Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Things I Said I'd Never Do As A Parent... But Do.

In my life before parenting there were loads of things I said I'd never do. I was a text book expert, who had ideas about everything from birthing to raising a child. Plus I was a teacher, so with my 'wealth of experience' in education, I knew exactly the sort of child I was and was not going to raise.

1. I said I'd never swear in front of my kids.

 Did I really say that? Because I have sworn on many occasions in front of them. Mostly if I am just REALLY PISSED OFF about something, or if I feel like I am the only person in our house who ever listens to me. But also sometimes if I have hurt myself, or if I am in a wildly animated telephone exchange. I do TRY not to swear in front of the kids, and actually, they have become fairly proficient at pulling me up when I do let an f-bomb go. In our house, my kids think that 'stupid', 'fart', 'bum' and 'dumb' are also swear words, and as we refer to all swear words as 'f-words', I sure as heckfire hope that my kids don't run around saying "Mum said the f-word last night!", because chances are I didn't...

2. I said I'd never bribe my kids.

Little did I know that bribing appears to have the greatest success rate in me, as the parent, having a win! I will bribe for silence when I am on the phone. "Yes! Just take a packet of chips/piece of chocolate/popper but take it away from me while I am on the phone!" I will also bribe for good behaviour in public. "If you kids can try not to fight while I am doing the shopping today, and if you don't run a trolley up my ankles, or the ankles of any other person, you can have an ice-cream when we get to the car." I have also been known to bribe in regards to education. "If you can pull 20/20 on every spelling test for the next month, you can get something nice from the newsagent." To which Miss 7 replied, "MUM! Miss Betts would NEVER ask me to get 20/20 in my test! She would just tell me to do my best, and that's all that matters! I wish SHE was my Mum!" To which I speedily rushed into the school to justify my actions before poor Miss Betts thought I was running some sort of sweat factory at home for kids and spelling tests. I now bribe for any result between 18-20/20...

FYI - 'ass whooping' can also mean, 'time out', no toys/games/tv, silent treatment etc...

3. I said I'd never let my kid have a dummy.

Actually, none of my kids have ever had a dummy. However, I do have one thumb sucker (and if anyone has tips on how to get him to stop they would be greatly appreciated). But there was this one time during a long haul car trip where my baby was SCREAMING, so I stopped and tried desperately to shove a dummy in her mouth. We were so close to our destination, and after 6 hours in a car I just wanted to get there. I would have sold my soul to the devil if my baby had taken the dummy for me at that moment, but it lasted only a minute before it was out of her mouth and on the floor. I was not anti-dummies after that.

4. I said I'd never formula feed my babies.

I breast fed all three of my children for varying lengths of time, however there were the odd occasions where I resorted to formula feeds when my poor organisation left me with no expressed milk (or not enough expressed milk) to last while I was away. I once attended a wedding when my first baby was only a few months old. She was strictly breast fed and I had expressed enough milk for what I thought would last for the duration of the wedding. My mother was babysitting her for me. In the first hour all the milk was gone, and after screaming for however long, my poor mother was left with no other option than to go to a pharmacy and buy bottles, formula and the whole kit and caboodle to feed my poor, starving baby. While she dealt with that, I was stuck at the wedding, forced to go and 'hand express' milk into the toilets at regular intervals as my engorged breasts started turning to stone. I'm pretty sure I would have vowed I would never hand express into a toilet at a wedding too, had I known that was a possibility, but it's one of those things we find ourselves doing as first time mothers.

5. I said I'd never let a room full of people see me naked.

The only time I would ever allow that was if I was in labour. That's how you know you're in REAL labour... when a room full of strangers enters the room and you couldn't care less. This happened to me with my first baby. Since then I have had my boobs out on show during breastfeeding,  (pretty much for the whole world to see at times), and now going to the doctors for any number of 'female tests' doesn't bother me at all.

6. I said my kids would never eat a whole bunch of foods.

Mostly my kids are pretty good eaters. They love fruit. One even loves all veges! They will eat almost anything put in front of them (almost...), but here I am, all these years later, and I could tell you what my kids will order from McDonalds when we are there (we lives 250km from the nearest fast food outlet thank goodness), and that they love (ewwww) Nutella. I do draw the line at a large number of foods, but the point I am making is that my kids have tried it all. Thy might not eat it regularly, but they still know what it all is.

7. I said they'd never be able to watch certain movies at certain ages.

I'm still fairly strict about it, but I have probably let them watch more than I said they would at their ages. They love girly movies, so sometimes we have 'rainy day movie days' where we watch soppy love stories like 'Ever After' and 'Mamma Mia'. Recently my 7 year old came into the lounge room while 'Jurassic Park' was on, and looked up just in time to see a man get eaten by a dinosaur. After a quick explanation about how that could NEVER happen in real life and the whole 'it's just a movie' speech, I have endeavoured to be more careful about this now...

8. I said I'd never have an uneven number of kids - specifically 3 - because someone is always left out.

WHY GOD WHY???!!! Here I am with 3 kids... and yes, they fight. Yes... they pick sides against each other and YES, I think constantly that surely 4 must be better than 3. But that boat has long sailed now...

I suppose the point I'm making is that EVERY DAY I break another of my 'I said I'd never do that' rules.

And to be fair, I think I've still done okay as far as parenting goes. These kids have their moments, but mostly they are pretty cool, friendly and likeable street angels. Yes, street angels. You know the ones... they do everything right in public and then the minute you get behind closed doors they spiral down into a mutated version of their former selves. This meltdown usually lasts until they are asleep. But I digress, these kids are almost exactly how I wanted my kids to be. They are happy, healthy, clever little people. We have a lot of love in our house, and eve though I manage to screw up daily, somehow these kids are resilient enough to wear it.

And I love them for it.

Is there anything you said you'd never do, that you do?


  1. Ok so, I said I'd never let my kids suck their thumbs past say, age 3... Flash forward and Eric is 6 and I finally put my foot down. I bribed him with lego (which was very motivating), but what really helped was putting a bandaid on his thumb during the day to remind him not to suck and a glove on at night to snap him out of 'unconsciously' doing it.

  2. Ok, so I said I'd never let my kids suck their thumbs past say, age 3 - flash forward and Eric is 6 and I finally put my foot down. I bribed him (yup bribed) with lego (which was really motivating). During the day I put a bandaid on him thumb to remind him not to suck, and a glove on at night to snap him out of 'unconsciously' sucking. It took less than a week - but he did have withdrawl symptoms!

  3. It's not called bribing in our house... I prefer "incentivising"..... LOL

  4. I bribe.... I swear....I got naked...They watch, enjoy,understand movies/TV shows that are way more rated than G, and I've got 3 too...THE worst number of children to have I think...mine are home devils, street angels too...

  5. A big yes to all of the above!!! Must go with the mummy territory. :)


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