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