10 Things I Vowed To Never Do With My Kids That I Do Now
By Selena Mills, They Roar
PHOTO © langstrup/123RF
Feb 15, 2018
Before actually having any children, in my dreamy idea of maternal life, I postulated about all that I would and wouldn’t be with so much certainty. And if I’m being really honest, these ideals I had concocted in my brain were a direct product of the judgement I established towards parents who I saw doing some of the exact things I said I’d never do.
So to all of the would-be, could-be, expecting and newbie parents out there: check yo’self.
And to all of those whom I thought I could do it “better than," let this be my humble admission of messy — mostly-dark-humoured — truths. (But when it comes to these admissions, I know I am not alone.)
1. I Would Never Lose My Temper
Patience is something I struggle with. And while rising to the occasion is my job, it’s my kids’ job to test my patience and for me to be consistent, fair and as gentle as I can be. Sometimes, though, I lose my cool. The quintessential picture of calm and serenity I am not. But I’m working on it.
2. I Wouldn't Bribe My Kids
While I’m not handing out gummy bears for eating X amount of broccoli, I’ve definitely been known to promise a few of the jewel-toned, delectably-chewy sugary delights to my kids for family picture time, or to stop picking their nose and eating it. Lesser of two evils, AMIRITE?
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3. I Wouldn’t Let My Kids Play With Toy Guns
Hoo-boy, this is a loaded one. (Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.) I was really, really sure about this one. I mean, it’s pretty simple, right? Gunplay promotes violence and aggressive types of play that I didn’t want to have to work extra hard at derailing.
But then we moved to the suburbs (see point 9 — and yes, I know kids everywhere play with guns), wherein every child within a 10-mile radius harboured extensive Nerf collections. My children very much wanted to be included in all the neighbourhood fun. So I gave in. Boy, did I ever. We now have our own collection. And our son’s 8th birthday party? An epic Nerf battle at an indoor facility. I’m not proud, but I’m kind of over it.
4. I’d Never Leave The House In My Pyjamas
Ohhh, how the mighty have fallen. I’m writing this post in my pyjamas. Not much else needs to be said here.
5. I’d Never Let My Kids Dress Like A Hot Mess
With so many adorable kid clothing options out there, this has been quite the conundrum. When I would see a disheveled kid, I would think that child to be neglected or the parent lazy. What a jerk I was, right?
I LOVE kids' fashion. But kids should be able to experiment with colours and mixing and matching and learning how to do their own hair. Giving up this control has resulted in a steady stream of questionable fashion choices, alarming colour palettes, zig-zag parts and frequent frumpy looks (by my own standards). But as long as my kids feel like they look like a magical unicorn or the next up-and-coming Avenger, I’m good.
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6. I Would Only Use Cloth Diapers
With my first, the clothesline was in action every day. Because sunlight is nature’s bleach, y’know. We kept them in circulation with our second, but let’s just say disposables and Pull-Ups made their way past my steely glare and wrapped their absorbent flaps around my tuckered heart for road trips. And from there, it was a slippery slope of convenience indeed.
7. My Kids Would Never 'Cry It Out'
With two being born so close together, and colic permeating our every waking (and would-be sleeping) moment with our second born, we tried a sleep-training method with parental presence with our first, who was a toddler at the time. This essentially meant he cried out it out, but with either my presence or my husband’s to comfort him via bum pats and back rubs and singing and rocking, but never giving in to go back to our bed. On repeat. It was tough. There were nights I slept on the floor next to his bed, and then outside his bedroom door, but it paid off.
8. My Kids Wouldn’t Eat Crap
I’m definitely a proponent for healthy eating, but I’m also a proponent of sanity and picking one’s battles. While food is indeed medicine, so is the sweet, sweet sound of not having to nag and/or hear complaints every. single. night. So we have a one-bite rule in our house — sometimes that's mac n’ cheese, other times I torture them with quinoa concoctions. Though I do have kids who proudly point and say "ew" to McDonalds... they cheer and foam at the mouth for A&W.
9. We Wouldn’t Move To The Suburbs
I wanted the arts programming and diversity that living in a big city yields. What I also wanted was to invest in a home that we could actually afford and make a profit off of down the line. So we made a compromise to move.
While the city that I live in still lacks the diversity I crave for my kids to grow up in, and I still find myself considering driving multiple hours a week to theatre and art classes that represent authentic, intercultural and multidisciplinary methods, we have made a home. We’ve built community and have friends who share some of the same ideals. I’ve learned to become more humble about associating with and appreciating people who have different values and opinions than me. That’s diversity too — as hard as it is sometimes — I’ve learned.
10. I Wouldn’t Join The Parent Council
Well, you know what they say. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and work from the ground up to create change. And that’s all I’m going to say about that right now.