I probably did more reading while I was pregnant than I did in my four years of undergrad. I became obsessed with being the best parent that I could be, or least obsessed with figuring out what that was. Just before my kiddo turned one, I made a mental list of rules that I fully believed that I could follow. Before then it was just flailing for survival, but at one, I thought I had it together enough for a plan.
Screen time: I always said that I would seriously limit TV. Or, at least try. Oh, who was I kidding? It happened around 18 months with Baby TV. It’s the gateway drug, I swear. You tell yourself it’s only for 10 minutes and realize it’s the first time you’ve been able to load and unload the dishwasher before 7pm in over a year. Then you just want five more minutes of peace, but then, it snowballs into an obsession with Thomas the Train and by then, you’re too far gone….oh well. I thought, I’d find something else to stick to my guns on.
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Food: I always said that I would give my child a well-rounded, healthy meal and if he didn’t eat it, too bad. He’d just have to be hungry. That’s what I did when I was a kid and now I love all kinds of food. But then it happened: He became picky, as many toddlers do. How could I stick to my guns and just let him be hungry? What if he wakes up in the middle of the night because his tiny stomach is grumbling? That’s no good for any of us. I became a short-order cook. I thought, I’d find something else to stick to my guns on.
Bribery: I always said that I would be a strict yet loving parent and never be one to use bribery as a tactic. If he was going to throw a tantrum, fine. I can handle it. I’m an adult. He is a child. Until the tantrum happened in public. It was a full blown, flop fest in the grocery store that made it happen. I gave him candy to get through the rest of the shopping trip. “What’s wrong with me?,” I asked myself. This was not part of the plan.
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So, “what have you stuck to your guns on?”, you ask?
I always said that my kid would never drink juice. Our pediatrician scared me straight and convinced me that nothing good can come from the stuff, so I avoid it at all costs. While I’m not judging anyone for a second (lest they judge me for all of my broken promises), my child has somehow been juice-free for 1,081 days.
Everything else…not so much. And you know what? That’s ok. Because at least I was able to hold onto something, and that’s enough for me.