Things I Said I’d never do … and Haven’t!

As a first time mom-to-be, I felt confident that at 30 years of age, I could set some goals or have some strong ideas about parenting and stick with them. I had watched my sister-in-law raise three boys and my sister raise two girls. I had been a babysitter in high school and a nanny in college, and had countless friends who had entered motherhood so I had seen, heard, and learned a lot. While there are some things I said I would never do that have long since gone by the wayside, there is also a list of things I said I would never do … and haven’t!

things I said I'd never do ... and haven't!

#1: I will never use condescending phrases when speaking to first-time moms-to-be. These phrases include, but are not limited to: “you won’t feel that way when you have a child,” “that’s what you say now, but you’ll change your mind when your baby is born,” “once your baby is born, you’ll understand,” or “yeah … good luck with that!” These words sound kind of harsh, right? They are. When friends and acquaintances said these things to me when I was expecting, they made me feel like a failure as a mom before my daughter was even born.

Bottom line: your experience is not my experience, my experience is not my friend’s experience, and so on. We are all different, and our plans, goals, choices, and experiences as parents-to-be should be respected and honored.

Even if you disagree with your friend’s plan for natural childbirth, think your sister is totally nuts for wanting to encapsulate her placenta, or want to laugh when your friend says that she would NEVER allow her child to throw a fit in a restaurant, just smile, nod, and keep your opinions to yourself. Which brings me to …

#2: I will never allow my child to throw a fit in a restaurant. Before our daughter was born, my husband and I agreed that we wanted to keep visiting some of our favorite restaurants, both on dates AND with our daughter, but we never wanted to be “that family” with a fit-throwing kid in tow. I believe that teaching manners and appropriate public behavior is important and that dining out is one of the best ways to teach these principles, so we started early. We use a few methods to help us be successful. Choosing appropriate restaurants to visit as a family is the first thing we consider. You won’t see us dining at Story or Justus Drugstore (two of our favorites) with our daughter in tow (yet), but we also don’t limit ourselves to Chick-fil-A or the local pizza joint. Some of our local favorites to visit as a family are BRGR, Yardhouse, Eggtc, and Barley’s. We look for places with space to get up and walk around (and especially love those with patios) and that offer coloring sheets/crayons or some form of entertainment (TVs, free snacks while you wait, etc.). We also bring quiet toys, books, small games, and crayons with us. If our daughter gets fussy or antsy, we let her get up and walk around, go outside, or take a break in the restroom changing her diaper or washing our hands. If all else failed and a tantrum was eminent, we would get our meals to go and leave the restaurant (this hasn’t happened yet). Note: my child had the meltdown of the century last week in the middle of Walmart, so I’m not stating that I’m a perfect parent. Also, if your child has had a meltdown in a restaurant, I don’t dislike you or your child OR think that you should be banned from restaurants. I am just sharing my perspective and what has worked for my family so far.

#3: I will never dress up my daughter in pink, tutus, or frilly headbands before she makes the choice to do so on her own. “Bring on the pink!” I saw this statement posted several times in different ways on the photo of our newborn baby girl when we announced her birth on Facebook (we had elected not to find out the gender during pregnancy). It’s as if people assume that when you have a girl, pink, bows, and frills cannot be avoided, and I respectfully (and passionately) disagree. Maybe it’s because I am not really a “girly girl” myself, or maybe it’s because I have an issue with gender stereotyping children. My daughter has never owned a “baby tutu” and won’t — unless she chooses it for herself later on. My daughter has pink clothes, but I strive to keep her wardrobe multi-colored. She currently owns two shirts with glitter: one was a gift and the other she picked out herself on a daddy-daughter shopping trip (mostly because it pictures a butterfly, not because it has glitter). If she wants to choose glitter and make up and pink frills in the future, great! If she wants to be a tomboy who wears knee socks, prefers black athletic shorts, and has no idea how to apply eyeliner, awesome! Note: If your daughter dresses in pink and your son wears all blue, I don’t dislike you or your child OR think that you should burn all pink/blue clothing. We can still be friends.

#4: I will never make two meals for dinner. Growing up, we ate what my mom put on the table. There was no option of a more “kid-friendly” choice or a peanut butter sandwich. As Daniela shared in her post last week, we influence and shape our child’s taste buds from the beginning, and much of what she outlined is similar to our philosophy. There are certainly some foods our daughter prefers over others: she doesn’t enjoy pork very much, but we serve it to her as an option with the other side dishes we are enjoying. She knows that she can ask for a second helping of the food she likes, but only after trying 1-2 bites of the food she is less fond of. She also knows that if the food she wants (usually cheese cubes or yogurt) is not on the table, it’s not an option for that meal. If she asks for food later in the evening, we offer her a small healthy snack before bed. My philosophy in a nutshell: I don’t run a restaurant. I don’t make made-to-order meals. Be grateful for what you have. Respect your mother and father who worked hard to put this food on the table and to prepare this meal. A little “old school,” maybe, but those were the rules when I was a kid, and I turned out just fine.

#5: Use the phrase “you might be able to say ‘I’ll never do X’ when you only have 1 child, but just wait until you have 2!” Refer to #1 above. 😉 Then, know that this might actually be true. I’m not sure, but I’ll let you know someday!

Hi, friends! I’m Erin and I've called Kansas City home for over nine years. I am the girl who always thought I’d have kids by the time I turned twenty-five and swore I’d never meet my husband in a bar. I moved to KC right after college and lived it up for several years as a single, working woman for a wee little greeting card company here in town. Not only did I not have kids according to my self-imposed timeline, I ended up meeting my now-husband Eric at O'Dowd's on the Plaza! I have lived all over the metro and have explored the city as a single gal, a married woman, and now as a mama to my daughter, Lilly (born October 2012) and Baby #2 (due June 2015). This city has something for everyone—artists, musicians, farmers, athletes, technologists, families, innovators, and more—which is why I love it! I now live in western Shawnee, KS where my husband and I tend to a 500 square foot vegetable garden, host barbecues on our deck, cheer for the Chiefs, and pray for the day when Glacé or BRGR open locations that are closer than thirty minutes away.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I wish I had said “oh, so you wish you hadn’t had children?” to all the parents who said “just wait until…” or “catch up on your sleep now” because I really don’t think they are aware how nasty they sounds! Also my 3 month old has been sleeping through the night ever since he gained enough weight for us to allow him to sleep without a night feeding, so “ha” to all of them!. Thanks for the BRGR tip for kids, it’s only 15 minutes from us!

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