Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Rules

I've broken a few rules in my day. You wouldn't guess to look at me now, the suburban mom I am, but it's true.

There were tattoos, punk shows, illegal substances, and various other daring adventures that made my younger years a tad exhilarating.

But really, when it comes down to it, I am a pretty straight and narrow kind of person at heart. Even while I was engaging in all that fun stuff, I worked, got good grades, graduated college and grad school, and generally showed what a responsible citizen I was.

I can't help it - I always really want to do what's right, no matter what the situation. I want to follow through on what is expected of me. To be truthful, I get annoyed when others don't.

I use my turn signal.
I wear my seat belt.
I show up on time.
I answer emails promptly. Mostly.

I. Follow. Rules.

Hell, I usually fess up to KG about tiny infractions, just to ease my conscience. I have a serious Jiminy Cricket inside of me, for better or for worse.

I've written before about how much of a test parenting is. Parents are constantly faced with open-ended problems that have no simple solution, only a "do whatever you think is best" type of response.

It starts during pregnancy with: "How much weight should you gain? "What should you eat/not eat?" Then there is the: "Will you breastfeed? Will you cloth diaper? Will you co-sleep? Will you practice Attachment Parenting?" Then it moves to: "Will you sleep train/CIO? When will you start solids? Will you do purees or Baby Led Weaning?" There are no rules on these things. You are supposed to just go on gut feeling. Really, it's anarchy. This drove my rule-driven sensibility insane.

On other things baby-related, there are some rules, or at least guidelines. Those pesky emails from fun parenting resource websites love to remind me of these.
Is your baby doing...?
Has your child started...?
Have you stopped...?

You know, just to make me slightly more paranoid about meeting expectations than I already am.

There are many rules I follow, especially about sleep, sunblock, and general safety related things. Those are non-negotiable. But some things, I'm figuring out, I need to be less rigid about in order to make our day to day work for all of us.

So here it goes:

Well, annoying-parenting-website-who-shall-remain-nameless: we are breaking some rules in our house. Gasp. 

I confess: my son is over 12 months (18 and a half thank you) and we are still on 2 bottles a day, morning and bedtime. And...he doesn't hold his own bottle. Never has and probably never will. We cuddle and he drinks his milk. And yes, we've tried sippy cups of milk and it is a no go.

The horror.

Confession 2: We eat snacks (and sometimes meals) while playing, and not in the high chair. Yup, he grabs a bite, plays, rinse, repeat. Does it make a mess? Yes. Does he eat more snack this way than trying to get him in the high chair 5 times a day? Yes.  If I can get him to eat in the chair 2-3 times a day I feel victorious.

Chaos I tell you.

Confession 3: We do screen time under the age of 2. There is Sesame Street. There is Curious George. There is Max and Ruby. There is Bubble Guppies. Not all day, but enough so KG and I can shower, make coffee, and get dressed. 

How dare we!

I could go on, but you get the idea.

That doesn't mean I don't have guilt about these things. Clearly, I am writing about them here, purging myself. But maybe I need to ease up on myself a bit, as several people from my mother's generation have told me. I've been such a stickler for rules my whole life, but times are changing. I am changing.

Who knew I had it in me?

What are the parenting "rules" that you break?


  1. LOVE your post :) I look forward to seeing you in my blog feed! We snack too much (oops). I give him hot dogs and he loves them (oops), but I do cut them into tiny non-choking pieces! We also do screen time (oops) even though it's short lived because D has the attention span of a house fly. D still has his paci (oops).

  2. Ha!! I love this on so many levels.

    Rules we're breaking:
    -snacks while not in the highchair (I can only clean that thing so many times in a day).
    -not enforcing tummy time. She-Beat hates it with a fiery passion and there's only so much screaming I can handle. I know it's suppose to be good for her, but the meltdowns seem to be making it worse.
    -rocking them to sleep. Generally they can self-soothe, but there are those nights where nothing else works.
    -As I mentioned, She-Beat isn't crawling and hates being on her tummy. So we're focusing on her standing with the goal of helping her learn to cruise.
    -Finally, He-Beat still takes 3 naps a day. Poor guy has been super tired. I'm not about to keep him awake as he gets so upset.

  3. We also do TV time and snack while playing. And we let her eat o's off the floor... all the time!

  4. I break rules. Molly still has her night bottle (sometimes two) and she just turned two. But man, she loves it. We do snack time in her couch on the floor. She has just started getting into TV and to be honest it is a bloody life saver at times. I let her curl up in bed with me. I just say do what you gotta do!

  5. Oh yes we also watch TV. Mine aren't huge snackers but when they do snack, its not in the highchair. We don't eat as a family much, either.

  6. I love this post!! My almost eighteen months old is still taking three bottles a day. And just like u... i hold the bottle!!! Meals are often on booster seat but snacks rarely! Hubby and i sit with him until he falls asleep!! Sometimes up to two three hours!! He does ipad-ing occasionally - mostly nursery rhymes but i do make him watch roxxette videos occasionally. I feed him his meals almost always but he does feed himself snacks. And he feeds me too :)

  7. I hate parenting "rules". Every child and every family is so different that one thing might work for you and but it might not work for me. Why is that so wrong? At the end of the day as long as our children are healthy, happy and thriving we should all get a big ole' gold star. I have certain ways that I like to parent, but do I judge others who don't believe in my ways or who do it different? Nope. Is your child alive? GOOD JOB!

    Love the post and love seeing you in my blog feed again :)

  8. Great post! Aren't rules meant to be broken? Or rather, I see (most) rules as guidelines for what works for the general public, but each family-unit needs to find what works best for them.

    -We've done some tv before he was two. Mostly it is short youtube clips (Maisy Mouse, kids songs and the dreaded Teletubbies).
    -I also give him snacks sometimes outside the highchair. It's just eaiser, especially when it allows me to cook dinner at the same time.
    -I held him while he fell asleep for ages and ages. And only just recently (at 21mo) did he move into his own bedroom for sleeping. I still have to sit next to the crib every night as he falls asleep and more often than not, reach my arm through the crib to touch him while he falls asleep.

    It works for us, that's what matters. :)

  9. I cannot even begin to express the joy that Peg + Cat has brought into our lives. Although the Weesing videos are seriously toddler crack. I'm writing a blog post about them, that's how amazing they are.

  10. Hehe. We keep pretty steady in our parenting, but one has to leave room for flexibility. We also have snacks from piles on the coffee table, feed little bits of ice cream after dinner, use pacifiers more than we should, and allow a milk bottle once a day if he has refused a sippy of it earlier in the day. I will feed him to give myself time to do dishes and throw on Sprout TV at night when I am out of ideas and want him to have a few minutes of down time.
    We all cut corners and break rules when we need to. For SURE.


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