I was a better mom before I had kids.

author with baby

Before I had children I was a great mom.

When my husband and I decided that we were going to start a family I was confident that I would be a “great mom”.  I naively felt that I had the credentials to back up my bold assumption.  After all I hold a university degree that includes many courses in child development and psychology and after graduating from my undergrad, I went on and completed my teaching degree with emphasis on grades kindergarten to six.

I have spent hours reading books on how the mind of a child works.  I have researched papers about the inner workings of a child’s psyche.  I used to be current on the research about TV watching and intelligence, which foods were toxic and how to cultivate well rounded, thoughtful individuals.

I think back to those cocky days, when my patience was intact and sleep deprivation meant pulling one all-nighter and having to work in the morning.

For those with kids: I don’t have to explain how my preconceptions about what life with kids would be like and the world as I knew it simultaneously shattered after my children were born.

For those of you without kids (who just read over this list with the same bravado that I once had):  read my top ten “Before I Had Kids” list and memorize it.  It will come back to haunt you.

Before I had kids I was . . .

  1. Never going to let my kids sleep in my bed.
  2. Never going to allow the T.V. to be on while we ate meals.
  3. Never going to bribe my children to be on their best behaviour.
  4. Never going to applaud/cheer when my child peed in the toilet.
  5. Never going to allow my kids to have a dirty face, dirty hands or wear dirty clothes in public.
  6. Never going to leave the house looking like a disheveled mess (i.e. hair a mess, track pants, no make-up, etc.)
  7. Never going to use the T.V. as a babysitter so I could: a) have a shower b) talk on the phone c) do anything else for myself.
  8. Never going to lose my cool during a temper tantrum.
  9. Never going to feed my children anything less than the healthiest, most organic, delicious food.

10. Never going to give them a B.S. answer to any of their questions, no matter how challenging the answer

would be, no matter how uncomfortable I would be, no matter how long the conversation needed to go on.

To all of you mothers and fathers, what are some of the things you promised you would never do as a parent that you have found yourself doing since having children?

532 thoughts

  1. Oh my gosh this is true.. I thought for sure I’d be a better mom then I actually turned out to be.. Unfortunately I ended up a single mom and try as I might I made a boat load of mistakes along the way..

    my now 15 yr old seems less the worse for wear but I wish I would have been better prepared.

    1. Honestly, I do not blame you at all. I am without children as of right now but have raised my siblings since I was ten. I know how my parents raised me and how growing up I always thought I would never spank my kids, never talk down to them, and always tell them the truth when they asked a question but as I have aged I now know that the world is not that easy and raising children is not easy either. I respect your post and admire it even so.

    2. And the reverse… My stepdaughter was fuming the other day, and came up with “When I have kids, I’ll always listen to every single thing they say!” At age 7, she wasn’t very thrilled when I laughed out loud.

    3. So so true! I ended up a single Mom of 3 girls. I also said all those things. But, of course all of those things I ended up doing! LOL. But, my girls are happy and very well behaved. So, I have to say we must be doing something right. They treat others as they want to be treated (most of the time!!!)
      Parenting is a learning experience. There is no real handbook on what to do or not to do for every single situation that happens. The best we can do is try our best and hopefully our kids will be the best they can be also.

    1. Thank you! My husband took this shortly after the birth of our first son. It’s one of my favourites too.

      Your blog has some beautiful pictures featured. It looks awfully peaceful in South Dakota. Just looking at your pictures brought me a moment of calm. Thank you.

  2. Good point! I thought all the same things and scoffed (in my head) at my friends who did any of those things with their children. I too am a teacher (sped) and have all the skills and knowledge in the world to deal with children- I just can’t apply it to my own! Those little button pushers sure know how to get under my skin!!! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! And the pic is adorable!

    1. It is wonderful to be a mother. I know that one day I will look back at all of the craziness and miss it. I will miss the arm over my face while I am trying to sleep. I will miss the constant hum of activity in the house. I will miss it all.

    1. I couldn’t agree more! I read your post with a smile of recognition in my face. It’s really easy to know how to to in every situation before you get there. I have a feeling that I’ll be returning to you 🙂

  3. I think I hoped I wouldn’t do those things before I had kids as well. I have done most of them since. What mother hasn’t? But I have 3 sons and have learned to pick my battles. There are so much worse things a mother can do than whats on the list. I try not to sweat the small stuff. 🙂

  4. I think I came across your blog on purpose. It’s as if I could have written this post, with the credentials just a bit different. I have an Elementary Ed. degree, so had to take Child Dev., but was a full-time nanny for years before I began teaching. I was ALWAYS the cool, calm, collected nanny. Every activity had an educational motivation behind it. I looked pretty good, too…even wore makeup (BECAUSE I HAD TIME AND TWO HANDS BEFORE I GOT TO WORK!!) and I would tell my sister (who has 2 kids), “It only takes a minute to put on mascara and a cute shirt.” I could slap my old self in the face.
    I only have my first baby and he’s 4 months old, but already know that it is virtually impossible to be clean and pretty while completely sleep-deprived AND holding a baby that doesn’t want to be put down. Also, I swore there would be NO tv screen time for the infant and last night I walked downstairs and Daddy was sitting on the couch with the baby watching Ultimate Fighting. I also enjoy the Today show while letting the baby play in his exer-saucer while I quickly and guiltily eat toast and yogurt.

    I may get excited about the potty some day but I STILL promise myself that I WON’T post potty status updates on Facebook. So, returning the question…are there things you STILL swear you will do or not do as a parent??

    1. I have pretty much resolved to never say never. A much better resolve than my previous list, I think.

      Congrats on the baby! Life will never be the same as it was but so many wonderful and amazing things are about to come your way.

    2. Respect to you, Katiezoe, for taking the time to find and read this post having a 4 months old (a very good post too, I must add). I don’t think my friends heard from me for the first 8 months of my son’s life – well, other than receiving the obligatory Snapfish pictures every so often.
      That had been one of my broken promises: I would take time to live my life and stay centered. He’s 18 months now and I’m just managing to claim back some of my head space!
      As for writing, well I’ve just started again and it sounds very much like a cold, old, sputtering engine for now. I’ll get there maybe when he’s in his teens?

  5. Before I had children I promised myself that I would allow my child to dress however she wanted to dress, even if it was embarrassing to me. She could where roller skates in school if she pleased. I was young and Self expression was extra important then, Now I just pray her plaids and her stripes are at least the same color and have to adhere to the rules of her school…..silly huh?

    1. I used to think the same thing. I have to admit though that my son wore this lime green shirt that said Jamaica across the chest EVERYWHERE for months and one day it didn’t survive the washing machine. So sad. 😉

  6. Thank you for this. I’m not a parent yet, and certainly have a few of those items in my own list that I’m bracing myself to have destroyed when fatherhood starts for me . . . but I’m endlessly annoyed by other people without kids who dole out complaints and critiques about all these “awful parents” around them, when in reality the parents aren’t doing anything other than being a parent in public. I’ve held that when or if those doing the complaining have kids, their tunes will change really quick. So thank you for supporting my hypothesis.

    http://bradenbost.wordpress.com

  7. I have kids and agree that I thought some of the same things too. Here are some of the things I never thought I would do.

    1. Say “because I said so, and that is all you need to know”

    2. Yell at my children in public. – I have learned though that I apologize after losing my temper.

    3. Lose a child (briefly, thank God) in a public place.

    4. Watch passively as my child has a temper tantrum in public. You learn slowly, that if you do react, it only adds fuel to the fire. I wait for a while and say; “are you done yet? I don’t understand what you want. If you would like something, please speak to me in a voice that I can understand.”

    5. Wash my childs’ mouth out with soap (mild and diluted organic soap for about 2 seconds – but the words required the wash)

    6. Spank my child (I turned around and saw her at the age of 3 holding the spoon that is in a sauce pot that is on the stove and hot – it was close to pouring over her head – I was so scared that I spanked her so she would NEVER do that again) and it was only one spank on the bum.

    7. Let my child(ren) watch shows like Lost and Big Brother. I explain that it is all fake, they are actors using computers and makeup to make it look real.

    8. Allow my children to suck their thumbs

    9. Use disposable diapers

    10. Use jar bought baby food, rather than homemade.

    Many people who have dealt with kids as a job or through education all feel they know something more than the average mother. However, mothers have an emotion investment in these little people. There is no clinical thinking with your babies. Your heart is now walking outside your body, forever.

    1. Kathleen – this is easily the second installment of my list. I laughed out loud reading #9 and #10 because my husband and I were emphatic about no diapers or jarred food before we had kids.

      I love what you wrote: “Your heart is now walking outside your body, forever.”

      Those words couldn’t be more true.

  8. From a Dads stand Point I never had the high exceptions you once had but my wife did. And 15 months into this wonderful project he has defeated those expectations. All 10 things you thought would never happened, has and we have found ways to make it seem ok. Sleeping in bed is safer and easier, he watches all educational tv when he does, Dirty well he’s a boy, we have a big bag of loli pops on top fridge. And to be honest I doubt he has ever eating anything organic. We have not got to the questioning stage yet but I cant wait. Great Post and congrats on making Freshly Pressed. good luck

    1. Thanks for the comment. The list means nothing in the long run. The reality is being a parent is not about all of those trivial things. It took me having children to know that. Good luck with your little guy. He’s lucky to have such open-minded parents.

    1. Yes! Yes! Yes! My new mantra (since having my first) is: Never Say Never.

      I even said that to a group of moms at a friend’s son’s first birthday party. They were gossiping about another mom and how her son wouldn’t sit still at the dinner table. Their children were quite a bit younger than this woman’s (the one they were talking about), and they said that if he were their child, all it would take would be a look to get him to behave.

      I just laughed! I thought so too after my first son was born. After number 2 came along, I could shove those looks! He could care less!

  9. Wow, I think you hit about all the big ones on your list! This is so relatable. My sis and I were just talking about never letting kids sleep in your bed at night. That’s great until those middle of the night decisions. TV as babysitter? Never. Until you’re so crazily busy and they just won’t let you get anything done. Could go on and on. Nice post.

    1. My husband and I are big fans of the bed/tv combo: letting the kids lay in our bed (at an ungodly hour) and watch tv while we try and squeeze in extra minutes of sleep. And to think that I put up a fight about a TV in our bedroom (pre-kids, of course!).

  10. Thank you for the post.

    Though I’m a dad, I have seen my wife and I struggle with some of these same things as we’ve reared out two girls (now 10 and 7). No one can say for certain anything until they are in the actual throws of it all. I am neither the person I thought I would be or the father I ever thought I could be when I was younger. I’ve turned into so much more than I ever could have dreamed, simply by addressing the needs of my children.

    Many people try to give their kids what they wanted as children themselves or worse, repeat the mistakes of their own parents, even though we may have despised the treatment when we received it, we know nothing else.

    We should all focus more on the parents our children NEED and not the parents we think we should be.

    Beyond the basics (food, shelter clothing) there is unconditional love. That will be unique to each person. Denying a child’s needs can have irreparable consequences. Denying your OWN needs can be just as bad. We should all focus on being “Good” instead of “Perfect.” Our children will remember the good times far more than organic carrots.

  11. I thought I would have patience. That took about three minutes to go out the window. Luckily, though, I made good on my other two biggies: I said I would raise fearless kids, and I said my kids would be able to talk to me about anything. I’m just hoping my kids (now 35, 34, 29) have forgotten about the times I totally lost it.

    1. I think that your biggies are more important that anything that was on my pre-kid list. Needless to say my post-kid list looks quite a bit different. I just read your post “Things My Mother Warned Me About”. I was laughing out loud. Thanks for that!

  12. this is awesome! 🙂

    before i became a mother, i swore to no co-sleeping. i think that’s about the only thing i held on to. but that’s not because i’m a great mom. it’s because i’m selfish with my bed space. i’m not the best sleeper so to have some one wiggling beside me would just make me insane.

    the whole tv as a babysitter and during dinner time sounds all to familiar. i thought i would never do this before becoming a parent but look at us now! 7 nights a week of dinner… 7 nights a week that tv is on while we eat! ha!

  13. Thank you SO much for this post – I do not yet have children, but I certainly have my set of rules and boundaries I want to follow. The lesson in all of this is that you are a great mom – you’ve just learned to add “be adaptable/flexible” to your list.

    Keep writing!

  14. Girl, you hit the nail on the head. In my house, we merely have standards and we deviate from the ‘normal rules’. That’s just the way it is. Being a good parent means having the ability to bend, but not break.

    My kids are good, well mannered, non-hethan people. I’m proud of them….but some days are just better than others.

    1. Being a good teacher is tough. I personally don’t know how teachers manage to be both teachers and parents – and there are so many really great teacher/parents. I couldn’t do both, so that is why I no longer teach.

  15. “Because I said so.” That is the the thing I never wanted to say, because I hated that answer so much when I was a kid.

    And I got pretty far without having to use it. But finally one day it caught up with me. Second kid almost into his teens, refusing to accept any of the multiple and very reasonable answers to his question that I had patiently offered. I finally paused, sent a blessing toward my often-beleagured (by me!) mother now in heaven, and said, calmly, firmly, reasonably. “Because I said so.” 🙂

  16. I think it was easier for me because set myself lower standards – and people expected less too (because I’m a dad).
    All good points you make.
    I suppose two things that have worked for me are
    1. Stick to your guns early on with your children. However hard it is then, it’ll only be harder later if you don’t.
    2. Think – What did my own mother do.
    So far so good.
    http://www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com

  17. What a brilliant idea for a blog. And a great subject of this one. Oh, yes, I remember how I thought all it took was love to raise children well. Now I realize it takes a bit more than that! Patience, energy, a backbone, and endless supply of snacks in the refrigerator. And of course, love, so much love it hurts.

  18. I’m currently a stay-at-home-dad working on my teaching credential at night. I always thought I would answer all of my kid’s questions. I remember my mom always answering *mine*. However, my memory is from when I was five or six, not TWO!

    cf. Louis CK’s video “Why?” on YouTube

  19. Wow, I’m so glad I read this! I have a ten month old- and had that same attitude- and the same list- before I became a mother. I often worry because I haven’t kept to my list! But it is really refreshing to read this blog, and see the comments from other parents. We’re all different, but share the same anxieties about our kids. Much love to all the parents doing a great job. Check my blog- justatraveller.wordpress.com. Peace!

  20. This is such a great post! I am glad I came across this blog. Before I was a mom I thought..
    1.) what kids need the most is to know they are loved (still think this!)
    2.) I would ALWAYS put my daughter’s needs first, no matter what.

    Unfortunately, going to school and working full time, it can be hard to remember the entire reason I am working so hard. It is to give her a better life than I had. Sometimes I have to put work or school first when she is having a meltdown at daycare and really just needs a day with mommy.

    I think too, us moms put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything to fit into societal norms of what’s expected of us.

    Sometimes you just have to say screw everything, that deadline is going to have to wait, that meeting’s going to have to wait, my baby needs me!

    1. I am a lot better at saying “screw everything” this time (my third) around. I am loving being a mom to my infant son and I think that it is because I have let go of so many of my hang-ups. Kudos for you for working and going to school and mothering. That’s a heavy load. Your baby is lucky to have a mom that is willing to put it all on hold to be with her little one.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Ian. Although I have seen some dads looking a hotmess in the school yard. I overheard one dad saying that early morning drop-offs after a night with the guys isn’t getting any easier the older he gets.

  21. Nice and informative post. I was only afraid of marriage earlier , but now ….. 🙂 – I wow to learn to be more patient when I become a parent because then, there is no other option 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Destination Infinity

  22. haha i was a better mom before my oldest could crawl. i had basically the same ‘never gonna do’ list as you do/did. let’s just say that’s fallen by the wayside some time ago and although i haven’t stuck to my guns in a lot of respects, my kids are turning out a-ok. i’m sure yours are too. we put way too much pressure on ourselves.

  23. Uh…pretty much all of those. Except you left out one biggie–I promised myself I would never become my mother. Huh! Take a guess on how well that has gone. Now, my mother has some pretty great qualities that I definitely wanted to pass on to my children. And I think I have. The only problem is, I also took on some of her habits that I didn’t admire as well as others. Like her ability to worry–make that obsess–about every little possible injury that could happen when my children participated in anything physical. I don’t think I was as bad as her, at least I tried to keep those worries in my head and not say them out loud to my kids so I wouldn’t discourage them or stiffle them from attempting something. Don’t know how well I did because my kids still tell me I worry too much. So, there you go!

  24. I love the title of this post. Perfect! I am a new mom and my list of things I said I would never do (bud do now) is rapidly growing. Right now we are having a hard time getting our son to eat solids and, even though I swore I would never do this, I find myself trying to trick him into opening his mouth so I can shove some food in. I know, bad bad bad mom! But I’m desperate!

  25. I guess I’m a crunchy granola hippy, but I intentionally kept my babies in the bed with us. Nighttime feedings were a breeze, and I felt it was the natural thing to do. My kids were heavy sleepers and didn’t wriggle around too much. I was very young, and into what they now call attachment parenting–though not to ridiculous ends. I carried my babies whenever practical, rather than unloading them into bouncers or strollers or infant seats or cribs. But hey, sometimes you need a stroller!

    I definitely occasionally said, “Because I said so!” (Another related answer, during their teens, was, “I’m actually the boss of you.”)

    The one rule I never deviated from was “No TV during dinner.” It kind of helped that I had a “No eating in the living room” rule, too. We always had conversation at dinner. My daughters both grew up to be independent and fabulous young women.

    1. I am getting better at the no TV during meal times now that they can actually have a conversation with me. In the summertime I love to eat outside with them – always so much more enjoyable and less stressful.

  26. I think it can be simply put, “never say never.”

    When we were childless, did it ever occur to us that parents behave the way they do for a reason? Yeah, they do, and now we know.

    But I wouldn’t trade my life with kids for anything!

  27. Wow, you know that takes guts to admit. I know it sucks when people correct you, especially when you already know what you are doing wrong. It is just easier for them to say it because they don’t have to deal with those temper tantrums which can be insane at times. I wouldn’t beat myself up about it so much. I am sure you are an awesome mother. Maybe not how you expected to be, but what do you expect, it is different when you dream about how much fun it is going to be, then reality of cleaning poop and vomit and the crying ( the baby and you) sets in. You can be prepared, but you can’t prepare for what is to come. I never even talked about having kids, and my pregnancy was a shocker. I took it hard. What is worse is that it wasn’t what I expected of myself, it was what others expected of how I would turn out. Either way I am sure you love your kids with every bit of your soul. That will take you as far as you need to go. BELIEVE in yourself. The fact that you actually stress on you being a good mother shows you are a good one. Some moms I know still act like those party girls and could care less during a temper tantrum. THe fact that you care says a lot. Trust me.

  28. I’ve went on beyond what you listed to, allowing them to stick bubble-gum under the coffee table, the end tables, their bunk beds, only to go behind them removing the stick mess. I’ve allowed them to experiment (even after coaching them not to jump off the top bunk onto their brother or sister’s head) in fear of killing one another, constantly staying after them to take away bobby-pins the wife would leave around and they were trying to stick into wall outlets to start their day off with a shocking experience. I could probably go on much farther, but I elect to stop here. After reading your story, I started remembering all those times, and the hair raising events and situations they got into, and you know what, as much as I hate to say it, I enjoyed every moment I had with my kids and their mischievousness. I lost my cool a few times and paddled them good after warning them not to, or to do something and it did/did not get done as instructed.

    No one said it was going to be easy to raise them, once brought into the world. They didn’t ask to be born, they were born by choice. One thing is for certain, without them in my life today, I would be lost. All are grown with exception to two; which still live with me and in school, and I wouldn’t have traded a moment of anything I experienced with, and am still experiencing with them. They’ve turned out to be some super young adults, mother’s and dad’s. That’s the reward we get from raising our children, regardless of the trauma’s they’ve placed on us while growing up. I would sacrifice it all over again if allowed that chance, and I wouldn’t have done anything differently.

    1. Well, Jim. Thank you for succeeding in making me, a post-partum mess, cry in front of my computer screen. I will be saving this comment to reflect on when the days get crazy. Thank you for your kind words.

  29. I am not a mother, but I am an oldest daughter, the oldest of nine, so I have been a second mother to my younger siblings. I do have a list of my own, and lots of theories, but I am hoping that since they are all based on what works for me with my siblings I will be able to stick to some of them. Some of them, like the “because I told you so” and the never losing your temper or yelling at your children I have, but for me that is more something to strive for, that I will never quite achieve, because I am human, but I will try, and apologize to my children when I fall short. I have never had any rules about tv as babysitters, because I have done it to much with my siblings, I am just going to monitor what they watch.

  30. i’m not a mother, but somehow i’ve always felt i would not turn out as good a mother as i would actually like to…
    and when i try to explain this feeling to some of my friends, they don’t undertand what i mean!
    i’m realy glad you wrote this post!
    🙂

    and it surely is a lovely picture of you two!

    1. Even though my pre-kid list is about as useful as toilet paper, I have to say that I am proud of how I am raising my kids. It’s hard work and I realize that the trivial things (like being dirty) amounts to a hill of beans in the long run.

  31. First, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! (applause applause!) Keep on blogging!
    Second, I can so relate with your title and with the post itself. True, I had a lot of “I-would-nevers” with my kids before I became a mom. Now, 4 kids after, what can I say. It’s a totally different dimension I am in…haha. Thanks for posting this. And thanks as well to all those who commented. They were encouragements for me. Yes, we’re all just trying to be GOOD parents. =)

  32. Your list made me laugh. I don’t have children of my own, but I was the middle child of eight. I definitely have an idea what kind of mother I would/will be and between you and me, it’s not pretty, lol.

    I also want to say great post. Many parents, especially new parents, feel inadequate, or worry too much what others think. Knowing that others drop the ball sometimes too, or people don’t live life by a textbook, I believe will help some parents relax.

  33. I love my children. they have certainly brought some tears and some joy into my life.

    i remember saying to myself when i had my 1st child, to never ever use the word NO, to go around it and explain it without sounding negative…. yeah that worked for a good minute. lolol

    we never say bad boy, we say naughty
    we never say lies, we say fibs

    little things like that I feel make a huge difference in trying not to bring too much negativity into my kids lives.

    http://www.panicmonster.com

  34. My intention to always stop and comfort a crying child ended the night my 1-year-old would not stop crying and the 6-year-old was saying he was hungry. It was suppertime after all. So I loaded the 1 year-old in a baby back pack, started supper with a screamer in my ear. And when the husband called from work, heard the screaming and promptly criticized me, I promptly hung up the phone. All you can do is your best at the moment and hope that next time you can do better.

  35. Wait until your child tries to hide the veges up the nostrils, and you have to take him/her to the doctor because they’ve developed a major sinus infection. My daughter was seven when that occurred. How she managed to put an entire tablespoon of peas up her nose is still a mystery to me. I and the doctor could not figure out, how she managed to leave so many in there and maintain any normal breathing. I’m certain she got a lot of them out, but the ones that remained were lodged in her nasal cavity just before being pushed to a point of entering her throat. They said it was a wonder she didn’t snort and choke at anytime during a night while she was sleeping.

    I never tried to force my children to eat anything they didn’t want from that period on. I would insist they taste it, but if they didn’t like it, I wouldn’t make them eat it afterward. Today, those same children eat anything and everything under the sun, things that I wouldn’t even think about eating myself.

  36. I love it. I have two young kids. For me it was:
    Never yell or lose my patience with my children.
    Never let them sleep on my bed.
    No junk food and very little TV.

    Parenting is very very hard but is very rewarding. To hear my boys say “I luv you daddy” is worth a million sleepless nights.

    I never imagined I would be driving my car at 3am because my child has a cold, can’t sleep laying down, and the hum of the car is the only way I can get him to fall asleep 🙂
    http://www.moneyprovidesfreedom.wordpress.com

    1. I never heard my husband raise his voice or sound cross in all of the years before we had kids but those little buggers can really push buttons, can’t they?

      You are absolutely right though, every sleepless night, broken/ruined object, stained carpet . . . it’s all worth it when they give you a slobbery kiss and say “I wuv you”. Melts my heart, every time.

    1. Have you ever looked at the actual car seat when you remove the child car seat? Gross! We took a driving trip to Cape Code (from Toronto) and when we got back the back seat of our van looked like it had been raining Cheerios and we left the sunroof open. Disaster!

  37. Love this post! It is so true. I thought I knew exactly how I would parent as well during undergrad. I’d see parents yelling at their kids and would be angry about it. Now, I’m finding myself doing all those things I said I’d never do…which are the things on your list.

  38. Hi,

    Although I have grown out of that phase of my life……I loved your article as it could well pertain to any other aspect of our lives as women. I think you might enjoy what i wrote on my recipe blog today…it talks about my ability to be a good cook under pressure.

    And don’t worry …we are all the same underneath…its
    just that your intentions were honourable !!!! ha ha

    1. So true. I could write one of these lists about marriage, working, etc. All of life’s events, when thick in the mire, are nothing like what I thought they would be. In honesty, they are better!

  39. When my childrend were young I actually thought I was the best mom ever. Now that they are grown they let me know often via their views exactly how perfect I was not. Although they are now getting old enough to realize that it is a tough job no matter how much you love your kids and how well meaning you are. Especially my son who now has a son of his own. It’s all great in the end.

  40. My son is seven months old. I swore I was never going to make airplane noises to try and get him to eat. I have no idea why. But he gets distracted or fussy and so…

    As a writer and book lover, I was also going to read to him every night, but every time I try we end up fighting over the book. I’m trying to see the words and Liam’s trying to rip the pages and eat them.

    I love him.

      1. Oh, Kathleen. I hate to tell you that it gets worse! My sons and I disagree about books all of the time. I love books! Love them! And for some reason my oldest son always wants me to read these horribly written stories (given to him by other people) that make no sense and that are rip-offs of some Treehouse TV show. Geez, when is he going to realize that momma knows best?!? 🙂 Oh well, at least it’s a book, right?

    1. Congrats! We just had our third boy, three weeks ago. I am enjoying the baby stage so much this time around. I realize how quickly this special time will vanish. Nature has it backwards . . . with my first baby I had lots of time but no confidence to really enjoy him. This time, I have the confidence but no time! Wishing your little one a lifetime of health and happiness.

  41. One thing I thought I would never ever do is smack my child on the hand after continually ignoring my instruction. A friend of mine who has a child around the same age stated that people would consider that child abuse. (The difference between she and I is that I have my child with me all day and all night everyday). I use to think that if you just look at them in the eye and speak calmly that they would stop. Now I know what consistency really means. I’ve tried on so many occasions to sit there and push his hand away 20 or so times until he uderstood that he was not to touch something. That becomes much more difficult when you are tired and exhausted.

    1. Thank you so much for this comment.

      I think that a worse form of child abuse than a meer slap on the wrist is when a child burns or electricutes themselves because the parent is worried about the ethics of smacking.

      When I was a child (about five or six) I ignored my parents warning not to go into the bush and I got lost. When they found me I was smacked – the only time I got smacked in my life – but I never did it again.

      (I’m from Australia, so the bush is full of spiders, snakes and other nasties. But I think my parents were more worried about me being picked up by a stranger).

  42. Fantastic – very sobering for me. A 25 year old married girl (also with psychology degree – and now doing psychotherapy MA). I saw a girl with a toddler on the train today. He was clutching a coke. EEEK. Its easy to make assumptions and judgements about yourself and your ability to be a mother – the rules you will holed and the values that you will stick to…. but in reality it’s different i’m sure. Add sleep deprivation, juggling 10 balls in one go etc and these values will be challenged. Not sure I will ever give my toddler coke though… hmm.

    Thanks!
    http://www.meandmybiro.wordpress.com

    1. Since becoming a mother I am very cautious about making a judgment on another’s parenting. It’s impossible to know what has led up to the decisions the public are privy to. My doctor once said to me: Give yourself a break. You’re a great mom. You don’t do crack or beat your kids.

      Ah, words to live by.

  43. I’m still young and not married yet. But I tell you that I love kids so much and I like to play with them. This character was in me since i was kid as well lol. I remember my mom when she said about me that I like to play with kids and be nice with them. And now that my sisters have kids. I can see myself and how successful I would be later when I’ve children. Honestly, sometimes you put some rules and stuff that you won’t allow your kid to do when you have him/her. But the reality always different. I mean we put these rules when there isn’t any variable that affects our choices and how we react. But when we face the moment there are a set of variables that affect our choice and maybe change our mind about some stuff that we put which make us go back from that rule and allow it to the kid…

    1. You have it figured out! I think that the reality is always different from what we imagine and that’s okay. Reality keeps me on my toes. Many of the “real” moments of motherhood are among the definitive moments of my life. Sounds like you will be a great dad some day.

  44. I am currently 25 weeks pregnant and like you said, I believe all of the things you’ve listed. Everyone keeps telling me ‘just wait’ and even though I want to think I will be the perfect mother, I just KNOW that is a dreamland i’m living in! ha! We shall see! 😀 babybyrd.wordpress.com

    1. Live in dreamland for as long as possible!

      Congrats on the baby! It’s all worth it. Check out the blog post I wrote about the 10 Most Awesome Things About Motherhood. I think that you will find it more inspiring considering that you are a mom-to-be.

  45. i love your point of view. being a perfect mother is easy in our dreams but not in real world..but i think it is more important to be a good mother than to be a perfect society good mother. your great!

    1. Oooh, good one!! I remember being shocked by the size of my tummy after my first was born. I figured since he was out, my tummy should be flat about 5 seconds later, not looking like I was 5 months pregnant.

  46. Before I had kids, I promised that I would never
    let my kid act up in public, interrupt me when I’m in a conversation, eat goldfish crackers for dinner, or wear character T-shirts outside of the house. I vowed never to discipline in anger or to put my child before my marriage. I have had to eat “humble pie” time and time again. Since becoming a mother, I’ve completed your top 10 and then some!! Thanks so much for posting.

    Salina

    http://www.ladylullabuy.wordpress.com

  47. I’m not a mother myself but I had some very strict rules in my head and certain plans to make for myself after I have my child.

    but lots of new-mothers tell me its almost impossible to live your life as planned. nothing seems to go in the right direction,they’re noisy,they’re whiny,sometimes stubborn…

    So I’m somehow prepared for the journey. I know I will have very little time for myself.

    1. Oh my friend, you are never prepared for the journey but that is the best part. No one can adequately prepare you for the crazy times, the lack of sleep, the lack of patience and the whining but they can also never prepare you for the amazing parts: watching your little one take their first steps, hearing them say “I love you”, listening to them sing the same song over and over (with the lyrics completely jumbled up). It’s all worth it!

      1. Related question: I read a lot of mommy blogs. More than that, I have a nephew and a niece, so I know how demanding raising kids can be – my nephew was a screamer who wouldn’t sleep and wanted his mother to pat him till he did, just ONE example to try to give you an idea of the extent of my knowledge 🙂 In spite of this, do you believe one can never be prepared? Prepared, as in expect to have a difficult time forgoing sleep and giving up on a lot of things that you took for granted before you had kids? Did I make sense? 🙂

  48. I always knew that these child development guidelines in psychology and education courses were worthless when applied into practice. I always challenged them and knew that I was going to feed my kids bad food (mine tried Pepsi when he was 4 months old), that I would let him sleep in the bed with my wife and me, that the TV would be on while we ate AND that we would eat on the sofa, and all that good stuff. I do all of these things and that doesn’t make me a bad parent. What’s important is that you teach them values to make them good people (and that you let them play Final Fantasy). Like all parents, I do all these things. I just don’t lie about it.

    Good list.

    1. Isn’t that the truth! We just had our third three weeks ago and I gaze at him while he is sleeping in my arms. I relish these moments with him because I know that in a few years things will be slightly different.

      Your blog gave me a good laugh. Thanks for sharing!

  49. HAHAHAHAHA I hear ya!!! There are some days I look at myself in the mirror and say “Who are you?” For all the fails there are so many successes! Look at your list of 10 things you would never do how many of them are really all that important. What’s important is that to be the best mom you can be sometimes you need a little help i.e. the TV or a special snack or a pony tail holder. Mom’s are not perfect! Sometimes I think we forget that!

    1. The list is definitely not that important which makes it even more comical. I can’t believe that before I had kids I thought that these were critical aspects of parenting. Please! All that really matters is raising children to become confident, independent, thoughtful, contributing members of society. I checked out your blog and really enjoyed your posts. Looking forward to more.

      Ps – Moms aren’t perfect? 😉

  50. OMG! I love your post. I don’t have any children yet but worked in a day care center for a year and yes, all the great intentions are doable when you are in a good, calm, relaxed mood. The rest of the time, it’s all improvising 😉

    1. So true! I was dynamite in classroom but then again the kids and I would go home at the end of the night. Them to their parents and me to my quiet house. I have to say though when my kids are away from me for the night (thank you, grandparents) the quietness of the house becomes unnerving and I miss it immensely.

    1. This is very true. It always surprises me my ability to deal with the “gross” stuff associated with being a parent. I never thought that I would cup my hands to catch vomit and it seem completely natural. Marcelle (one of the other writers of this blog) and I were laughing about how you know you’re a mom/dad when you reach out to catch another child’s vomit or wipe another child’s nose. I checked out your blog. Great title!

  51. i like the picture 🙂

    i still a student but i understand how to live ur live as a mother because i have 5 brothers and sisters..

    my mother always said to me being a mother is a very beautiful experience so live this experience and u will be ok ..

    1. You’re mother is absolutely right, being a parent is a beautiful experience and a real gift. A few months ago I wrote a post about the 10 most awesome things about being mom. I was inspired to write the post after reading The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasrichia.

  52. You know, sweet young mothers, and fathers, don’t be so hard
    on yourself. It is human nature to want the best for your special offspring. It is alright to have the “lists”, because it sets the standards in your mind. Yet, it is alright to not make the lists come true for all that really matters is that you love your child,
    and try to remember how you would want to be treated as a child. It is OK to not be perfect, because even as a baby, we as humans have to work out things by ourselves sometimes and all we really need is to know that there is a stalwart, empathetic parent to back us up and give the child comfort. Just remember, you do not “own” another human being, you are giving them the
    entry into shining their own light.

    1. Well said! I am happy to report that by child number three the list is not about such trivial things. The current list is a list of what I want to do (not never do) and it focuses more on raising independent, thoughtful, kind boys who will grow into independent, thoughtful, kind men.

      1. I clicked on your name, but it says your blog is private.

        But, hey, I love kids. OTHER PEOPLE’S kids. I’m a great Uncle/Godbrother/Older Cousin to several little kids. I get all the good stuff. Can go visit them and play with them, buy them gifts, and spoil. And then when I tired, I LEAVE. And let their parents handle all the real responsibility. 🙂

  53. Great post! I love the picture. I think all mothers identify with this post. There have been many times when I’ve over reacted. I think we expect our children to behave like adults. It takes time to teach a child how to behave. They are always testing the waters.

  54. My kids are a little older now – almost 13 and 10, so I have the “later” insight to share. No matter what you thought and what you actually did – by the time they’re my kids’ ages, you won’t care either way. You realize the depth that is motherhood. And you’ll be happy to know that the older my kids got, the more I was able to use those psych courses and behaviorist techniques. They do work wonders. Don’t throw it away. Psych techniques that stop kids from manipulating you are super-fun! LOL

    1. Good to know that I am causing irreversible damage by allowing them to wear filthy pajamas (at their own instance) to school everyday. Looking forward to using my psych skills to manipulate my children . . . 🙂

  55. My hunny and I weren’t planning on having children until we’d been married AT LEAST a couple years. We thought after a couple years of being together, we’d be prepared for a family and have all our “stuff” together. I got pregnant after a couple MONTHS of being married. I was totally devastated because I felt like I wasn’t ready, and I still feel like I’m not totally competent, but God had a plan for me as a mom. I never thought I’d leave the house a mess with a baby who wasn’t wearing a pristine outfit including socks and shoes. My baby hates socks and shoes, and hasn’t worn them since spring. Some days I leave the house and forgot to put on deodorant or brush my teeth or wear something I would have NEVER EVER allowed myself to wear in public (i.e. pajama top and lounge bottoms). But my little baby is worth the trouble. Gorgeous pic of mommy and baby!! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed, too!

  56. I was never going to allow my kids to eat sugary cereals, watch Barney or have any plastic play stuff in my yard.
    After four kids in less than four years, I’m eating my words in a bowl of lucky charms.

    1. I forgot about the plastic toys littering the lawn! For the first few years I actually went through the effort of putting it all away every night. Now I just accept that our backyard looks like a graveyard for Made In China plastic toys. I think that giant play kitchen and the plethora of loaders, mixers, and excavators adds a certain ambiance when we are entertaining adult guests during a summer dinner.

  57. My “child” is now 33 years old and wants nothing to do with me. Let me tell you, nothing in the world prepares you for that. You can love them, protect them, educate them, spoil them, sit up all night with them when they are sick, be there for them when everyone is making fun of them, make them Halloween costumes, make sure there is something special under the Christmas tree for them, drive them all over town, go to every performance they are ever in, blah, blah blah, etc. You get my point. I loved being a Mom. I am now learning the hard way not to be one. Good luck!

  58. I LOVE your blog. I don’t have children yet, but I do have a mental list going on in my head about DOs and DON’Ts for myself and my future hubby. It’s still a few years down the road, but I believe that I’m going to be writing a blog like yours, with a much longer list of DON’Ts I had broken.

    Thanks for this. Please do keep writing 😀

    1. Thanks for the comment. My list of (trivial) don’ts is long and really, in the grand scheme of things, pretty useless. Take a lesson from me . . . don’t waste your time on such lists. Good luck with your future hubby. Are you following him to his next destination?

      1. Thanks for the tip 🙂 I’ve made a promise to myself, and a silent one to him that I will be following him. Right now his contract ends in March next year so we’ll be going through more ups and downs from afar until he goes to his next place. Hope that we last long enough for me to carry that out :S My Dad wants me to be married before I go, which I won’t be, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it 🙂

    1. Stephanie – I just read your post. I can’t believe how similar it is to this post. Just goes to show that many parents, around the world, are just as clueless pre-kids as I was! I enjoyed your blog. Looking forward to reading more.

  59. Nice Post! Well this is a common scenario, for a fact we know how we should act and behave on a certain situation, but when we are actually put into the situation we act differently and forget to act the way we should.

  60. Let anyone else have them with them more often than I did (truth: this is selfish but there’s underlying meaning to it).

    Being a parent isn’t the easiest task. I wish I was better at being a full time mother every single day with my children. Unfortunately I missed so many moments.

    However: I do firmly believe while every mother would love to provide the world for their children all the time, this is not always how it goes. The best anyone can do is aspire to be the best mom they can… before… after.. and during our children’s mark on the world (and the wrinkles that line our faces 🙂

  61. The “not letting my kids sleep in my bed” was a big one. then I weighed that against sleep deprivation. And then I did some reading on “the family bed” and totally changed my mind.

    I think being a good parent is respecting your children’s individual needs and learning to weigh those against what you feel like you’re “supposed” to do…

    1. One of the greatest things about parenting is that if you search long enough it’s possible to find information to support pretty much any theory/decision you make regarding children. I read some of your blog and I have so much respect for single mothers. I can’t imagine doing this on my own for one day let alone all of the time. Hats off to you and many women like you!

  62. There were a lot of things I didn’t expect– that I would have so little patience, that I wouldn’t always be excellent at putting baby’s needs first, that having baby in bed would be SO much easier than walking the floor in the middle of the night, how frustrated I would become with my (innocent) husband etc etc. But 1.5 years into motherhood, I am proud to what I’ve stuck to my guns with. Before she was born, we stocked up on cloth diapers, got rid of our TV, already didn’t have a car, and it’s been easy to orchestrate our family life according to these terms from the start rather than changing our habits abruptly further down the line.

    The people who say “Just you wait…” to pregnant moms are right about most things, but it is possible to live up to some of your own my idealistic expectations if those expectations are that important to you.

    1. You’re absolutely right! What I mentioned on my list are pretty trivial things (to me) but what we have “stuck to our guns” on are spending quality time together as a family, incorporating our own parents into our daily life as much as possible, focusing on developing compassion and empathy in our children, and nightly one-to-one time with our kids (among other things) have proven to be easy to incorporate into our lifestyle because ultimately it’s what is important to us. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  63. My parents spanked me and I plan on spanking my kids when I have them. My momma raised me right and according to what she tells me, I turned out better than most other kids because I was disciplined. Me and her both know I don’t give her trouble. I’m 27 now and we get along just fine. She never abused me but knew when to put her foot down. Hopefully, I can do the same when I become a mother (and hopefully my kids will turn out just as good)!

  64. All of the above…I was dead set on very little tv, until I needed baby einstein to get some sleep, started my own business working from home and playing stay at home Mom (while my husband works 40-90 hours a week during wedding season), working a part time evening job…yikes! Luckily the part time job is obsolete…few! We all have our crazy story about how busy life is, which only we can simplify, sometimes that is not a reality. Gotta love em’ though!

    I do ok with food, wish I did better, but she does get organic even if its chicken nuggets, pizza etc. She doesn’t like juice thankfully. I used to make things from scratch, but let go of that recently when I became pregnant….oh boy!

    I could go on, but I won’t…:)

      1. It amazes me as well as encourages me. That is what my business is all about. Holistic & green living, parenting etc. I encourage parents to involve their children in most all activities, as it is how they learn (hands on) about life, ie cooking, baking, cleaning etc. For the time being (I’m sure it’ll change as she grows) my daughter and I cook, clean, get the mail, grocery shop etc. together. Sometimes it’s easier without her, but then when I see how patient my husband is with her and how he teaches her with every little thing they do, I’m inspired to find my patience and move forward. I do go to acupuncture and seem to have gotten my patience and understanding back. It’s all in giving yourself the perspective from your children’s eyes, always reminding yourself that they are learning and at a different developmental stage than you and its your job to teach them and show them the way. It’s quite fascinating if you think about it, but I couldn’t imagine having patience and understanding like I do if I were to work 40 hrs outside my home. Being home during the week allows for quality family time at night and on the weekend when hubbys home. I’m still learning to take my time doing my daily activities, really what deadlines do I have? I cook, clean, run errands, play and run my business…my business is the only deadline I truly have. Life is a journey that’s for sure:)

  65. Number 9 on your list.Most i still care about.Goodluck..we need it.I have 2 little girl: 3years 3 mounth and 9 mounth.God help me.I m going nuts…As if i wasnt already.Cool list.Happens everywhere.

  66. I have a 16 YO and an 8YO. Before I had kids, I would go to the store and see a child having a tantrum and think…what’s wrong with those parents? Why don’t they DO something? My kids are never gonna do that…eeeeyahright.

    1. Whenever I see a child having a tantrum I:
      a) think, thank goodness it’s not my child (this time)
      b) give the parent the “I’ve been there look”
      c) don’t really notice because I am so used to listening to them

      Read your blog. How’s the novel coming along?

  67. Before being a mom, you had a sterilized vision of children. Did I say sterilized or sterile? Take you pick.

    And then you discovered you did not unpack a machine with a lifelong guarantee. Instead you gave birth to a child, to a person. You discovered your children are human being, and that so are moms.

    You were not a better mom before you had kids. You were simply not a mom. And now you are.

    Applying stubbornly and mechanically whatever rule you believe in will never make you a great mom – or dad if I may add in my defence.

    Nevermind if at the end of the day your life is not turned into an instructions manual. These are hardly ever a source of great inspiration…

    1. The list is composed of trivial and banal things that I, stupidly, thought mattered before I had kids. No one can prepare a parent for how their life will change when a child enters it. My beliefs were challenged on many levels but I have to say I have grown alongside my children. I have learned from them and the experience of motherhood that life is not easily divided into lists of do’s and don’ts.

      Thanks for the comment.

  68. Fortunately, I started out with very few principles, so there wasn’t much of a distance to fall.
    Coming from a mother daughter relationship with my own mom that was toxic to say the least, my only hope was that I’d be able to break the cycle of psychological violence.
    that made me less of a “know-it-all” mom, and motherhood became more of an exploratory process.
    17 years down the road, I think I can say that I have liberated myself from my past, and that my kids have a completely different relationship with me and the world (and are much less misogenist than I was at the same age(s)).

  69. Wow popular post!! I am 43 and not a mum and I change my mind daily about whether to take this opportunity with a friend of mine (sperm donor). At 43 you can see my dilemma…when I wake tired now at 43 I think…no, no baby. Once the haze of morning wears off I think YES I know I want one. Assuming of course I get pregnant. I can not deliberate much longer (did I mention 43) but I am reeeeeallllly maternal.

    I think:

    I would backpack with my baby in a sling
    I would hand make all the baby food
    I would have all my friends around, house full of laughter
    I would adhere to strict routine so the baby sleeps through
    etc etc etc (yes likely delusional but feels really possible…don’t laugh)

    Anyway, if you want to hear me interviewed about my decision (before I redecided to change my mind) on GMTV check out my blog (paula moore the chiropractor)

  70. A degree “on” children is not the same as teaching, coaching and babysitting hundreds (literally, it was perhaps over a thousand) different kids, of varying ages, abilities, and temperments over a period of 12 years. It is still harder to be a mother than to give those kids back to their own parents, but I found myself fairly well prepared.

    1. I wish that I had the opportunity to touch thousands of children’s lives. It sounds like those experiences helped to shape you as a mother. I checked out your blog. How’s the novel coming along?

      Ps – always great to read from a fellow Torontonian!

  71. I feel your pain….no seriously…. I feel it.

    As a new (almost 2 years new) step father of a 3 girls (13, 10 and 7)… I’ve never realized how easy it is too completely lose your mind because of kids.

    I used to be calm, relaxed, and confident… now I don’t know a damn thing about any of those things…

    I take solace in the fact that I’m growing as a person… in the fire.

    1. Adam – I can’t imagine hoping on this parenting-train later in the game. Kudos to you! That could not have been easy but it must be nice to be surrounded by so many caring (soon to be) women.

  72. Wonderful post!
    I have 2 (and one still cooking) sons 3yrs and 8 months and I often use the ‘because I said so’ phrase because there are only so many times you can hear ‘But why?’ I always promised my self I would never do that, since its the worst answer to a question ever. Shamefully I’ve also used the TV as a babysitter and I clap like an idiot every time my son goes potty.
    There are always misconceptions or grand ideas as to how ones life might go, especially with babies, but dont feel to bad- even parents have to take baby steps sometimes.
    My mother often says, only now does she think shes doing a good job of parenting- my sister and I are 23 and 30 years old- and we turned out fine.

    1. I think that only looking back, once a child is grown, can one really assess how successful their parenting was.

      By the way, I read somewhere that a 3 year old child asks “why” more than 300 times a day!

  73. I was never going to lose my patience, ever, in my child’s presense. I was never going to raise my voice or yell for any reason.

    I was naive!

    Love the list. There is no book or way to be prepared for what parenthood can throw at you as it is different with every child. I have 3. They each have their own unique challenges.

    I love them dearly, but I have yelled and I have lost my patience.

    1. I have done my fair share of yelling too but I really do try to stay calm. I realized that when I yell, they don’t react any differently so I should try and save my vocal cords any undue stress.

      I checked out your blog. Gorgeous fabrics!

  74. A good wife would be a good mother. From a good mother then would deliver the baby are good also. You are very lucky to have husbands who love to you so that you can pour out your affection with a full peace to a cute baby.

  75. This is a great post by the way! It is amazing how many things you swore to yourself you would never do or say when it was your turn to be a parent. Growing up I would think of all the things my parents said and did that I was never going to do once I had children, and it wasn’t until I became a parent that I realized I was doing and saying the things I promised myself I wouldn’t do. It really makes me think that my parents didn’t do such a bad job of raising my brother and I. I did however have my daughter fairly young, which does have it’s advantages but at the same time disadvantages. I am still working on my degree because I had her young, but at the same time I have the energy to chase her around and get on the floor with her to play barbies, because it wasn’t all that long ago I was a kid myself and I haven’t lost that sense of imagination! The biggest “I will never do” was yell or loose my cool during a tough parenting situation. And guess what……there are times when I’ve just had enough, it doesn’t justify it but regardless of your “parental training” or college degree, children do not come with an instruction manual! If they did every child would be alike, and if you ask me that’s just boring! I love my daughter for how stubborn she is, how she knows exactly how to push my buttons, for the random “I love you’s”, for the art work she makes me, and honestly for just being her! Children grow and learn everyday and being a parent you do just as much growing and learning with them!

    1. You’re right – children are all so unique. I still can’t believe how different my boys are. Each individuals with unique needs and special gifts. They each try my patience in different ways but they each have brought me unexpected joys and have taught me different things about life.

      Good luck with your degree! It takes a lot of commitment to do school, work and be a parent. Hats off to you!

      1. Thank you, by the time I am done with this degree I will be a Nurse Practitioner! It is challenging juggling work, school, and home life, but I know in the end it will all be worth it. As a parent everything you do is for your children, every decision you make effects them in some way. I never fully understood this until my daughter was born because from a childs point of view their parents are just out to ruin their lives…lol! Some day my daughter or any future children I will have will look back and say the exact things I am saying now. Every day my daughter amazes me, and cracks me up at the same time. As frustrating as she can be sometimes I wouldn’t change anything about her. And I know any other children I may have will be just as unique as she is! Even looking at my nieces and nephew and how opposite they all are makes me realize, what works with one child may not work on another!! Every day is a new adventure and new challenge in the wonderful world of parenting so enjoy every minute of it and try not to think like an adult all the time and get down to their level and have fun with them!!!

  76. Before I had kids, I thought my instincts would be perfect. I didn’t think I would second guess myself. I thought that I would never lose my patience and yell at my children.

    I was a teacher too, and I have realized that I would be a much better teacher now, having parented my own kids, but that teaching did not completely prepare me for being a mother…nothing could.

    Mothering has changed me utterly and completely, and challenged me way more than I expected, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    1. I agree with you. Since becoming a mother I think that I would be a better teacher. Definitely more patient with the parents and more considerate of families having their “family” time without the worries of homework.

  77. I don’t have kids of my own but I have worked with “at risk” kids in an elementary school and I now work at a behavioral treatment center for troubled teens. I also have six wonderful nieces and nephews. I can tell you right now that while a child’s behavior is directly related to their home life, their success has less to do with having perfect parents than it does with having parents who are loving and involved. These kids don’t have problems because they ate chicken nuggets from McDonald’s or watched Saturday morning cartoons, they have problems because their parents didn’t bother to teach them the difference between right and wrong, worse abandoned them entirely, and worst of all abused them.

    And then there are my nieces and nephews whose parents’ flaws I know firsthand. Sure these kids are occasionally overindulged, under stimulated, or misunderstood and this sometimes causes them to mildly act out. But at the end of the day they are safe, they are taught (most often by example) what sort of people they need to be in order to be successful, and most importantly they are loved. This is what makes them the wonderful little humans who I adore, not a perfect organic diet or having Mary Poppins for a mother, practically perfect in every way.

    1. Most definitely! The trivial things (as you mentioned, and my pre-kid list was made up of) are simply that – trivial. The most important DO on the list is, be there for your child, provide unconditional love and model the person you want them to strive to be.

  78. LOVED this and how true. As a Dad I also said all these and many other expectations I set for myself as I later went through a divorce. I have to say that I think dads have it a bit easier. If I take my kids out in sloppy clothes, everyone just thinks I’m a great Dad spending time with my kids. For a woman, it would be different.

    How I’ve come to determine if I’m going to stick to my guns or not is asking myself, “Is this the hill I want to die on?” especially since the time I spend with my kids is limited and precious. Not that they can get away with everything. They can’t. But teaching them some higher level lessons is more important than what they eat and wear when they’re with me.

  79. I so know what you mean! I along with one of my other friends are on the journey to just get a “piece” of ourselves back. I am coming to the conclusion that it is impossible. LOL.

      1. I don’t know either most of the time, and the times I get a small glimpse I wonder if it is worth it..lol. I mean worth it to find the “old me”. My mom keeps telling me it does get easier, it just takes awhile, and then when it does, you will miss them being so little.

  80. Said it all before, did them all…twice (two kids now) …can’t go back. Ha, ha! We are old enough to know better but young enough to do it anyways!

    Great post!

  81. Fabulous list! Reading your list, my own list came back to haunt me – it was almost exactly the same as yours! The co-sleeping one really slapped me where it hurt. When my second child was born he wouldn’t sleep anywhere BUT with me, so in order to get more than 5 minutes sleep at a time I became one of those dreaded co-sleeping parents! Oh no! Now that my fourth is here, I’m finding myself co-sleeping by choice instead of necessity.

    I do all the things I swore I wouldn’t. I learned a valuable lesson about being holier-than-thou about something I knew NOTHING about.

    1. Anyone with kids, let alone an army of them, gets my full support to do whatever they need to in order to maintain some sanity. It begs the question: do all four of them climb in your bed and how big is said bed?

  82. Like em5459, I swore I’d never say “because I said so” as an explanation for asking, I mean telling, my kids to do something – but it happens…as do all the other things on the list included in your post. I too have advanced degrees in psychology, and used to teach many child development courses, and my students always asked me whether my knowledge helped me parent. The answer was yes, and no. But what does all that learnin’ help me as I parent?

    When a language delay is really a language delay.

    That my job as a parent is to provide a rich environment – to read to them, to surround them with music (whether it came from Sesame Street or Mozart or the Red Hot Chili Peppers), to make sure that they had many opportunities to do what they wanted,

    and always to remember that each of my kids is their own person, and that that they are not me.

    Parenting is hard work, but the joys are worth every challenging moment.

    Mine are now 15, and the twins are nearly 12, and every day I am amazed and astonished at how unique and wonderful they are….. and then my 15-year-old starts to act like a toddler, pushing boundaries, and I remember that I am still the parent.

    Enjoy the ride!

  83. That’s so sweet and so true. Parenting and motherhood not merely on books. It sounds motivating from there but it comes with a need of practical experience. You get to know when you experience it. There’s no ‘failure mom’ as long as you love your kids and they get to understand your love ‘someday’. I always love my parents of how they bring me up.

    I experienced most of the items in top list when i’m a kid!

  84. Love it! You have a new follower:-) Motherhood is not the sacred calling it is made out to be – it is messy, painful, bewildering and confusing…18 yrs in and I’m still looking for a user’s manual:-)

  85. what a breath of fresh air! to know that not everyone is perfect, and i don’t have to be either! i adore my kids, but am full of “failings” (those things i said i’d never do!), and get so tired of the lady down the street that “would just never do that.” being a mommy is so hard, and sometimes we are harder on each other with judgement. thank you for your authenticity. i’m a mom of two boys with a “surprise!” number 3 on it’s way!

  86. Before I became a mother I swore I would…
    …not let them stay up late
    …not let them each cake for breakfast
    …breastfeed until she was 1 year old
    …not bribe the kids before going into a grocery store to be good
    …send my kids to bed hungry if they refuse to eat dinner
    …not be THAT parent with THAT kid on the airplane
    …and so many more

    Great post!

  87. Great blog to read as I am just weeks/days away from being a mom myself. I certainly have some ideas of my own that I’m hoping I can stick to but realize might not! I’ll have to check out some of your other posts.

  88. I think we all put to much pressure on ourselves as mothers to be perfect.

    Our mothers weren’t perfect.. they put us on our tummies for heavens sake! 😉

    My mom wasn’t perfect either, but she was great… and the best part is, she loved me, and I knew it.

    I hope my kids will be able to say the same about me in the future.

  89. I LOVE this list! 🙂 Interestingly enough, I have 3 girls (still 3 and under, mind you…) and from the words of everyone was excited that according to the knowledge of my “all-knowing” friends girls are SO much easier than boys. HAHAHAHAHA! What a sad misconception 🙂

    I do like to think, though, not that I thought I would be a “better” parent, but that I am most definitely a DIFFERENT parent than I had planned out in the perfect world.

    Either way, with the cheering with the potty, the “DON’T TAKE YOUR PANTIES OFF IN PUBLIC!!!!!!!!!!”, the scolding as they try and ride the dog like a horse, etc., etc., etc….I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world…and just last night I found my 2 year old drinking food coloring, orange from head to toe: so that’s saying quite a bit!

  90. I am a kid, so I won’t be too relievant or anything, but trust me on this comment.
    So my babysitter has a little boy. He’s smiley, but he’s mostly serious. I thought that she would be a great mom, and her husband would be a great father. They are, but the thing is that they aren’t as good as I thought they would be. The point of this is basically telling you that the best of people just might not be the best of parents. ;D
    tell me if this has any resolution to your problem (I’m sure it won’t!)

    1. hahaha! You should see the disaster that is the backseat of the van that I swore I would never drive. What’s worse is that I am like a religious convert telling people who don’t have vans how wonderful and life changing they are. Help!

      Love your blog. Will be visiting often….

  91. I’m still young and not married yet. But I tell you that I love kids so much
    many various comment here, and that add for my insight, so I just wanna say thank you very much for enliven here, and thx for the valuable information.
    Awesomeness! I am loving this. Thanks a ton!

  92. The tv thing was huge for me before I had kids-after not so much. I have to take a shower sometimes, they don’t nap, my husband works from home but gets really concentrated in his work, so yeah the kids watch tv sometimes, and I can live with that.

  93. I really liked the honesty of this post and could appreciate your list, as I am a list-maker! My story is a little different because I was scared to death to have kids, that my baby wouldn’t like me, that I wouldn’t be a good mom. So actually, because I expected everything to be so terrible, I have been pleasantly surprised for the most part. I have a 19-month old little girl and I can’t believe I was almost going to voluntarily miss out on such a blessing.
    I tried not to say I’d never do certain things (though my husband will DEFINITELY be eating some words over the years as he’s been quite vocal about our friends and family members with their kids!) but I am surprised that I’ll sometimes give her paci back when it falls on the floor. I also wholeheartedly believed that I would wear gloves each time I changed her diaper! (which obviously I don’t!) 🙂

    1. Gloves to change diapers!? Ha! That’s a good one. I remember being so grossed out by the thought of diaper changing. Times have changed. Now I can change a diaper one-handed.

      Remember when you serve your hubby his humble pie, be sure to warm it up first 🙂

  94. I’ve gone to bed many nights vowing to be a better mom starting tomorrow.

    It’s the hardest job in the world.

    My oldest is 20. It’s not any easier than when he was 2 — at least then the rules were clear:
    don’t play in the road
    naps are good
    if you ask for something when I’m on the phone the answer is no

    Now it’s tough stuff, like do you stay with a girl you really like but who might be wrong for you once you figure out who you want to be, or if you were too lazy to get a second job over the summer I don’t pay more of your college tuition.

    They’re older, they look like adults, but they’re still children. I feel like I was a child until I was 35.

  95. Wow, there’s a lot of comments here! Loved your post and have seen so many women do the same thing 🙂 I, on the other hand, never wanted children. I loved them, but didn’t think it would work with my lifestyle, so I never had any of those “I’ll never do this or that” thoughts. I did get pregnant though and have raised my daughter alone from day 1. Best thing that ever happened to me and can’t believe I never wanted kids! The one thing I did say when I was pregnant was that my baby would never sleep in my room. Well…..that baby slept in my bed until she was 3. While I would not have changed a thing, from the moment she got in her own bed, she was never allowed in mine again! At least not while I’m sleeping 🙂
    I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    1. The co-sleeping/bed issue seems to be one that many of us moms have changed our tun on. I checked out your blog and enjoyed reading some of your posts. I look forward to reading more! Thanks for the comment.

  96. Thank God I don’t remember making any rules except I wanted to be the best mother I could be…which I think I have tried to be! You sound like you will be too! Good Luck! Enjoy the ride! My two boys are off to college and it goes way faster than you think…

    evelyngarone.com

    1. I can’t believe that four years have passed already. It feels like I have just blinked my eyes. I can’t imagine what it will be like when the boys take off to college. I am sure there will be many tears.

  97. Yesterday I was stuck in the hospital where my dad is admitted for a surgery. My daughter called up every 2 minutes to complain of boredom.

    I *begged* here to (a) not call up (b) buy herself a packet of Lays (c) watch TV.

    I ought to quit mothering on moral grounds.

  98. I must say my favorite thing here is your top ten list man how get all so wrong somtimes but that is the real lesson here really learn as you go and adapt.

    I have friends that have kids and when I go and see them it is so much fun for four or five hours then things wind down and you hit the grind this is life.

  99. I am not a mom, but I have been an elementary ESL teacher for seven years, and I TOTALLY agree with everything you said. When and if I ever do become a mom (teaching is a great form of birth control!), I am 100% sure I will crack frequently. My mom was also a teacher, and I find myself doing everything she did. All those cliche words I never thought I’d say… Great post!

  100. Congrats on being freshly pressed – I can totally relate to your post! I distinctly remember thinking I would never:

    *own (let alone love) a minivan
    *let my kids eat and/or drink in the car
    *call my kids pet names like “Sweetheart” or “Honey”

    I’ve done them all, and yours! Thanks and keep on blogging!

    1. I need to add your three to my list. Said I wouldn’t and I have. What’s more – I LOVE my van, where regular snacks are consumed and I even have pet names for my kids that I use in public. Ah! I have become one of those people!! Love it, though!

  101. I was a full-time nanny for several years before becoming a mother so I didn’t have too many “never” rules. I’d already broken most of them with other peoples kids. ;-P But I did have one. I swore I would never pick up or otherwise give attention to a kid who was crying simply because he wanted attention. Now as a mother of 3 boys I know that when my almost 5 year old is belting out his off-key, impromptu, lyrically and musically challenged “song”, my 2 1/2 year old is having a melt down because it’s not time to go play at the gym yet and he wants to go NOW, and my baby is crying simply because he wants me to hold him… well I know that I could encourage my 5 year old to sing a song with lyrics and a tune I can actually recognize, and I can distract my 2 1/2 year old by engaging him in some play activity or another, and well, the baby won’t die in the process of learning that the world does not revolve around him. But doing those things requires patience and the ability to think clearly, something this mother of 3 finds to be in short supply far too often. So more often than not, I cave, and pick the baby up, just to eliminate at least ONE source of the constant noise permeating my home, before I completely lose my sanity.

  102. I think my list must have been exactly the same, but now that my son is 10 and growing more independent I am glad that I held him too much when he was a baby and that we let him sleep in our bed. I have those beautiful memories and (if I do say so myself) he’s turning out to be a pretty great kid.

    1. I am sure in 10 years that I will be writing another post called Things That I Thought I Would Let My Kids Do Before I Had Kids But Now Wish That They Would Do.

      Treasure those snuggle memories – they are pretty special aren’t they?

  103. I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to undertand. Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not tht good. I also found your entries very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he ejoyed it as well!

  104. i promised myself
    to not be sooo proud of them
    but i can’t help it.
    they’re sweet,
    smart, thoughtful…
    there goes my promise.
    motherhood is truly a JOB
    Jar Of Blessings!
    🙂

  105. This post was so right on. I had a meltdown yesterday and paused in mid-yell to reflect on how anti this was to everything I had envisioned about motherhood. I get so angry sometimes when folks who don’t have kids try to give opinions on the role of parents, but I realize, its easy to judge that which you know nothing of.

  106. I like your post. Although I’m not a mom and I’m not a girl, I can relate to you. It’s like that when wives are on the stage of forming a “family” they plan on how they would be a perfect mother for their kids. But it changes when you have your kids now. It’s like, just to see your kid with those puppy eyes you forget everything that you have plan for them.

  107. I think all of us ladies think we are better moms before our kids are born,or probably tell ourselves that everytime our mothers do one of those 10 things mentioned.but the moment ur kid is placed in your hand things take a 360 degree turn.its not that we are being mean to our kids its just protecting them.so i think its alright for moms to be that way and that is the way of life.its just another cycle going in circles

  108. I don’t have children but my sister has a 7 and a 5 year old. I spent years with a list just like yours until she left me with them for a week. Actually, the arrangement was to baby sit for two weeks. At the end of the first week, sleep deprived, sore, coaxing them to watch the tv and computer to get some me- time, I caved in and sent them home.
    I have since then drawn up a new list with item 1. To do the best I can when my time comes.
    Great post and congratulations on making it to freshly pressed.

  109. I thought I would take them to museum every weekend and make a delicious meal every night (from scratch, natch) -Bwahahahhhaaa! Not quite how it really is. But we do hit up a museum once or twice a year, so I guess, it is what it is 🙂

  110. i think most of us mothers have this idea on how we are going to do once the little bundle arrive. unfortunately there’s no manual accompanying the lil ones.

    my son is 9 and i am a single mom, there were times i threw the towel down and cried my eyeballs out. i would wonder how am i going to do this? but amazing enough, through God’s grace, i pulled through. i turn to God when i feel at lost, and i am ever grateful God when everything is ok.. i am still learning though..

    i like kathleenhogg’s quote: Your heart is walking outside your body forever. how true!

  111. * my house was going to be clean (after all how much of a mess can a little person make)

    * I would keep up on laundry (their clothes are so tiny so what’s the big deal)

    * I will never allow a whiney child interrupt a conversation – especially if the other person doesn’t have kids.

    * and along those lines I will always continue eye contact with the person I’m talking to. (It was so annoying that a parent couldn’t focus on what I was saying. Their eyes were always darting around the place or they were looking just past me. I always thought that was rude and I would never do that to another person).

    1. Yes! Yes! Yes! and Yes!
      I was also never going to have to ask the person I was speaking with on the phone to “hold on one sec” and then cup the receiver and yell at my kids to “Be Quiet!”

  112. As a young mom, I said the same things to myself. Ate organic during pregnancy, read the books, no drugs during childbirth.
    Then your baby is here and those “rules” seem to fade just as fast as the remembrance of painful contractions…

    Thanks for posting this. Very insightful. 🙂

  113. What a great post! I currently don’t have any kids (I am for sure not ready for that yet!) but the only thing I have vowed not to do is #5 – let the kids go dirty in public. I work at a big retail store & I see people come in all the time with filthy kids – snot running down their faces, clothes covered in what I hope is chocolate, food smeared all on their faces – BLEH! And what irks me even more is that a lot of times the parents look like a million bucks, but they let their kids just get filthy. I’m sure when I’m exhausted from chasing my future rugrats around 24/7, I’ll feel differently. lol

    1. The difference between the parents looking like a million bucks and the kids having snot on their face is that the parents know how to blow their nose.

      You honestly can not keep kids clean, I’m sorry and I bring a change of clothes for my daughter everywhere we go. It’s pretty much an impossibility. Between diapers, and spit up, to sippy cups, solids…playground, curiosity. As long as they’re sanitary and not crying it’s a go.

      1. It’s not so much the blowing of the nose that makes them look better – it’s the really nice, expensive-looking name brand clothes, hair & nails done, etc & the kid is in the basket with mismatched or no shoes, hair all tangled up, in a shirt that’s too small and/or covered in all kinds of food. I suppose what irks me is when people look like they spent all day getting dolled up and clearly paid no attention to their kid. I know they get dirty – that’s natural. But some of the stuff I’ve seen is just ridiculous.

  114. Hey…

    I am a new reader to your blog and I loved it…

    Wow…your post made me think a lot. I am not a mother but I too had the same list made for when I need it. I know for sure that I had in mind the mistakes that my parents made and I vowed not to make them…But some of the replys people posted is making me scared about the mistakes I will be making with my kids…

    Great picture by the way. (^___^)

    Samya

  115. I thought I’d never use the words “just wait until your father comes home,” but I heard them come out of my mouth just last week!

    I didn’t think I’d allow a thumb-sucker, but my daughter sucked her thumb through first grade!

    Before you become a parent, you don’t know how stressful and challenging some days can be, nor do you know how high a joy you will feel on other days.

    Being a Mom to me means making mistakes (almost every day), even when you’re educated about properly responding to childhood behaviors like you are. It’s about forgiving myself for being impatient and working to improve each day.
    Best to you and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    Lori Lowe
    http://www.LifeGems4Marriage.com

  116. I thought these same things while growing up and raising 2 siblings.Quite the contrary.I took child growth and development in nursing school and swear i had the answers.Now 3 years later here I am as a single mother raising a 19 month old and let me tell you ladies nursing school couldn’t prepare me for this..lol.My lil one is already into the terrible 2’s.I do all the the things I said I wouldn’t do.What I have learned how to do as a single parent as well as a working mom, is find time to my self to be a better mom.That means mini vacations or mommy weekends only every 3-4 weeks.Hire a baby sitter and you’ll have that sanity back.

  117. I TELL EVERY MOM THIS! “I was a better mom… before I had kids.”

    My kids were never going to play with fake weapons or watch tv… *sigh*

    Great post… I’ve been meaning to post something simliar… Now I just have to tweet yours…

  118. I have uttered those exact words so many times, and still find them to be true. My son is five, and before I had him I was a great mom. I still am, but it is a different kind of great now. And I had the same sort of “credentials” to support my theory of greatness, haha. Yeah, my kid watches more tv than I would have liked back then, and *gasp*, he has eaten at places I wouldn’t have allowed before I knew what I would be facing with birthday parties and peer pressure…but he’s a well adjusted kid and I’m sure yours are too. It is all too easy to get caught in those “I’ll never let my child…” moments. I’m just grateful that as humans we tend toward flexibility! Great post!

  119. With all that training in child psychology, I’m kind of surprised co-sleeping wasn’t on your ideal list.

    In our house, it was more the opposite: went into parenthood all fired up about cosleeping and got burnt out.

  120. Beth – I love this post!

    Children take you to places you’d never have dreamt of, both good and bad.

    Life’s reinvention arrives the same day as your first child. No amount of study or babysitting can prepare for this day, the day when your world and the rules within it change forever…….

    Respect and Peace!
    @dam

  121. Beth-Anne,
    Congrats on a great post full of parental truth and wisdom. What a difference they make in our lives. My daughter is 16. We have a great relationship. I don’t even have a clue how she turned out so well. I did everything wrong. I always imagined having more, but couldn’t. In two weeks, I’ll gain two young step-daughters I adore. What a blessing!
    Time is precious. They grow so fast. Love the way you don’t sweat the small stuff. Touching photograph.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Sweating the small stuff is so not worth it! It’s taken me some time to figure it out but at least I have!

      Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and your new roll as step-mother.

  122. I also felt as a mom before my son was born, when I was with my mother-in-law and brought up my bro-in-law’s (my hubby’s bro) son for 2 years. Promises I had about my child worked out well.
    Never thrust any food the child dislikes. Don’t make it to over eat.
    Teach the child some basic good manners… like, not so adamant for buying things in front of a shop, greets the guest who visits our home.
    Never beat or scold the child in front of others and in private too.
    Be lovable always. Because you are a mother. The word ‘ Mother’ always has a magical spell around it.
    Believe it or not, now my son grows up into a good, polite and intelligent boy.

  123. Dear Beth-Anne!
    Thank you for this special post. I have 3 adult sons and 1 granddaughter about 8 months. More than 18 years I was working as a childminder.
    I think we are all people, not perfect angels and if we love them, they are satisfied and love us too. All our investment we get back with compound interest. The most amazing thing I find is the attention of 100% we get from them.
    Much joy and happiness for you and your family-warm regards from AUSTRIA – Draupadi.

  124. So, so true, all of it. I only have one child, but I know that even that is never easy and that you find yourself making compromises everyday, just to get by. Through it all I just try to A) always keep her best interest in mind, while B) doing what I have to to keep myself sane (which is really in her best interest too). I find that the TV, food safety/nutrition, and patience are the things which most often challenge me from day to day. Motherhood is a great experience, but not without it’s difficulties. Learning to accept this, and letting go of your mistakes and learning from them make things easier.

  125. I have five boys. (ages 25, 23, 13, 4, 4) The twins were my last ditch effort to have atleast one daughter. The odd thing is, when I found out that they both were boys, I actually breathed a sigh of relief. I think it was because I was comfortable with raising boys – they are so much easier to raise in that they are more laid back and get over their irritations so much more quickly than girls do.
    (I say this with the expereince of having come from a family with five girls)

    1. Hi Karen – Wow, 5 boys! I have three and whenever anyone asks if we are going to “try for the girl”, I always joke that I will end up with twin boys. So, I see that it is not just an Urban Legend. It happens 🙂

      Thanks for your comment.

  126. Your comments are really very interesting. I have 3 sons and I could never imagine how difficult could be to survive having a demanding husband, a demanding son and a demanding work. But women are much brave than we could ever thought. Motherhood is never an easy task, because there are lots of difficult moments and doubts, and …. but mum is always there.
    Motherhood is a pending subject for everywoman, no one knows everything about it, and children are little people who make and think as their own. Sometimes I wonder if I could be as my mom was, but we are completely different, and for so this is impossible.
    But finally children grow up and things go well, and you smile and think something good you must have done.

  127. I’m not a parent, but I was a nanny doing ten-hour days this summer, and I can definitely relate to a lot of this. It’s mind-blowing how different real-live kids are compared to what you imagine them to be after all the reading! I think I’ll be mostly content if I end up as a cat lady instead of a mother. 🙂

  128. I promised myself to never be a father like the one you describe before having kids.

    I guess the world is like this nowdays, stupid people who think they are smart and better than people before them. Organic food, lol.

  129. Your honesty is refreshing. Having grown up in an alcoholic home, I swore I would be a much better parent than the models I had growing up. *sigh* Sometimes the pendulum can swing too far to the right. I have made many, many mistakes with all four of my children the biggest among them being that I thought that “doing things for them” meant loving them. This mistake along with the passage of time has made me wise. What I have learned from parenting I apply to my teaching profession. Children must have something to be accountable for lest they grow up feeling entitled. I hope I do not sound preachy; I just believe wholeheartedly that something good can always come out of something bad. Thank you for your post!

  130. 11. Going to try with out an epidural (Hah! my first mistake)

    12. Never going to have sex with her father while she was asleep in her bassinet in the same room…

    (when else would we get the chance!? Haha)

    13. Never use a pacifier (I waited a whole month, but had to give in because it was either my boob 24/7 or a pacifier)

    14. I will not start her on solids till 6 months (she’s five months and grabbing food out of my hand and trying to eat it…soooo, yesterday I bought baby spoons!)

    I hear you on your post. I had previously worked at a nursury, and after-school care, a summer camp, taught a drama class to elementary schoolers… I had a lot of experience with children. I think because of that I totally knew I was going to be a disheveled mess a lot of the time, haha.

    p.s. I hope #12 doesn’t haunt her for life but come on! I’m still young, too!

  131. Yes, it is all great in theory isn’t it- but when the reality hits… well, you just gotta go with the flow and adapt to the situations and above your- your children!! They do not come with a manual- as each one is a 1000% different…

    1. Parenthood is all about adaptability and being flexible. Just last night it took us over an hour to leave the house for a party. By the time everyone was dressed and ready to leave, the baby had to be changed again and once he was clean, he cried from hunger. We showed up late, left early and greeted the morning with two sick kids. The plan for today has been shelved for another time 🙂

  132. Oh, I hear this, especially since having my second son. Just having a minute of peace and quiet is worth plopping my older son in front of the tube. And giving the baby the pacifier. And everything else necessary to retain my sanity. 😛

  133. Such a great post! My list was remarkably similar prior to giving birth to my 16 month old daughter. I was staunchly opposed to co-sleeping… and then we brought our baby home and learned that when it’s 4 am and you have had collectively 20 minutes of sleep in as many days, you no longer care where anyone sleeps… As long as they sleep!

    I’m born and raised in Toronto- great to see some fellow Torontonians highlighted on Freshly Pressed!

    I’d be thrilled if you wanted to check out my blog, The Hindsight Letters (http://bit.ly/a2WGIo)- the premise is, “What would you tell your teenaged self if you had the chance?”.

    Thanks for the great read!

    1. First off, I love hearing from fellow Torontonians! Secondly, I agree with you about the sleep. I don’t care where everyone sleeps anymore so long as the sleep is deep and long.

      I read your blog and I have to say that the premise is fabulous! You have a new reader!!

  134. Ahhhh yes, such lofty dreams I had of mothering excellence. Life with two kids gets in the way of the motherhood ideal, somewhat!

    But I think, as long as we use these ideals as a gentle guide to help us back to where we’d like to be rather than a tool with which to punish ourselves for perceived failings, I think we’re okay. And also, to know which parts to toss out without a backward glance – some things just aren’t workable in the ‘real’ world!

    1. You’re right – some ideals on “the list” just don’t work in everyday life and giving yourself permission to delete them is the first step to living a much more fulfilled life. Stopping to focus on how absurd some notions are can actually be quite freeing.

    1. Vivian – I just responded to a similar comment but I think that it’s worth repeating. I have had some remarkable teachers in my day but (as you point out) my kids have been by far the best teachers I have had. Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂

  135. My husband had no experience with kids and I had worked in early childhood development for years and was an aunt (and great-aunt) to dozens of children. I was the one who was aching for a child.

    After we adopted our daughter, my husband was calm, consistent and a complete natural at parenthood. I fell to pieces and second-guessed everything I thought, did, said and felt. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    I over thought everything and my husband just waded in and was (and is) such a wonderful dad. Now I have relaxed and if the socks don’t match, or if her hair isn’t perfect, I don’t mind. It’s so easy to point out what others are doing wrong until you’re the one making those same “mistakes.”

    Excellent post!

    1. Hi Mary:
      I think that your husband has in fact taught the best lesson. Sometimes having no expectations and just being open to what transpires can lead to the best experiences.
      Thank him for his candor and thank you for your comment!

  136. Thank you for putting this out there, I am not the only parent that feels this way. I don’t know how many times, before I had my son that I judged the tired woman in the grocery store whose hair hadn’t been washed in 3 days, and whose eyebrows hadn’t seen a pair of tweezers or a good wax job in a month (easy) and I judged her because her child, with their dirty hands and snotty face and juice stained shirt… (who doesn’t change their kids before they leave the house?) would’t sit still and be quiet. Seen and not heard, as my parents used to say.

    Now I am that tired woman. I need a good brow manicure, and I don’t even remember the last time I got a real nights sleep. (2 to 4 hours is average) I am joyfully asking my son if he wants to watch “Blues Clues” so I can be greedy and spend 20 minutes checking my e-mail or social networking sites. I am the woman pleading and attempting to bargain with a 2 year old.

    Single parenthood has opened my eyes, my mind and my heart.

    I love your article.

    1. Virginia: You just described me! I am also that tired woman in the grocery store. The difference now is that I meet the eyes of fellow tired parents and exchange a conspiratory look. Together we are part of a special club and united we must stand against the juice stained clothes and public tantrums.

      I have the most respect for single parents. I am on this journey with a supportive partner by my side and there are days when I don’t know what I would do without him.

      Beautiful poetry on your blog. Keep writing!

  137. As a seasoned veteran with 4 birthed children and 2 blended. I have to say that this sounds exactly like something I’d say! Something I’ve said for years was “half the time you’re worried about messing up your kids, and the other half of the time you just don’t care if you do”. Children are my life and have been for the last 18 years! They are what I do best! The most rewarding, challenging and most difficult thing ever! Bar none! Kudos to all you wonderful parents out there who slog it out everyday! And those of you not yet parents, please think long and hard before jumping into this adventure. It is not for the faint of heart! Best of luck to you all!

  138. I can totally relate. From age 14 until 18 I babysat for several families so when the doc said “you’re pregnant!”, I felt I was ready to be a parent. (I also took 2 child psychology courses in college.) Aside from being completely wrong about what parenting actually is, my now six year old daughter has seemingly turned out well, in spite of me being divorced from her father and him living 1200 miles away. I’ve learned that the most important thing at the end of the day is that my daughter knows and feels love from home. The rest will work itself out somehow. Children are only children for a short time and we should enjoy it while we can…

  139. Wow doesn’t that sum up most of the list. As a father I had a list too. It went out the window when my daughter arrived 16 months ago.
    Although some of mine was are little different in nature. Many of yours where on my list…(dirty child in public..where you born in a barn) a child is always dirty unless there in the bathtub…and even then.

    1. I will not be dressing up for tea.
    2.I would never create a scene in a public place.(O.K so i let her chase me in the mall..we where both screaming with are arms in the air..ok i was screaming but she was laughing
    3. My child will never watch mindless kids shows( i still have some questions about “In the night garden” though
    4. My daughter will Sleep through the night. LOL..(oh dear that was a pipe dream)
    5.I will not be like my parents( i always find myself saying something that when finished leaving the mouth sounds alot like my mother)

    We all have this idea in our minds of what we think or hope are childern will turn out to be. The best thing we can do is give them love. And in return we get gray hair and grandchildern or maybe just gray hair!

    1. Yes, what is with In The Night Garden? Mostly, I am just jealous that I didn’t think of it first.

      Just read your blog. I enjoy reading the musings of Stay At Home dads. Being a Stay At Home Mom, I always find reading from a male perspective to be insightful and entertaining. Keep writing!

  140. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this as a grandmother. You know by the time you reach grandparenthood your list of priorities will have changed again. There are so many things I thought were very important as a parent that I now know should have been much further down my list of priorities.

    I chuckled at the previous commenters “.I will not be like my parents( i always find myself saying something that when finished leaving the mouth sounds alot like my mother)

    I just love hearing my sons say something to their children that I used to say – “if you are coming in, come in, if you are going out, go out, but for goodness sake shut the door!” or “if you are thirsty enough you will drink water”

    But with hindsight there is just one piece of advice I would give to all parents – don’t forget to have every bit of fun with your children that you can. It is fun that makes the memories you want them to be able to have.

  141. I totally get where you are coming from. Before I was a mother I thought that certain things defined what it was to be a responsible parent. Things like no fast food, reading books vs. tv as mindless entertainment, etc. It’s not that we eat McDonald’s in front of the tv now but I have come to understand that those things are not as important to me anymore. Mind you I still have my standards (they never have been to McDonalds or Burger King) but there have been those weeks when pizza has been on the menu more than once. More and more I try to see my kids not as people that need to be controlled or contained but as individuals that need to be allowed to find out who they are & what they want. I guess what I am saying is that 7 yrs into this crazy parenting gig I see more of a big picture – kids are amazing and when you give them a bit of space they are even more amazing and I feel so lucky that I have a front row seat to the show!
    Btw, having my kids sleep with us in the early days in one of my fondest memories of that time. There is nothing like the feeling of sleeping with a newborn.

    1. Francine – I am responding to this with my three week old fast asleep on my chest. You’re right – it’s such a beautiful time and so fleeting! I just need to look at my older boys to realize how quickly time flies. Living in the moment with them will prove to be better for all of us (in the short and long term).

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  142. OMG this is such an awesome post! Just confirms for me not to judge or you becomed judged, till you have some you do not understand what it takes to be a parent, dealing with controlling another free sprit with a mind of their own, even if they are 2. LOL we all shift with responsibility and change in our lives never say never you might start eating crow at some point. We must remember just love them and do the best you can do it is short and you can miss so much trying to shape one who has a mind of it’s own, and will start there own path no matter what you do. Thanks for this I really enjoyed reading it and the comments were just great

  143. I’m a pediatrician and toddler Mom…and your list made me laugh out loud! I had vowed all of those things too and thought myself more than qualified to raise kids…until of course, my son taught me different.

    Sometimes I think it’s the other way round and he’s raising me to be the best Mom I can be for him 😉

    Loved the post and congrats on FP!

  144. I loved this so much that I read it outloud to my husband and toddler daughter. Well, maybe not to her, but she’s always there. We both chuckled a lot over the TV never-nevers. I remember when she was an itty-bitty newborn and we would do anything to shield her eyes from the TV!

    My “Never” would be… I would never let my children get in the way of my adventures in life. Now with a toddler, sometimes its just easier to stay home and play with blocks than pack her up to go on a new adventure.

    1. I also thought that we would continue to travel the globe – because seriously, how hard is it to take a few kids with you? Ha!!! The last trip we took with our kids resulted in many tears – from me! We exploring a stay-cation for this year.

  145. So much you have said rings true for me as well.
    My son is 2 and there are so many things on your list that my husband and I vowed never to do as well, but I guess that went by the way-side.

    I don’t care that my house is a mess or if my son has a lay down with us in our bed.
    I work full-time and those little moments with him are dearly treasured.

    Your blog is amazing and so inspiring. I love it.

    XOXO Danai

  146. Hey there – I also thoroughly enjoyed this blog post and adore the photo 🙂
    Although I am not yet a mother, I have been broody since I was around 16 (I am 20 now). I have this passion for children – but know how hard it is when I babysat the other day for a woman who had 4 kids of ages 8, 7, 18months, 6month. IT.WAS.CRAZY to put it briefly 🙂
    I am a student nurse in South Africa at the moment, and although I as well know about how everything should be done (you can check out my blog – I have breastfeeding advice and so forth), nothing is as you predict it to be! I have all this information, which may plausibly be used to help others – however were I to do it fo my own kids one day, I would probably still be a bewildered new mother – completely lost and fussig over every little thing.
    They say that nurses make one of the worst mothers – because you know what every symptom may lead to 🙂
    Thank you again for poasting 🙂

  147. i guess most (if not all) parents are guilty of ‘giving in.’ sometimes, giving in without a fight. it’s not always correct and it’s not ideal (because we do have to show our kids who’s the boss), but when we are just so, so tired and our patience is running low, we do tend to forget our “I will never do this and that” mantra.
    it happens to the best of us 🙂 it doesn’t mean we are bad parents, though. we’re just human…
    nice post! very, very real.
    Supergoddess Me

  148. Our thought process in dreaming beforehand and practical experience which follow always shows a change. This is many of womans experience as to be good mom after the childs birth. They study a lot before delivery but just a few are always implemented. FACT IS A FACT.

  149. after reading your post, I realized that taking care a baby won’t be as easy as I’ve thought.
    Like what you did, I’ve already thought about my plan and what should I do when I have a baby, and now I become affraid if I can’t do any of those plans 😐
    thanks for warning me..

  150. Awesome post, congrats on getting on Freshly Pressed. I’m not a mother, and have no idea if kids are in my future but I’ve had moments when I’ve seen kids acting up whilst I’ve been out and thought ‘there’s no way I’d let my kids act like that…’
    Chances are that’s going to be a large karmic bite in the backside should the time come around…

  151. I promised I wouldn’t put her in a playpen. I did, she screamed her head off (as I knew she would) and now I only put her in if I am alone and need a minute to do something. But just a minute b/c she does still scream.

    Great post 🙂

  152. wow…nice post and nice responses by people.

    this post is sort of scary but a lesson that we ought not to be too perfectionist and not to set our hopes to high to avoid them getting crushed..and being flexible and adaptable when we’re parents. thank you! and good luck with parenting!

    🙂

  153. As someone eagerly looking forward to motherhood I have to chuckle at your top 10 list. I think the same way even as I blush because I’ve already broken some of these “rules” with my nephews and little sister. Love the post.

  154. I have seen this post for days on the front of wordpress.com and I finally read it. I have seven children and I find myself doing all kinds of crazy things. The one thing though that I swore I would never do is treat my kids like my mom treated me. Thankfully I don’t have the genes for that. I am so lax with things it’s insane but at the same time my kids are pretty well behaved (my youngest makes up for three kids and is difficult) and they are well adjusted. I actually think they are too well adjusted if that is possible.

    Oh…I think at one point I probably promised something about healthy properly balanced meals. At one time I am sure we had them then my children developed food allergies (a grand total of 48 of them between the seven) and now I am just happy to make a meal that everyone can eat without getting sick or dying.

    Because of the changes I have had to make to accommodate my children’s health issues I have had many people tell me that I am parenting *wrong*. Guess those people are still protectionists. 😛

  155. Great post! I really identified with it, because I was one of those women without kids who judged all the moms whose kids were doing things that I would never let my kids do like…
    –screaming and throwing a major tantrum in the grocery store,
    –throwing all of their food on the floor in a restaurant,
    –talk back to me, or say “no” when told to do something…
    the list could go on, but I must say that all of these judgements have come back to haunt me. Needless to say, with four little girls to raise, I have been humbled again and again!

    1. I forgot all about the “no”. I remember being shocked when my eldest son looked at me and said “no”. I didn’t know what to do – I just always assumed he would do exactly as I said. Ha!!! Another humbling experience for me. Enjoy those four girls and thank you for commenting!

  156. None of this is a problem. Nowadays, society is not really designed for us to spend the maximum of time with our kids: we must study, work, take care of our partner and children. A bad mother is a mother who never thinks of what is or could be best for her child.

  157. I was going to breastfeed for a year. 2 months, 1 bout of mastitis, 1 incurable case of thrush, and 3 lactation consultants later I finally gave up and pumped for 6 months. Then formula fed for the next 6.

    My only regret (and the biggest regret of my life) is not switching to bottles sooner. My daughter seems to be closer to her father and I think it has to do with my reluctance to hold her early on (because of the pain).

    I do believe in the benefits of breastfeeding and would try it again with future children, but if it truly doesn’t work, I’m not going to spend 2 months making myself (and the baby) miserable.

    1. Your conclusion could be applied to most anything, right? Spending time trying to make something work (regardless of what it is) has the potential to take away from the reality of the situation. Thank you for taking the time to comment and sharing such a personal experience.

  158. i agree with you… but some things that we have “slid” on represent good and proper convictions that we ought to maintain and continue to strive for. it would certainly be foolish for somebody who isn’t yet a parent to deliberately have no principles going into parenthood.

    1. Absolutely! My husband and I have a “list” that we do not compromise on and these are the point which we believe are fundamental to parenting our children. Dirty clothing and sleeping in our bed just didn’t make the important list once we had our children. Thanks for commenting.

      1. 🙂 me too, my boys are sometimes stinky, and sometimes in the bed!: ) 🙂 i’ve also been learning that there are much more important things than “getting good grades” in school. (that’s still good, but if my boys are, say, hating people, that’s a bigger problem than lower grades.) thanks for post.

  159. omg! thats so true! people have many expectations on how they will raise their children and when its time they screw up!
    Its too hard to do everything!

    love.
    summer.

  160. Great Hub!

    For every thing we get right–there will always be one we do not. Being a parent is tough!

    I was much more patient with other children than my own. Why? When the kid is yours, you never get to hand them over to their parents. LOL

    Children usually only remember the big mistakes, those that their parents keep repeating throughout their childhoods. Drugs, alcohol, beating and mental abuse–etc..

    Those few times you yelled, didn’t buy the candy bar, left the store early or withheld a special toy will soon be forgotten if you treat your babies well.

    @ vernakale:

    Your physical condition does not make you a bad parent, not at all. The fact that you chose to go through so much pain, just to try and breastfeed is totally awesome. Your daughter will realize that if she gets painful mastitis, lol.

  161. Frankly, I thought I was going to be mother nature. So calm. My life was turned upside down. also, I thought I would never feel lonely, those first months as a mother were the loneliest times in my life.
    thanks for the blog. A lot of women feel ashamed to actually admit any of these things.

    1. exactly .. and sometimes mothers can misinterpret these feelings as, “i must be a bad mom.” everybody else can sure LOOK so perfect. but i bet sometimes we look just dice-on as well, walking at the mall with our kids.

  162. Nice that you are so honest! As a mom-to-be I have already thrown out the window what I used to care so much about. So what if I wear my hair in a ponytail for 3 months straight? I’m ecstatic if I can make it through my day without feeling queasy! And make-up? Looking cute? I think I’m already getting a head start for those sleepless crazy days ahead. Although I have to admit I can relate to your post because I have so many ideas about how I’ll be such a great parent, I guess I’ll have to remember it doesn’t always turn out that way I think it will!

    1. Congratulations on your pregnancy! You’ll be a great mom because all of those things on the “list” that you have already let go of are really quite trivial and mean nothing in the long run. Best wishes and enjoy the journey that is motherhood.

  163. i love this one…we all promise ourselves things and when push comes to shove realise that it is harder than it looked. i made many promises to myself but once i had my son i realised that sometimes i am too tired to do the ‘right’ thing and other times i feel too harsh so i just ignore the things….wow, glad to know i am not alone

  164. #1 was me all the way, no kids in bed – but I was blessed with a snugly baby boy who literally wouldn’t sleep for more than 10-15 minutes unless he was in physical contact with me. Out of pure exhaustion I began co-sleeping and those nighttime snuggles/memories have become something I wouldn’t trade for anything. He’s 9 months and now sleeps on his own for naps and when he goes to bed in the evening, but we still co-sleep at night and I think I will be a very sad mama when it ends.

    I think letting go of the “rules” and just enjoying how things end up going can result in some of the sweetest times. I remind myself of this daily as I get frustrated with the day to day stuff way more than I thought I would before I had kids 🙂

  165. I don’t have kids yet, but I have 3 older sisters. The youngest sister has 6 children and the oldest one will be 8 later this year (no twins or other multiples). I have read the top ten lists featured here and my first instincts are in many cases opposite of the things mentioned. I think that is because of the way that I was raised and how I see my sister raise my neices and nephews. I think that I turned out well (who doesn’t, but I don’t have any health issues per my annual checkups, I graduated at the top of my high school class, graduated magna cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering and married my lovely wife of just over 1 year). When my wife and I have kids I think we will read, study and most importantly ask for advice from our parents and families. We’ll also go into it knowing that we won’t be perfect parents, but that if we pray and do the best we can, God will make sure that our kids turn out alright and that we escape with some of our sanity.

  166. I was never going to wash my children’s faces with the sponge from the kitchen sink (did it once but made myself feel better because the sponge was new and clean not old and germ laden). I was also never going to clean their faces with the corner of my handkerchief and a bit of spit (done that more times than I care to think about).

    My advice to my sister when she was pregnant with her own child? “Put the book down. Stop thinking about the rules. Figure out whatever works and just do that.”

    1. I always said that I wasn’t going to wipe my kids face clean with spit from a Kleenex that I dredged up from the pits of my purse. I just did it this morning at Kindergarten drop-off.

      I have to check out your books – they look like lots of fun!

  167. Hi there!

    What a nice text, what a nice blog. Congrats!

    As per your question I´m glad to say that there were only 2 things I´ve promised myself never do as a mother and both were definitely accomplished.

    Cheers & all the best,

  168. Not only what is on your list… but how about: ‘I will be different from my parent’s’, yet hear the very SAME thing come out of my mouth that they said to me!

    Overall, intimate relationships with my spouse and my children have brought to my attention the amount of selfishness I have within. Boundaries are important to maintain, but as a wife and mother, sometimes you must do things for others. In that there can be it’s own happiness, satisfaction, and ultimately, contentment. Contentment when you observe your children as they grow. Since I have children, two about to graduate college, I am so thankful and pleased and content with who they have and are becoming. Thank you, Lord.

  169. I am just finishing reading How to talk… and one of her first lines was the “I was a great mom before I had kids”. Makes me smile everytime I see it. Also another book with that title which I have not read but I really enjoyed their other book, I would trade my husband for a housekeeper. Now I want to keep reading others such as PET and Sibling Rivalry and spirited kids.

    I need help to get through this stage with my spirited 4 year old daughter and to build a better relationship for the future. I know we can communicate better with each other. It has been a downward spiral for many months. The frustration on both our parts has been building and creating resentment and me getting louder and tougher is not working.

    I had heard people say things about being a parent and life as you know will end etc, etc but I had no idea. It is hard to see it all while we are still in the haze of it. I knew I was not “naturally” maternal but I thought I would be able to outsmart a 4 year old but I am not so sure. Now I understand why my mom looked like she was having a mental breakdown during my childhood and why she told me one day you are going to have one just like you! ha ain’t that the truth.

    1. there is no right answer or holy grail and no one stage lasts forever. Hang in there with your daughter. I’m sure her strong convictions will serve her well as she gets older.

    2. Karen – I have a very “spirited” son and to say that some days are trying is a substantial understatement. I have found some some books to be helpful (in particular Alyson Shafer http://www.alyson.ca). I tell myself that soon enough this phase will be in the past and I will miss the good times I am having with my son – the simple things.

      Hang in there. We do what we need to do. The fact that you are agonizing over this shows the extent of your love.

  170. I love the list as I, too, had high and lofty goals for what type of mom I’d be…before they arrived. I’m dying to know how many on that list you’ve been able to maintain…if any (smile).

    grownupforeal

  171. I already know I’m gonna break all of my goals with my child-in-progress. I know this cause when I first got into horses I swore I would NEVER walk behind a horse, or feed it anything unnatural, etc. etc.

    Yeah…next thing you know I’m leaning against my horses booty while we’re enjoying an ice cold Dr. Pepper together.

    *sigh*

  172. I’m not a parent but after working for 8 years in the childcare industry I’ve learned some things. I used to say I loved working with kids. Their funny and cute and while they are also frustrating knowing your shaping the minds of the next generation is fulfilling. Now I now we just do the best we can. Working with kids is great because they go home and you get some separation. Raising kids is entirely different. I’ve always said there are things I don’t like about what parents do, but I won’t tell a parent what to do because I’m not one of them. Keep doing the best you can. That’s all you can do.

    1. When I was teaching (and didn’t have kids) I too didn’t tell parents what to do because I wasn’t one. Now having kids, who have teachers, I can say that it is irksome when a childless teacher is hypercritical of my parenting. It happened only one time but the sting was lasting. Thanks for commenting.

  173. I am a new mom (my son is 4 weeks old) and I already know exactly what you mean! I had a very similar list in my head and am already starting to see myself cross some of those statements off…

    It’s so good to read posts about other moms feeling the same way and being honest about it! Thank you.

    1. Kaye – congrats on the birth of your son! We just had our third four weeks ago. Enjoy the journey that is motherhood.

      Just some unsolicited advice: sit and hold him as much as possible. This time where he will sleep in your arms is fleeting.

  174. A a grandfather I loved your post. We have been through it all and now my beloved and I smile as we watch our own children’s promises crumble in the face of their newborn to now 4 1/2 yr old children … good thing they can’t read our minds at times … *great big grin*

  175. I wish I could remember my mantras before I had children, but like so much else in my brain, it is all a blur. My cousin used to say that kids will take a human being and suck the life right out of them.

  176. Wow, I think I’m there. I have no kids but belive I can be a great mom. But from just being around my girlfriends, family etc with kids I’m not sure I even want to be a mom. It looks like one hell of a job.

    Go

  177. You know I have just finished reading this entire post and you all have some very valid points and some of you have some really great stories to share.

    In my younger days I to took phsychology, and parenting classes, and other child development classes. I worked in daycares and was a live in Nanny. Then I became a mommy.

    One thing no one has mentioned is that being a mommy is different than being a caregiver for others. You WILL do things differently with your own children then you do with others.

    The most important thing to remember is that they are children and let them be children. I am not saying that they should be allowed to do anything. I mean we must keep them as safe as possible, but so what if they forgot to put that last toy away, or so what if they are covered from head to toe in paint that is not washable (eventually it does wear off), or dirt, or so what if they just ruined your favorite pair of dress shoes while playing dress up, or so what if ALL your makeup is now on the walls and furniture, so what if they cut their own hair off, so what…. you get my point here. The thing is these are really not big deals. All these things are fixable, and certainly not life threatening. And actually will someday bring a smile to your face as you remember them. Just make sure to turn them into a learning experience for the child, and try to not lose your cool but if you do so what. You will recover and they will still love you.

    My children are 17 and 6. They are wonderful human beings, and I love being their mom. I am far from perfect. I know it, and I am okay with it. I think something that comes with being an older mother is that you learn to relax a little.

    When I had my first child I wasn’t as relaxed in the beginning. I was a bit overprotective, but with time I learned that is just crazy, and we need to let our children be children and just use some good old common sense before we decide to engage in battle with them. Ask yourself is this something that will really hurt them or be detrimental to who they may become or detrimental to their mental health. I mean if it is not putting them or someone else in harms way then is it a battle you want to have.

    I should say, that I have my own business and I work out of my home. So I have the luxury as a single mom to still raise my own children. I home school one and the other one goes to public school because I am raising to very unique individuals and this is what meets their individual needs.

    Parents, parents to be, choose your battles wisely or they will choose you and you will being doing battle till the day they leave home and maybe beyond. Who wants that kind of relationship with their children.

    Take a deep breathe and relax. If you love your children and truly care about what’s best for them then you will do okay. And okay is okay. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PERFECT! And just ignore all those do gooders. There day will come soon enough!

    If you can take a step back and allow yourself to breathe you won’t feel as pressured or stressed. Always remember that no matter how crazy it gets you really MUST make time for yourself. If you have to leave the baby in the crib and let them cry so you can calm down then by all means do so. As long as that child is not in harms way by leaving them crying for a little bit then do it. Go take a warm bath or do some meditating to bring yourself back into a good place so you can be calm to help calm your infant. It will not kill that child to cry for a little while. Trust me! I know it sounds cruel, but isn’t it more cruel to allow yourself to get all bent out of shape and carry that child around with you being all stressed out. You know they sense your stress and your insecurities. So the best thing to do is really walk away from the crying infant for a short time. A more peaceful you makes a more peaceful infant.

    I did not have someone to help me with my children when they were upset or sick so I had to learn to walk away sometimes. This was not easy for me and I thank God for that neighbor who came over one day when she heard my first child crying again. She took him from my arms placed him in his crib, cracked his window, closed his door, and made me a cup of coffee and took me out on the porch and sat with me until I became calm again. It was not easy to hear his crys through that window, but he did eventually calm down and so did I. Sometimes walking away is the best way. Plus children need to learn to calm themselves even as infants.

    Diapers: I think it’s funny that you would even consider disposable diapers a bad thing. 😉 I loved them! With my first child I could not use disposable diapers as he was severly allergic to every brand I tried. I tried them all! So cloth diapers it was for him, but with my second child I used disposable diapers all the time. They were awesome! If they are not harming your baby then what’s wrong with them? Really?

    Sucking thumbs and paci’s: My children never really took those things, but I think if they had to so what. This is how a child comforts himself. Let them be. They will outgrow it. If you are really worried about it because they are getting older and it’s damaging their teeth in someway then gradually work with that child to find another way to comfort themself, but do not force them to give it up. Remember this is how they are comforting themself and if they don’t have a substitute to comfort them then they will be all out of sorts.

    Eating jarred foods: Really what’s wrong with them. I have used both homemade foods and jarred foods and the results are pretty much the same except jarred foods are easier. Organic foods are okay, but seriously do we really know that we are giving them true organic foods. The Food industry has so many ways of disguising things, and making you believe that what they have to offer is healthier than the other is. Most of the time it is a bunch of malarky and not entirely true. As long they are getting their daily requirments (use vitamins if necessary) then don’t sweat it.

    Junk food and soda: What kid does not love it! Relax. Let them have a little now and they won’t over indulge later. In the meantime try to offer suitable substitutes that are healthy and likable to help cut down on how much actual junk they eat. There are many simple and affordable snacks out there that are healthy that children love.
    -ants on a log: celery with peanut butter and raisens
    -cheerios: an all time favorite, they can carry it around, it’s easy to clean up, and the children love them
    -apple slices: with or without peanut butter or some cream cheese
    -celery with cream cheese
    -tiny bagels: top w/cream cheese and tiny pieces of veggies and tell them it’s a bagel pizza, they will love it
    I’m sure if you do a search on the net for creative fun foods you will find more easy and affordable snacks that children love.

    Well, I guess I’ve said enough here. I could always go on and on, but I have went on to long.

    Enjoy your children! Be happy and as stress free as possible. They are only young once! And don’t forget to take care of yourself.

    1. Wow! What a great comment. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I am a lot better at letting things go than I used to be and that’s because my children have been my teacher. I have the utmost respect for single parents. I always have a crutch – someone to help me out or just listen to me vent my concerns/frustrations and to share the good stuff with. Kudos to you for raising independent, contributing members of society!

  178. I really enjoyed this post. I’ve been married for over 3 years now and thinking about children. However, instead of thinking about how great a mom I’ll be I seem to be quite nervous at the thought of bringing another life into the world. I doubt my ability to make the best decisions for them and wonder if I’m going to do the same things to my children as my mom did to me? I think you can never be quite prepared for something as parenthood, you can only do the best you can and give it all you got. I guess I’ll try to make my list of things that I swear not to ever do much shorter than yours was. They do say, never say never. Thanks for sharing.

  179. hey… your picture is beautiful.. your husband did a good job capturing such a precious moment (usually a camera cannot capture the emotions)….

    i am not a mother and neither am i sure when will i be one.. i just take things as it comes.. but i don’t think i would have a list of things i would never do once i am mother.. i don’t know what life will be like once i am one..

    apart from learning about basic childcare (which i will learn from my mother). i don’t think i want to learn anything from anywhere else but from my child. i think once he/she is here, they will ensure i learn whatever i need to/ have to.. i will grow with my child once again..

    i was clueless about everything when i was growing up.. i think it will be re-living the excitement..

    i have no idea what kind of a mother i would turn out to be

  180. I totally can feel for this. I definitely found myself becoming guilty of some of the things I wouldn’t want my 2 kids to do in hope that ;if I can change some things to make them a better person, I would do it with all my ability. The problem is sometimes I just don’t have the time to be there for them all the time. But I still like to pat myself on the back because I know I spend an ample amount of time with them since I don’t have a permanent job at the moment.

    I promised myself I wouldn’t want my kids to grow without both parents. Yet sometimes I feel like -somethings we just don’t have a control over. I don’t know if my wife and I will really stay for eternity or at least until my kids are 21 yrs old. I’m going thru some tough times right now with jobs and it’s becoming hard to overcome this ideal family I wanted for my own family.

    My confession here, would be.I don’t know that if being with my wife just for the sake of raising my kids with both parents is a sacrifice or a choice I shouldn’t make. I do think kids that grow up with parents grow respectively well mannered or rather complete with all necessary building blocks to make a happy, super kid.

    I didn’t grow up with both parents around. Had to become independent and find myself even up to this very day I am now 33yrs old, but I feel like I am just reaching puberty. I feel that I lack something that I can only wish I had. But I just had to live without that essential something I know I needed if I had only experienced it.

    But being a grown up, I know I shouldn’t let the innocent child suffer or grow up without a parent. I am the sunlight to my family, I know If I breakdown , my children will go thru the same thing I went thru. And it’s exactly what I don’t want to happen. I love my kids so much that I don’t want history to repeat the same way I had to go thru. I can change history, and It has begun.

  181. Love it! For me it was all about the toys. All natural, no plastic, no paint, no batteries…Until I realized that kids love bright colored, plastic toys that flash lights and make noise.

  182. I don’t have any children, but interestingly enough I did have a never list. My big never was to never let them watch tv. I think I would have succumbed to that one by the time they were 1 year old.

  183. Well i’m sure no one will read my comment but honestly i do not know why u had such a list anyway ? I’m not a mother and nowhere NEAR to being one ! But i think having grown up with a lil brother 9 years younger than me , having to take care of him and being part of a big African family that love to dump their 3 children (all toddlers) all on me at once i would NEVER have those notions….i would have done ALL those 10 things on those lists because Mothers these days don’t have time ! It’s like being superwoman. Actually it is like being superwoman.
    But i do hope to have kids someday and from my experience…no more than two….

  184. This list is so funny. I know the feeling. While not a mom myself, I am an au pair for a family and feel I am getting a “trial run” at motherhood. Very interesting indeed. I, too, find myself mentally tallying things “I will never do.” Great post.

  185. I find it interesting that I’m to be wed soon, and my love and I plan on having children, but with this list I find that I would do things on it, that I plan to do things on it, not all of them, especially concerning the ones with TV. I was raised close to my grandmother and mother physically and emotionally, my mother and I would often share a bed and such. Maybe that’s wierd, but we also lived in a situation where sometimes we didn’t have a bed for each of us, and it made us closer.
    I don’t expect to a “great mom”, and I don’t want to be a single mom, though thats what my mother is/was. I do expect, of myself, that I should take into account what my grandmother and mother did as I was growing up. The bribes for me to be on good behavior were always story time, or a new book. Maybe the TV wasn’t my sitter, but books, they were. Often or not though, I was read to.

    I’m sorry if I rambled, I found it interesting.

    -Senny Paine

  186. Congratulations and thank you very much for this great and genuine post! I felt immediately at home reading your list! Love it!
    2.5 years ago I had the same principles. I also had decided to be a good and “cool” mother:
    1. breast feed my baby for at least six months (which revealed impossible as my baby just refused(!) my milk).
    2. never neglect my career (I love my job but I cannot work full time anymore trying to spend as much time as possible with my little angel)
    3. never neglect my childless friends (I love them but going to cocktail bars after 9 pm is definitely exhausting)
    4. never neglect my appearance (you stop worrying on your outfit with a baby spitting all the time)
    5. always keep my home clean and beautifully designed (now it’s full of blinking plastic toys)
    6. always cook myself, not fast food til his at least six and give sweets only on sundays
    7. never tell my child “ask your father”
    8. never show enthusiastically weird ultrasound images of my baby or talk about the advantages of a charriot carrier in front of my childless colleagues (who were polite enough not to show they were bored :-).

    I love my child. Having a child makes you rethink your priorities (thankfully!). It indeed teaches you humility and how you can’t control everything in your life and most of all, you cannot control your child, just accompany him a little on his way.

  187. Great list. I completely concurr with all of them. Despite that I’ve turned out to be a much better dad than i thought i would be.

  188. Fantastic little post.

    My parents, honestly, I can not remember a time when we got to watch TV during dinner. That was….set in cold hard stone.
    I have a son now whose mother is Japanese, and watching dinner during ALL MEALS is like the national past time here behind Sumo and eating uncooked animals.

    hmmmm….When in Rome?

    I think No.

    1. I know how exhausting it is but try to remember that it’s just a stage with them. I am learning to embrace things and let go of the trivial. I have been enjoying the kids and my job as their mother so much more since making this resolve. You can do it!

  189. 15. Answer questions about the odd inappropriate moment that ‘pops up’ on TV honestly… (I now say ‘get a room!’ they love that…’).

    16. I would teach them to cook… and set a good example by doing the ironing instead of wifey… (she makes me let her do it… err…).

    17. Go to every school performance etc… no matter what my boss says… heh… sure…

    18. Never shout at them (I have done this maybe twice in 12-years)…

    19. Never hit them (never have done… there are much more sutble-and effective-ways to inflict consequences…)

    20. Go cycling every weekend (lasted 2-weekends…)

    21. Teach them kendo… lasted 2-mins…lol

    22. Not miss them when they started school… lasted 2-mins too…

  190. Great post! I don’t have kids myself but believe that I have two of the greatest parents in the world who are massively responsible for the guy I am today.

    I think back to when I was growing up though and I was involved in a fair few slanging matches with them (even get sworn at and stormed out on) and actually smacked a few times too. I can’t imagine they ever thought they would do such things to their children before they started their family.

    I guess I’d like to think that I won’t need to resort to such actions when I raise my own kids (I’m fine with TV as a distraction as long as its good TV and Film- only Pixar movies and Spielberg for my children, no Shrek!) but I know I am being naive and can’t wait to see exactly what ways I contradict myself once I am a father. There is no “wrong way” as far as I’m concerned. It’s all an adventure.

    Glad to know there are like minded naive parents-to-be out there who think they know it all too!

  191. I have just started my blog today and yours is the first ever blog I have read! I laughed out loud! I have 21 month old son and have already broken all of your pre-mum rules!
    A truly beautiful pic of you and your baby too x

  192. This is how true and I can easily relate. I am a mother of 4+ years old child. Once she is born I started my work from home and then after 6 months I joined my job as a full-timer. But I found myself miserable. I found myself always in a bad mood due to work-life stress. Then again I started working from home but things did not go well. Now I might have developed severe depression and always stressed out. I just don’t remember when I decked up nicely for any occassion.I have lost every interest in life and that is also affecting my bonding with my child.I have no baby sitter and my in-laws are always after my life. Just suggest what to do? I somehow want my life back. I need to be cheerful once again. And my age is only 28.

  193. Fabulous post! Everything you said, but now she’s seven I’ll also add:

    Saying ‘when I was your age’ – I HATED people saying that to me when I was a kid – I do it all the time.

    Forgetting she’s 7 and treating her like she’s 3

    ‘Because I say so…NOW’ – I say that a lot *SIGH* swore I never would.

    Anything that makes me sound like my mother – which of course I do all the time!

  194. I don’t have any kids but I know that this is too true. I know I’d have to just learn how to be a good mom just by trial and error, and not following all the rules at times too.

  195. I had to read this just because the title caught my eye and resonated with me. I, too, aspired (and still aspire) to be a better mom than I am. I said I’d never yell at my kids, never answer “because I said so” when my child asked why, never feed them processed or junk foods. I said I’d play with them every day and always enjoy looking after them. I still try to do these things, but definitely fall short most days. I try to remind myself to look for progress, not perfection, and hope that I will screw them up less than someone else might have.

    And I know I love them, so that must count for something, right?

    Great post.
    Karen

  196. Great Post! Parenting changes your world in ways no one could ever prepare you beforehand. Whenever I start feeling guilty about another thing on “the list” that is not adhered to, I recall the best advice I received regarding parenting. I worked with a gentleman that had grown children and grandchildren. He told me the only advice he ever gave was, “raise them the best you can, and then send them to a good therapist.” On some days I have to chant that mantra to keep the guilt at bay.

    Congrats on your new baby!

  197. I found this great post as I was browsing around for good new parent tips. About to have my 3rd baby, so I’ve been thinking about all this stuff again… amazing how much I’ve forgotten in 3 years. This post made me laugh. SO true! Here’s my list (this is not complete by any means):
    1. I was going to take my kids in for regular professional portraits. (Um, that’s not going so well.)
    2. I wouldn’t let my young kids brush their own teeth until they could do it independently… and thoroughly. It’s just easier for them to do it themselves sometimes. I’ve found some creative tips on this Mom’s Guide, though.)
    3. I was always going to do my daughter’s hair cute before we left the house. Maybe 3x a week it looks cute. 2x/week it’s brushed, and 1x a week nothing!!

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