey bar and a pony will you poop on the potty? YES? BRB, Craiglist. Buying a pony.
Amber Worman: Also, I'd never bribe my kids...but I sure as heck bribed my daughter to move out of my bed into her own with an Elsa doll. It worked too...mostly.
My girl Heather is hitting ALL the high points: Co-sleep with a child older than six months, breastfeed a child with teeth, give them candy and/or juice (I'm still a stickler with that one though), let them throw a tantrum in a store (cry all you want kid, I am not buying xyz), let them watch TV. And on and on and on. I was totally the perfect parent before I had kids. And I whole-heartedly apologize for it.
Uh, Heather, I had to buy two beds to put together because I have not one, but TWO kids in my bed (er, their bed).
And Alisha is keeping is really real too: My kids would wear gender neutral clothing (now I have a pink princess), they would never order off the kids menu because they would be adventurous eaters[...]They would always look clean and put together. There are probably a zillion more things!
Nothing like a couple of kids to humble you. Like...immediately.
Moving on to breastfeeding. If I had a dime for every time someone I know told me they wouldn’t nurse their baby once they had teeth/could ask for it/past a year/had a sibling, well...
Sarah DeGroff: Tandem nurse. I'm sure I thought that was freakish. I had a friend who did that with her 3rd & 4th babies (before I had kids) & I admired her but knew I would NEV-VURRRR do that myself.
Laura Burgon Perkins: Breastfeed a child once they could "ask" for it. Now nursing my 4th child & just hit a cumulative 11 1/2 years breastfeeding.
Well, Sarah? Laura? How did that work out for you?
Behavioral stuff is a heavy hitter. I was SO SURE my kids would never throw tantrums, yell, kick, scream, hit, whine. OH HA FUNNY JOKE UNIVERSE.
Star Rodriguez-Moser: My kids would never throw a fit at the store, and if they did, I would immediately remove them.
Sarah DeGroff: "My kid would never....______________." (Insert bad behavior in that line — lie to my face, cheat on a test, steal from a store, use certain language, sneak behind my back, be mean to another kid, etc.) Who has said that sort of thing? About things that aren't permissible but YOUR precious pumpkin would never act that way. (Mine have.)
Worry and protection is also a huge one.
Amanda Llorens: I said I would never keep them from a person just because I didn't like them. Before I had kids, I was going to suck it up and let my children form their own relationships with and opinions about people. Now, I realize it is my job to protect them from some of those people.
Have you made adjustments to those expectations? My kids have had some pretty questionable relationships. Sorry guys. It's a no.
Oh, and I would NEVER use questionable language.
Yep. Definitely am.
Christine Gritmon: I sorta kinda thought I'd maybe watch the shit that came out of my fucking mouth. (Nope.)
Mandy co-signs this as a fellow curser. Bless.
Oh, and I double co-sign this as a fellow curser.
And what about the expectations we have for ourselves? The laundry will be done. The house will be clean. You will have a color-coded chore chart and weekly menu and neatly-folded stacks of towels and bins for all the toys to be sorted by genre.
And that’s a dirty damn rotten lie.
Aida Hodkinson: I always said that my house wouldn't look like a kid lived there and that there would be a hidden place for all toys and child related things. I was wrong. There is no way to have a child and a house that looks like there are no children. I think what I really wanted for the future was the ability to let go of being a mom and have a chance to have an identity beyond that. I now realize that I don't need to hide toys or evidence of children to maintain my identity and that being a mom never really overpowered the other aspects of myself which is what I was afraid of.
Hey remember that time you were like, Dangit I am not doing this whole parenting think like I thought I would be. I'm not sure I'm any good at this? Guess what? Literally every mother EVER has thought the same thing. You are never ever alone.