I spend a lot of time in “mommy groups” whether on Facebook or in the real world. And I have to say, there’s a lot going on these days! I know that parenting trends and even mom-shaming were around back when my own mom had little kids, but in today’s age of social media and constant information sharing, I’m boldly declaring that we have to put up with a lot more “rules” than any generation above us.
And look, I’m not complaining. I’m grateful to be parenting in a time when we have more information than ever about the safest ways to put baby down for sleep and get them from point A to point B. I don’t discount the importance of all the intel we now have on feeding from breast or bottle to starting solids, and that numerous studies show us how much “screen time” is really okay or not.
But you know what? I’m also really over all the rules. Every time I turn around there’s some new, higher standard on how we’re supposed to parent. Reacting when your children act like asshats isn’t “gentle.” What kind of mother doesn’t bake her own organic kale chips three times a week? And that organic baby shampoo I splurged on? Apparently it’s not natural “enough” to make the sanctimommy cut. I’m breaking the rules, though, and I don’t care what you have to say. Here are all the things I am not doing. Feel free to judge me.
1. I won’t be eating my placenta. Or letting it hang out for hours attached to my kid after I give birth. Sorry, do what you want, but I think that’s just gross. When I had baby #2 earlier this month, the organ that had been feeding her all those months was treated as what it was — medical waste.
2. I didn’t go for a VBAC with kid #2. My first daughter was born via an emergency c-section after 20+ hours of complicated labor so the second time around I’m booked a C ahead of time. In my case there are medical reasons but even if not, can we all just back off each other’s birth plans? My body, my baby, my choice. Bye!
3. We don’t listen to kids’ music in the car. Are you horrified? I get that the kids can “learn” from those incredibly annoying ABC-and-123 CD’s that people keep gifting us at every birthday and holiday, but Mommy. Just. Can’t. The only time in my hectic days a stay-at-home mom that I get to feel even remotely connected to my former self is when we are in the car. Sunnies on, windows down, and my music turned to a volume that they’ll tolerate.
4. I buy food that is not organic. Did you read that correctly? Yes, we are a healthy family and nutrition is at the top of my priority list. I believe in whole grains, green veggies, and lean proteins not treated with chemicals. I also believe in childhood, and if that means a cupcake on a Thursday afternoon, so be it. We aren’t talking a vegan, refined-sugar-and-gluten-free cupcake either — just, you know, a good old-fashioned sugary treat.
5. I yell sometimes. Believe me, as a person I am gentle. As a mother, I am loving and patient. But there are only so many times that a tired adult person can watch a 2-year-old purposefully let herself into the food cabinet and dump a box of dog treats all over the floor before a yell just comes forth. I try really hard to keep it together, use positive reinforcement, and give explanations. But I get really sick of the moms who claim that yelling — even occasionally — is going to seriously damage our kids. I’m only human! Shoot me.
6. We fight in front of our kids. To piggy-back off the last item about anger, it does happen, and sometimes with my husband. I’m over being told that if they ever see us being anything less than lovey-dovey, they’re doomed in the relationship department. My husband and I love hard and we do argue sometimes. We can’t always disappear or take the conversation elsewhere, but letting them see that Mommy and Daddy disagree, but can work through things, is a good thing in my opinion. Let’s hope our daughters’ therapists don’t read this post in 20 years and come knocking on my door to yell at me.
7. My daughter stays up later than her peers. Hey, look, I tried. The rule books say 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a nap in the early afternoon. I’ve spoken to the sleep trainers, read the articles, pleaded with the toddler, and even prayed. The fact is, the only way for us to get the amount of sleep we all need is to let her keep a later bedtime, sleep in until right before we leave for preschool, and let that afternoon nap start and end when she’s ready. Don’t like it? Good thing you don’t sleep here.
8. I prefer working out by myself. Am I cold-hearted b*tch? Maybe. But I wasted hundreds of dollars on mommy-and-me barre classes when my first was under a year old, and this time I’m just not doing it. Romping around the house together or throwing a ball around out back is fun, but when Mommy is paying big bucks for classes or gym memberships, there’s nothing hippie-dippie about it anymore. That’s my time, and I need to spend it on my own body. We bond every other minute of the day; let me have my 45.