One of my favorite things about Thursdays is that I get to play along with Mama Kat’s Writing Prompts, because she always gets me thinking about things that I probably wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. Take this prompt for instance: “List 10 rules you’ve unlearned (meaning 10 things you thought were expected of you or were the “right way” of doing things, but that you now ignore).”
Oh yeah. After 15 years of marriage and 13 years of being a parent, I’m sure there are a few things I have learned to unlearn. Honestly, at the onset of this post, I have no idea what those things might be. But I have faith that they exist. I am certainly nothing like the mother I was 13 years ago.
1 – “Make your kids eat all of their food at meal times.”
Blah. I have spent too many days and nights stressing over whether my kids are eating enough and have come to the conclusion that kids will eat when they’re hungry, and as long as I’m offering them healthy alternatives they will be ok. Kids will not eat cherrios and mac and cheese forever.
2 – “You MUST potty train your child at age two.”
I have a confession. I was horrified when I heard of a friend with a child older than mine potty training her child when she was 3 years old. I thought I would rather die than have a child that OLD still wearing diapers. And then I had a 2 year old who had a mind of her own, was down on the couch sick with another baby on the way….and she was potty trained right in time for her 3rd birthday. The rest followed suit. Three turned out to be the perfect age for us (the HORROR!).
3 – “Your house must be orderly and clean at all times, or at least at the end of every day.”
Whatever. Sometimes sleep and play are infinitely more important than cleaning.
4 - “Little girls should have their hair in cute clips or headbands or braids.”
You can only force little girl’s into certain hair-dos for so long. And after that, it’s a losing battle and something not worth the fight. My only rule is brushing now.
5 – “Junk food and fast food restaurants are horrible, and you will never (or at least very rarely) give your kids that kind of food.”
While it’s true that we don’t eat out very often, and I rarely have store-bough junk food in my house anymore, I have no problem with making cookies and other treats and eating them regularly…..and sometimes a day at McDonalds is just what the doctor ordered. Take today for instance. I took my laptop to McDonalds play land and left with tons of work done and a very happy and tired boy.
6 – “Laundry should be done on a schedule.”
If I did my laundry on a specific day of the week like I wished I could, I would always be behind. There just aren’t enough hours in one day to get it all done. So daily laundry, a load here and a load there, is how we roll.
7 – “Children need baths every day and cannot miss their nap time ever.”
So what if they have dirt under their toe nails? We wash hands, brush hair and teeth, and change underwear daily. And we are just fine. Who’d have known? And as far as the nap thing goes, life must go on. Soemtimes that means being out of the house during nap time. They survive.
8 – “Never let your boys play with toy weapons!”
I hated toy guns and swords. Growing up with one brother surrounded by sisters on both sides, I didn’t get a good taste of how typical little boys interacted with each other. So I was shocked when my sweet first born son began “making” his own weapons. Cardboard, sticks, vacuum cleaner attachments all became weapons. Until one day I finally gave in and let him have the play weaponry and taught him the rules of sword and gun play.
9 – “There are certain baby items that you MUST have, no matter what the cost.”
In the end, every time we had a baby, there were more important things to spend our money on. The kids ended up having generic nurseries that they shared with their siblings, hand-me-down high chairs and strollers from the thrift store. And we never owned a Diaper Genie. Recycling shopping bags worked just fine for us. In fact, all in all, raising our kids on a budget has worked out very well. And they haven’t known a bit of difference.
10 - “You will never take as many pictures of your last as you did of your first.”
How wrong was I? So wrong. I take so many pictures of all of my kids (until of course they get old enough to know to run from me when I whip out my camera!)
What parenting or life practices have you learned to unlearn?
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