I'm Not a Bad Mom, I Just Need to Prioritize My Sanity
I'm on "round two” of this parenting thing, and I'm exhausted. Most days, I'm lucky if I get my face washed and teeth brushed by lunch time. If I have the chance to go to the bathroom before 9:00 a.m., I consider that a victory.
I've been at this mom stuff for almost three years, and as much as I would love to raise my kids on organic everything and try to be that perfect mom, I've wised up. I know that those moms are just about as real as unicorns and no mythical ideal is going to fool me into over-extending myself.
I haven't thrown in the towel. I haven't stopped caring. I just learned to stop sweating the small stuff... to focus more on enjoying my life as a mom, and less on trying to be a perfect one. Here are "bad mom" behaviors I've totally given into, and don't regret any of it:
I feed my child cereal for breakfast
It happens about 99% of the time... box, milk, bowl... Go! I don't bother with smoothies, overnight oats, or fancy papaya bowls. I feed my toddler cereal for breakfast – and not even the healthy ones. Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch are staples in our house. Why? Because cereal is quick and easy. And I'm a busy mom who also has to feed an infant and myself. But I don't feel guilty, because my little guy eats healthy the rest of the day.
And... because mornings are not the time for battles. I don't want to spend that time arguing over how my child should take just another bite of his stinky papaya bowl when we could spend that time chowing down cereal and chatting. In my book, having our special mornings together is absolutely worth skipping the extra stress of putting something more sophisticated together.
I use the television as a babysitter
I used to be more strict about letting my toddler watch too much television. And then I heard him repeating letters of the alphabet that were being taught on some of his favorite shows. He also started counting numbers along with the gang on Sesame Street, so we're totally killing preschool education with screen time. He's at the point now where he can name almost every show on the Disney Channel, and often requests them.
Are these shows educational? Not necessarily. But they make him laugh, and he can watch the same episodes over and over without getting sick of them. This gives me time to clean, do laundry, check Facebook, and occasionally poop in peace. So I'm thankful for Super Why, Curious George, and Liv & Maddie and all the rest of the folks who teach him and entertain him so I can get some stuff done.
I let our son sleep in mommy and daddy's bed
Our toddler sleeps with us in our bed. Every. Single. Night. It wasn't always this way. For a while, he slept (at least most of the night) in his own bed. But then sleep deprivation got the best of my husband and me, and we didn't have the energy to walk our little guy back to his room. Heck, we barely had the energy to tell him to go back. And so, now I sleep with elbows and feet and shoulders in my back. With arms across my face. With a little butt pressed against my stomach. It can be hard to get a good night's rest, but the snuggles we share make it pretty much worth it.
I give my kids wipe-free diaper changes
If one of my children has a massive poopy diaper, I always will wipe and clean their tooshie before putting a new diaper on. This, I don't mess around with. But sometimes the wipes aren't within arm's reach, so if they've only gone #1, I just change my kids without wiping. It doesn't happen every time I change them. But it does happen. Judge if you must, but they're still alive and kicking (and totally rash-free).
I ignore my child when he wants to play
At the park, in his room, wherever my little ball of energy is playing, he often invites me to join. And while I always come to the party, I don't always participate. Some days, I'm just too freakin' exhausted. I sit on the recliner or on the park bench, and I encourage my toddler to play by himself. It's good for him. It encourages independence and imagination. Occasionally he'll team up with some random rug rat on the playground, and we have play dates with friends sometimes.
There are days where I happily engage in a Hot Wheels car race, a LEGO building competition, or act as a monkey bars spotter, but mostly, I just sit back and enjoy the show.
Sometimes, my kids skip baths
If they aren't covered in poop, mud, ketchup, or shaving cream, do my kids really need a bath? Nah. Being dirty is what makes kids kids! As long as they don't go more than a day or two without being washed, I'm totally cool with them skipping their nightly bubble party. In fact, sometimes when they do take a bath, I just fill the tub with bubbles and consider that my way of cleaning them. Soaking in warm soapy water is going to get them cleaner than not bathing at all. Don't worry, I make sure not to skip the bath on a day that I've shopped wiping after a diaper change.
Sometimes, I give them too many baths
On days when I need to get a bunch of sh*t done, or I just need a break, I'll fill up the tub with just about anything... bubbles, petals, LEGOs, Oreos, you name it. I'll put my toddler in the tub, put on some music, and take a moment for myself. Some days, I need a bunch of moments for myself so he gets to play in the tub, eat ice cream in the tub, take a pretty flower bath and so on – all in one day. Whatever it takes, you know?! And then we're both in the right mindset to come together and enjoy our moment together.
I confess: I'm a not a perfect mama. But my kids are smart, cute, funny, healthy, content, and loved unconditionally. I might be skip a few beats here and there, but it lets us get through some of the tougher parts of the day, so that we actually love being together.
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