Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Backpeddle Parenting - The Things I Said I'd Never Do

Eight years ago my oldest child was born and I became a parent. Even though I didn't have a good grasp on what parenting would actually be like back then, I did have some pretty strong opinions on how I was going to do it.  Eight years later - some of the things I said I'd never do?  I do them.  Sometimes a mom's just got to change her mind...

My No Toy Policy

When I was pregnant with my first, I told Russ that we would have one or two simple (not plastic) toys for our children. Everything else would be books.  Eight years later... we have toys.  For the first several months of Aaron's life, we didn't have toys (I was too naive? stupid? prideful? to realize at the time that that was because infants care naught for toys and really had nothing to do with my stringent policy.)  But when Aaron was six months old, Russ got a seasonal job at Fisher Price.  FISHER PRICE - the Mecca of the plastic toy universe.  Needless to say, my policy went out the window.  The Fisher Price Toy Store was ours to get lost in at a generous employee discount.  Since then, we've done away with some of the FP toys we recklessly acquired during that time, though I have to admit, some we still have and they continue to be favorites of the kids and me!  Like this little guy...

Fisher Price hedgehog.  We call him Cedric.
We've added many other types of toys and activities to our collection along the way, and though we do have many books, I don't think we'll ever be a family without toys! 

Our children will share toys and we will not buy more than one of anything in an attempt to avoid conflict...


One example with suffice: When Dominic was old enough to want a toy lawn mower, we bought a second one.  We couldn't stand the bickering anymore, and far be it from me to discourage a love of yard work at an early age - I LOVE having my caravan of mowers out there on summer days!


I always believed I would never bribe my children.  After all, that's what parents without true authority do to get their children to comply.  I must confess, though, that I do in fact bribe my children... with sugary treats.  It's not rampant, but it does kick into full gear when it's time for a family photo.  You want a candy cane, you say?  We'll let's wait and see if we can get a nice photo of everyone in front of the Christmas tree * or * If everyone sits still, keeps their eyes open, looks at the camera, doesn't poke a sibling, and keeps their tongue in their mouth, MAYBE you can a have a piece of chocolate from your Easter basket.  You get the idea.  Any nice picture you may see of my kids was most likely followed by a cookie or M&M or donut hole. Otherwise, there would be no photographs to document the fact that my family ever existed.  

Here's one of my favorites...

The children will stay in their rooms until 7am.

Our boys are early risers.  We used to treat this as a disciplinary thing, having the policy that all children must quietly stay in their bedrooms until 7am or until they saw the hallway light come on (thus signaling that Mom and Dad were ready for the onslaught day to begin.)  Let me tell you, it's wretched to start the day punishing your children for being awake.  Now we let them come out at 6, and if for some reason they're up and wide awake before that I make them do school lessons or chores :)

They will not eat hot dogs more than once every other week.

Sometimes I'm out of the house in the evenings and I've learned to not ask, or even wonder about, what Russ gave them for dinner in the event that I didn't leave one ready for consumption. (He probably gave them some combination of hot dogs, banana splits, dill pickles, and candy corn.  But I'm not really sure, because I. don't. ask.)

I will not give my babies a pacifier.

We made this ridiculous decision before any babies had actually been born to us and we didn't realize how much they'd cry and how much we'd want them to be quiet.  So...

Have you reserved the right to change your mind?  What aspects of your parenting have you happily backpeddled on?  


  1. I swore I wouldn't use can't to help with potty training. I am going to try to potty train my second daughter in a few weeks and I already have a jumbo size bag of mini m&m's.

    1. Oh, this made me laugh! We are sort of toilet training Clare and are doing it without treats in this early phase. But the other kids remember the treats and keep encouraging her to use the toilet and then asked me for snacks. They remember so well...

  2. They wouldn't have toy guns - eventually I caved into water pistols and nerf guns
    nor would we have TV/DVDs,for nine years we didn't and then.. we did, wouldn't say happy about it though

    1. Ah yes, I forgot about toy guns. We've capitulated in that we let the boys build bows and arrows out of sticks and rubber bands if they want a "weapon." It's just a matter of time before we have nerf guns though. I can tell!

  3. The day Miles was born I made it very clear to Robby I did not want him to have a pacifier. When Miles came back from the nursery with a pacifier in his mouth, I was livid. I nearly had Rob go tell the nurse to never use it again. THEN - later that week ( sometime shortly after Miles' circumsision) we noticed a pacifier lying next to his screaming, red face. We used it and haven't looked back. I am trying at this point to limit binky usage to naps and bedtime.
    There was also my dream of exclusively breastfeeding for his first year. You know how that turned out:)


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