Mama guilt is a peculiar thing. It follows us Mamas around and yells at us when we're trying to sleep. I have discovered that it can be stifled by - at least occasionally - resorting to Things We Said We'd Never Do.
Things We Said We'd Never Do Before We Had Kids Back When We Were The Perfect Parents With No Kids To Ruin Our Perfect Parenting Streak:
1. Bribe them. The experts say you cannot do this or chaos will ensue: the world will be consumed in fire, followed by death, maiming, soiling of quilts, and the stepping on of chickens. But here's the truth (shh!):
If a purse full of candy means your toddler will let you roam the aisles of Ross twice per year, then get a bigger purse.
2. Count to three. Back before we had our own little nose pickers we said we'd never do this because "it only gives them three more seconds to be naughty." Well, I'm here to tell you this:
We have already been programmed to count to three when we're upset. You can't help it. You're already doing it in your head, so it may as well come out your mouth. Plus, it will buy you three seconds to get yourself under control so that you don't do something you will regret later, like snarf a carton of Oreos in despair. Go ahead and count to ten if it helps. I won't tell.
3. Potty train later rather than earlier. Who ever said potty training = freedom was smoking something, and I'm not talking about salmon.
Potty training means two years of your life you will never get back, plus an intimate knowledge of every public restroom from here to Topeka. Every errand you run will take fourteen times the amount of time it would take had your little muffin been wearing a diaper.
4. Give in when nagged. I always said/thought/read/heard that if you NEVER give in on a battle with a toddler, then YOU WILL WIN FOREVER. That is a big, fat lie and whoever told you that is laughing it up. Saying "no" only makes stubborn little gremlins more stubborn and more gremlin-y. They really, REALLY like a challenge.
So, do yourself a favor and just give in next time.
5. Never let them become a picky eater. I don't like picky eaters. I don't like your picky eater and I don't like that picky eater across the street and I don't like my picky eater. But they didn't become that way because you "let" them. They just are. Like spiders and high bridges and wedgie-prone underpants. So, accept them. Let them be. Give them cereal for lunch (instead of steamed quineoa) and Nutella for breakfast (instead of vegetable stir fry).
I won't tell.
6. If you don't read to them, they won't become readers. Yeah, well, sometimes you read to them and they still don't become readers. Set that example all you want and it still might not work. I read all the time. I read so much I forget to change my socks or mop the floor or parent my children! And all I have to show for my stellar example are a bunch of kids who tell me they'll wait for the Xbox version.
So go ahead and sink into that bubble bath with the latest romantic mystery...but don't expect your sacrifice to rub off into literate children.
7. Have a strict bedtime.
Yeah. Good luck with that one.
8. Don't allow them to have a "sleep crutch." You know, those things like binkies and babas and blankies and other things that begin with B. Well, I'm here to tell you, surround that little angel with every sleep crutch you can possibly find.
We used to surround a snoring infant Cora with upteen pacifiers in the hope that when the one in her sweet angel mouth would fall out (which it would the second we hauled our tired bodies into our own bed), she would magically have enough power over her own limbs to grab the nearest one and pop it in herself. This doesn't work. But I still recommend the Circle of Binkies.
9. Purify their water, boil their pacifiers, use non BPA bottles, give them organic food, use cloth diapers, etc.
At least when someone is looking. This is key. When you're home alone with Baby, do whatever the heck you want.
10. Your turn.
What rule do you break when it comes to parenting?