Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Was a Much Better Parent Before I Had Kids...

Is it just me, or did any of you think you judged other mom's methods before you had kids? I swore up and down that I would never do that, or I would only do this, and I would never ever let my kid do that! What are those mom's thinking? Even crossed my mind every once in a while. And the ironically funny thing is, is now... I AM those moms!

Here are a few rules I had set for myself and my future children:

1. Grocery Store Behavior
Me before kids: My kids will never act that way in the store. I will make sure that they understand proper behavior and the consequences that will follow if they step out of line. Tantrums are just unacceptable! And I just can't believe that mom is just acting like she can't hear her kid crying for candy. If it was my kid, I would have let them know that they won't get candy at the store, so don't expect it! I can't believe she just gave in and gave him a sucker from her purse! Now the kid will always expect that...Geesh! Moms just don't get it these days. I am going to be such a better mom!

Me after kids: Even though I never buy them candy in the store, they still want it. That's why I pre-pack my purse with treats and fruit snacks, anything to take the edge off even if they don't deserve it! Bribery can be a wonderful tool! Tantrums are a natural part of life, especially if you only have time to make it to the store around or during nap time... then it just doesn't matter, they are going to cry anyway. If a sucker will shut him up... the ends justify the means. And if the tantrum continues, yes, I will just ignore him. No point in feeding into it. I doesn't matter how strict I am, my boys are going to do what they want to do. And in all honesty, it really isn't a huge deal. They will grow out of it eventually. The only people that are bothered by it are those who don't have kids, and who cares what they think anyway?

2. Strict Punishment
Me before kids:
My children will never ever sass me, or talk back to me. I will let them know that it is not acceptable behavior in our family. There will be no physical violence. My children will be loving and kind and learn to share their toys. Time out will be strictly observed and monitored. I just can't believe what kids get away with these days. Parents are so lax on rules. I am never going to be that way.

Me after kids: What doesn't kill them will make them stronger. I learned pretty fast that boys just like to rough around and tease. There will be hitting and kicking and non-sharing. Period. Timeout is only a temporary fix. Long enough for them to forget why they were in there in the first place. Beside 80% of the time, they remember when they get out and 10 minutes later, they are in timeout again. A vicious cycle to say the least. Raising your kids to have manners takes a lot of patience, and a long time sometimes.

3. Sweet Rule
Me before kids: My kids will never have candy. They will love fruit and veggies, and enjoy wholesome foods like fish and whole grains.

Me after kids: If you eat your fish sticks/ hot dog/chicken nuggets you can have a fruit snack!! Veggies? What are those?

4. Zero Tolerance
Me before kids: My kids will never walk around with a snotty nose, food on their face, dirty clothes, or a saggy diaper. Don't parents even care their child looks like a rag-a-muffin?

Me after kids: If I can just get through the day sane, I think I am doing fine. A snotty nose, a little food on the face never hurt anyone. And as for the saggy diaper? Just being frugal -- the cost of diapers these days....

5. Loud Kids at Church
Me before kids: Just take that screaming child out of here for crying out loud! I will never be that disrespectful!

Me after kids: Oh, no one much notices if it isn't too loud. Besides I want to hear the rest of this talk. Anyway, I don't want my kids to think if they are bad they get rewarded by leaving and playing in the hall.

6. The Baby Voice
Me before kids: I will always talk to my children like little adults, and never use that stupid baby voice tone I hear mom's use all the time.

Me after kids: Aren't you the cutest little guy I have ever seen!! Mommy loves you sooooo much! Oh, I could just pinch those chunky little cheeks!

And the list goes on. Man, I love being a mom!

What really make me laugh, and even a bit annoyed, is that there are a lot of childless people out there passing around well-meaning parenting advice. Now, I am not talking about professionals (Sammy's teacher is single and hasn't kids and sometimes I think she knows him better than I do!) or my good friends that visit me here who don't have kids yet. But I have run into some blogs every now and again that dish out all sorts of advice and nagging about parents like me. I have to laugh. Seriously, they really have no idea what they are talking about. I feel like warning them about Karma, that they will probably get a rough kid someday that will throw all their parenting ideas out the window and challenge their very sanity. We can only hope... *evil laugh*

"My childhood should have taught me lessons for my own fatherhood, but it didn't because parenting can only be learned by people who have no children. " -Bill Cosby



thatgirlblogs said...

My little daughter's name is Cat! Short for Catherine.

Anyway, I have four kids and still haven't mastered getting them to behave in the grocery store. All those bright lights and pretty packaging...

Samantha said...

I had to laugh at the food on the face, saggy diaper thing. People have actually said something to me about my daughter having food on her face/hair. And as they go toward her with a paper towel or something to wipe her face off, I'm trying to warn them or explain to them what will happen if they do that. If anyone goes near Bree with something to wipe her face off with, she throws herself backwards, sideways, forward, all the while screaming like someone has just cut off her leg. I always smile at the person trying to clean her mouth and say, "That's why she has food on her face." It's not worth hearing all of that "high pitched girl screaming" over a few crumbs/ketchup/ranch dressing stuck to her face.

Catherine said...

Amen, sista! I totally judged parents on their parenting, especially when I was a teenager. Like you, I thought all the time, "I will NEVER do that!" Boy have I eaten some of my words or what! haha

Your post reminds me of this one written by my cousin, Julie. You would love it! And then read her comments when my other cousin comes up with his own version. I about died laughing!

Jill said...

Oh the many many conversations you and I have had about this very thing. I know you're referring to me about the sucker in the store. In all fairness, he had dropped it in the car before we got into the store. I just wanted him to stop crying! And for people to stop staring. However, instead I got crusty looks. Oh-well. They don't know my life. They don't know my sons issues. They don't know what happened before we got to the store. I am definitely one of those moms who has changed a lot since having kids. I don't know if I necessarily judged other moms or if I just wasn't as tolerant as I should have been. But that's all changed now. My son definitely helped with that!!! Thanks for the laugh and honesty. Maybe one of THOSE moms will read it and be a little more patient with the rest of us. ;)

Our Family said...

I've started bringing snacks/suckers on our grocery store trips, too. I try to ration the snacks throughout the trip so they stay occupied the whole time. We shop at the commissary on base every week (a 30 minute trip one way), so the kids are already tired of sitting by the time we get there. But, everyone else in the store doesn't know that.

Sara Richins said...

For the church thing, we make going out in the foyer a bad thing. They go on time out, not running around, no playing, no fun. They have learned that if they are good, staying with Mommy and Daddy in the sacrament hall is much better than going to with one of us. That means time out.

Jennie @ ModernMamaz said...

By far, this is my favorite of all of your posts! You couldn't be more right!!

Multiple personalities.. said...

My favorite one is number 4, which just cracks me up. My mother was always so anal retentive about what and how her kids looked like, and heaven forbid we ever left the house with a kool-aid mustache or a spot on our clothes. Before kids, I swore I'd be the exact same kids would never be dirty. And now, nothing gives me more pleasure than watching my 8-yr-old boy get down and dirty and all boys should be able to do. It was lovely meeting you via SITS! Thanks for sharing you mommy wisdom!

Tobi said...

Amen! I used to think the exact same things before I was a parent. Oh how the mighty have fallen!!

Melanni said...


Memento - Terri said...

I loved reading your post. Thanks for sharing. I think we all have moments of oh my I am either doing what I said I wouldn't do or an I'm sounding like my mother!

Jessica said...

Your list is so right on...esp. the church part. It finally got so that if one of our boys are bad during sacrament meeting, we take them to an empty room (no easy task since our building is over used) and make them sit until they can be works sometimes, but then we miss parts of talks...sometimes it doesn't and we all suffer through.

Single Mama NYC said...

This is a terrifically funny way of describing that old adage, "You do your best parenting before you have children". I didn't get that saying when I was childless, but boy do I get it now!

Amber Lynae said...

Cat you crack me up. Don't we all think ourselves the expert until we have to become the novice. That is like me thinking a SAHM actually would have some time to herself. yeah that one still makes me laugh (or cry.)

Cynthia said...

Sing it, Sista! I knew so much more before I KNEW what I was talking about.

I had a guy friend over (single dude who is a quadrepeligic). John was so annoyed that my kids were fighting and I didn't stop them. I could see him getting aggitated and judging.

I finally said "John, I know you think I should step in but I'm teaching them right now. They are learning that they are competent to solve their own problems. I'll only step in if it comes to fisticuffs!"

He seemed to 'get it' but he might have ALSO sensed the truth that I was sick and tired of kid squabbles- let them eat each other, I'm tired!

Practically Perfect... said...

OK, just the title of this post made me laugh!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Amen. I have a sister who has given me parenting advice for years. I'm excited for her because she's expecting her first now, but partially because I can't wait to see her brain boil over when it doesn't go quite like she's always planned. I know, it's not nice, but I still can't wait.