Hippie meets Type A control freak -- that's the kind of mom Christina Applegate expects to be when her first child is born.
“I’ll probably be a little bit hippie and a little bit Type A,” Applegate recently told People. "I’ll take from what my mother did, which was way hippie and like ‘Do what you wanna do,’ and bring some things that I know from watching my friends raise their kids. An amalgamation of sorts.”
Applegate actually sounds like she has a pretty laid-back approach to her parenting plan, which is nice to hear.
My plan for parenthood, and those of many others I know, was a little more prescribed INSANE. Here are a few of the plans I had and how they really turned out.
My Plan: There would be no chaos. Everything would have a place, and at the end of the day, everything would go into those cute and neatly organized (probably labeled) boxes and bins that pepper the pages of Pottery Barn Kids. Toys (all eco-friendly and non-plastic) would never be missing parts or pieces, and they would never migrate out of the children's bedrooms or playroom into common areas. Ever.
My Reality: Oh, I have all the cute boxes and bins alright, I just can't usually find them because they're buried under the mounds of plastic toys and junk ... somewhere in my house. I could entertain a small playgroup in any room of my house because there are toys everywhere.
A Clean Car
My Plan: I've written about this before, but the state of my car has been one of the biggest shocks of parenthood for me. Before kids I saw a friend's car who had let her children eat it in. It was the grossest thing I'd ever seen, and I vowed mine would NEVER eat unless seated at a table.
My Reality: Suffice it to say I think I found something growing in there the other day.
My Plan: I would not be one of those crazy moms who lived and died by her children's sleep schedules. Rushing home from lunch because your 2-year-old had to have nap? RIDICULOUS. Children are flexible, mine would adjust. And there was NO WAY I was going to insist on silence. I wanted them to get used to the noise; I would vacuum under their cribs from the time they were born.
My Reality: I couldn't be held responsible for the rage I would inflict on anyone or anything who interferes with my children's sleep. Those naps are the secret to any chance of a happy child, and there's not much I won't do to ensure they get them. As for the noise, forget the vacuuming, we can live with a few dust bunnies. I'm now that obnoxious neighbor with a sign taped over her doorbell: "Do NOT Ring."
By the Book
My Plan: I would subscribe to (and read) every parenting magazine. I would read every parenting book; when an issue arose (and likely before it did), I would seek out expert opinions, weigh the pros and the cons, and come up with a well-researched plan for everything from food choices to potty training.
My Reality: The magazines keep coming, and I keep adding them to the pile of other things I never get to read. And an entire book? Ha! There's no time. I parent on the fly and according to my gut and pray I'm doing the right things.
And those are just a few of the many stark examples.
I've learned a lot about letting go in the last seven years since I became a parent -- letting go of expectations and letting go of the frustration and guilt and when expectations aren't met.
I think too many of us paint a picture of what parenthood is going to be like and how we'll react to it and are left stunned from the reality. So the fewer expectations, the more just embracing it as it comes seems to be a better way to go.
Of course, had anyone tried to tell me that when I was pregnant, I wouldn't have listened at all. After all, I had a plan.
What kind of mother do you plan/did you plan to be? How's it different from your reality?
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