Five things I professed before having kids I would never allow and the excuses and reasons for why I’m breaking every single one now that I have children:
1. Watch movies in the car while driving in town
Before kids: Oh, the criticism I have for parents driving their vans and S.U.V.’s around town while cartoons entertain the kids. I completely understand the draw of a DVD player on a long road-trip through boring countryside, but in the city, while running errands? Come on, that’s lazy.
Now with kids: No, not lazy, just a parent sick of listening to whining, complaining, and/or bickering. Some days, by the time I’ve got both kids prepped to leave the house and buckled in the car for a “quick” errand, I’m sweating. If the promise of an episode of “Beep-Beep” (what we call Roadrunner and his enemy Wylie Coyote) will get four little feet to move quickly and cooperate, so be it!
2. Play on the germ-infested mall playground
Before kids: GERM-infested, enough said.
Now with kids: Germs? Even if I don’t allow the kids to climb the over-sized flowers, balls, and tree stumps they have touched every banister, bench, and door-knob in the mall anyway. Kids are walking germs. If it’s a crummy day outside and the kids need someplace to run off some energy, you’ll probably find me there with anti-bacterial wipes and a coffee.
3. Dress my children in character wear
Before kids: Spiderman t-shirts and Dora the Explorer sandals are not my idea of fashion forward. I will dress my kids in khaki’s, collared shirts, and sundresses; those are classic pieces that always look intentional and put-together.
Now with kids: If letting you wear a Thomas the Tank-engine shirt for the fourth day in a row, means you will cooperate and let me dress you in under four minutes, fine! Additionally, if the Disney Princess light-up shoes make you excited about footwear and encourages you to put them on yourself, throw them in the cart.
4. Use a safety harness with a leash
Before kids: You have a child, not a puppy. You must be a pretty inept parent if the only way you can keep track of your son is through the use of a leash attached to your wrist. Oh, and the principal is the same even with the harness disguised as a fuzzy monkey.
Now with kids: Even the most attuned, aware, and capable parent can find it difficult to keep up with an active and determined 2-year-old. Maneuvering an airport with luggage and children during a short lay-over seems like the perfect time for a safety harness to me! I would rather keep my son temporarily attached to me via a monkey back-pack than risk losing him forever in a crowd.
5. My children will not sleep in my bed
Before kids: Kids need to be taught to sleep in their own beds through the night. Parents could unknowingly roll over and suffocate their children. Furthermore, a healthy marriage won’t allow for extra bodies in-between the husband and wife.
Now with kids: I’m tired. I need sleep. If letting a small person sleep sideways in my bed and kick me through the night means I can catch some zzz’s, then climb on in! I know you won’t want to snuggle like this when you are 13-years old, so it has to end sometime. You love me and you miss me when I leave the room; I’m OK with that.
Jessica Brashear is married with two children. Read her blogs here on momaha.
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