As a parent, I’ve had to eat my words on more than one occasion. Before becoming a mother, I had all sorts of ideas of what I’d do and wouldn’t do as a parent. Little did I know that I’d be eating my words more than once.
The first time I did it was regarding sleep. I told some friends that I’d never let my children sleep in my bed. HA! When Sean was born 10 years ago, I just couldn’t put him down. He slept in my hospital bed the first night. Even when he started sleeping on his own, he would wake in the night and we’d bring him in with us. We did the same with our other 2 children. I can’t remember why I said I wouldn’t let them sleep with me – it seems so ridiculous now. I read a quote from Dr. Sears once that talked about co-sleeping and he said, “Who wouldn’t want to wake up between his two favorite people in the world?” I agree.
Here’s another one. I wanted to breastfeed, but I couldn’t imagine doing it past 6 months. I don’t know why. I assume it’s because it was unknown to me and I knew I wanted to give my baby the best I could, but I didn’t know how it would go. I also probably didn’t know if I’d like it, because I couldn’t imagine what the whole experience would be like. Turns out I nursed each one of them well past a year, and moved some mountains to be able to nurse my youngest while I was in the hospital. I’m really glad I did it, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I know there are other instances. I gave the kids sugar earlier than I thought. I let my girls play with princesses. (I thought they were a bad influence and gave girls a bad message about being rescued and giving up their whole lives for men.) I get more frustrated than I wish I did. I got them fast food. For a long time, I made separate meals for the kids than for my husband and I because I wanted them to eat what they liked, rather than eat what I made for the whole family. We bought not one video game console, but two, even though we used to say we’d NEVER have one in the house.
The latest meal I had was in regards to scheduling.
When my kids were younger (and my youngest wasn’t even born yet), I remember having a conversation with another mom about activities. She said to me, “Oh, I don’t want to overschedule them.” and proceeded to tick off a whole list of activities her kids were involved in, which seemed to contradict the whole concept of overscheduling. I thought she was crazy for having her kids in so many activities and swore I’d never do that with my own children.
Well, now that I’ve got 3 school age children involved in activities, I’m singing a different tune. Our schedule:
Monday: Oldest starts taking an afterschool math/science class next week. Both older kids go to catechism. Once a month the middle has Brownie meetings. Once a month she has an activity for Brownies.
Wednesday: Middle takes an engineering class. Youngest takes ballet.
Thursday: Once a month the youngest has Daisies.
Friday: Middle takes gymnastics. Oldest will start taking tennis.
Saturday: All 3 (and I) take piano lessons.
Today I tried to sign them all up for Spanish lessons on Tuesdays, but unfortunately (or fortunately for me, actually), the class was canceled due to lack of interest.
So, although I don’t think that each one of the children is necessarily overscheduled, perhaps just I am overscheduled. And classes, music, and physical activity are all things that are worthwhile things for them to do. I just need to figure out how to get us all from one place to another without Mommy collapsing in the middle of something.
I know this won’t be the last thing I eat my words about. After all, we haven’t hit the teen years yet!