When I was pregnant, I had a birth plan, which ended up not being followed perfectly due to unforeseen circumstances, but some of it was. Just having a plan made me feel empowered even though I wasn't able to easily push out my twins while singing Tom Petty's Wildflowers. Same thing with being a parent. I had a plan -- still do since my twins are only 3. And that plan includes all the things I want to avoid or not have them subjected to because I want them to turn out to be healthy, happy, and caring individuals.
If that plan was a test, I have failed miserably. I've broken most of the parenting rules I created and while I'm not proud of that, I've learned that being a parent isn't about being rigid or unforgiving or without mistakes. Now let's review those rules.
1. No TV! My husband and I created a no television ever rule. Yep, never! Commence laughter. We did stick with the no TV rule until our twins were about 2. Then we started with the occasional show when I needed to shower or cook food when alone with them. Now, at 3, they request their favorite shows. We don't overdo it. Still, it's a fail.
2. Never feed them jarred baby food! I had this grand plan to only serve my kids the most organically pure amazingly perfectly nutritious in the mostest bestest way foods only. No mass produced jarred stuff. Only farm to table stuff. That didn't work out as planned.
3. No juice! I win at this one! No juice and still going strong at 3 years old. Yay me! Feed me a kudo because I followed through with one and failed at all the others. My kids only drink milk and water. They have had juice at parties or when it's served at their preschool.
4. No plastic toys! Holy craptastic wood toys are expensive! And they just don't make a wooden Spider-Man.
5. Never eating fast food! Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-ooooo! Oh, that's not the right song for the golden arches? Don't tell my son. We indulge. Not a lot, but we do once in a while. It's those dang indoor playgrounds that are just so tempting on a day it's too cold/rainy to play outside. What's funny though is my daughter really only eats the apples and drinks the milk.
6. Never fighting in front of the kids! I'm hanging my head in shame but in a momentary lapse of judgement my husband and I have raised our voices at each other in front of our kids. My daughter didn't like it one bit and raised her hands in the air and yelled, "Guys! Guys! No yelling!" And that's when my 3-year-old was the better parent than I. I'm learning from them as much as I hope they are learning (the good stuff) from me.
So mistakes, yes, I've made a few ... but I learn from them and also learned that parenting isn't a perfect art but a beautifully messy work in progress. There are many parenting rules that I have followed and they include showing them love and kindness. I'm hopeful that when the grow up, they show the world the same.
Have you made parenting rules that you've also broken? How many on my list have you broken or followed?
Image via Michele Zipp