Here’s What Really Happened…

13 Feb

Before I had children, I knew what kind of mother I was going to be. I was going to be a fun mother who loved to play and went on all kinds of adventures with her children. I was also going to breastfeed for as long as possible, use cloth diapers, avoid giving lots of sugar to my child, make healthy meals, avoid medicating my child, and avoid using television as entertainment and/or a babysitter for my child.

What is that famous John Lennon quote ?

“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”

It’s like I gave birth, looked at my previous parenting plans, and decided to do the exact opposite!

This is what really happened; this is real life…

Breastfeeding: This is a very touchy and sensitive subject for me. I won’t get into my reasons for bottle feeding right now (maybe in a future post), but my boy and I lasted 4 days on the boob.

Cloth diapers: I had about 70 second-hand cloth diapers in varying sizes ready and waiting by the changing table. The smallest size was too large for my tiny little 5 pounder. We used the disposable preemie diapers for about a month before RJ would fit into the smallest cloth diapers. My attempt at exclusively cloth diapering lasted a few weeks. Everything leaked. I was already doing several loads of laundry a day and this involved bundling up my baby and holding him in one arm, then holding the bag of laundry in the other arm, going downstairs, going outside the apartment, unlocking another door, going down more stairs, and finally into the laundry room. Repeat for the dryer cycle. Repeat to retrieve everything. The cloth diapers sat in a box for several months before finding themselves inside a Sally Ann.

Avoiding sugar and making healthy meals: I was pretty good at avoiding sugar with my first child because he had never tasted anything sweeter than fruit and therefore didn’t miss it or ask for it. I attempted homemade baby food but began buying the jarred stuff because it was convenient. RJ was good about trying all kinds of “big people” food up until his first birthday. Then he stopped eating almost everything and the following 3 years were a struggle to get any food into him. Forget the organic homemade health food. If he would put Kraft dinner in his mouth and actually swallow it, he could have Kraft dinner any time he wanted. As for sugary foods, that started when potty training started. I used chocolate chips as bribes for successful potty endeavors.

Having a picky eater and using bribery will probably be subjects for future posts.

Avoiding medications: RJ had one cold and one flu during the first two and a half years of life and neither affected his sleep in the slightest. I thought, why would I medicate my child when viruses and germs are just a minor inconvenience? I’m not giving him drugs just because his nose is runny. Fast forward to age three when we put RJ in daycare: I was shocked by how many colds both children had as a result of being exposed to a new group of children. Then school started this past September and the children literally had two colds a month, every month. (I kept track.) After the second or third month of not sleeping because the kids were coughing and crying all night, I chose to ignore the “for ages six and up” labels on children’s cough medicine.

Avoiding television: After the initial few months of postpartum recovery on the couch (pretty much 24 hours in front of the television), it was easy to stay away from the tv. My baby was so calm and quiet and easy going; entertaining him was simple. Then I got pregnant with my second child and the tv became a regular fixture to help me get through the days of nausea and exhaustion. The baby was born and I kept the tv on to survive the days of toddler neediness and baby fussiness. Nowadays, the tv is on a lot more than it probably should be.

Maybe I’m a lazy parent? Maybe I’m selfish?

I don’t know. I consider myself a good mother, but I have breaking points.

I need a certain amount of downtime and sleep in order to function. I also need (want) a shower every day. So, to get my down time, my sleep, my showers, and to keep my sanity, I make choices about what I let my children do and/or what I do for my children.

Other parents make different choices and there is a lot of contention in parenting circles about what choices are best. I do have a bit of “mom guilt” about the fact that I was unable to follow through with all my ore-conceived parental fantasies. But…in the end, a happy, secure, loved, healthy, and well-rounded child is the goal.

Four and a half years into this parenting job, I think I’m doing ok.

I’m ok.

3 Responses to “Here’s What Really Happened…”

  1. Jason February 13, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    You are doing much more than OK! You’re doing an awesome job honey!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. No Regrets | eating dirt - May 8, 2013

    […] Yes, it’s true, my children are often very annoying. Yesterday wasn’t the first time I’ve written about being annoyed. I feel that writing down my frustrations is a good form of therapy. I also feel that any writing I’ve done about my children, however embarrassing, won’t affect them negatively. Having said that, I still feel guilty. […]

  2. More guilt? Just what I needed… « eating dirt - February 17, 2013

    […] « Here’s What Really Happened… […]

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