You should know, however, that this decision is making me feel like a traitor to the kind of mom I once thought I would be. Though I’m not really sure why, considering I already sanctioned my nine-year-old son wearing shorts to school in the middle of winter and my 12-year-old daughter binge-watching One Tree Hill on Netflix. Oh, and did I mention that the only vegetable that makes a regular appearance in our kitchen is edamame? When we order in sushi? (#suckstosuck)
It might interest to you to know, however, that before I had kids, I was a kick-ass amazing parent. The kind whose kids never watched TV, never ate McDonald’s, never chewed gum, never misbehaved in the awesome five-star restaurants where we took them on the regular. And always listened to NPR in the car. And liked it.
Which is why when I heard Mila Kunis tell James Corden her grand plan to go on weekly date nights with Ashton where they will never, ever talk about their newborn daughter, I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. Because we had that rule in the beginning too, that’s why.
Being a new parent is totally rewarding. But it also kind of sucks. And a little moral compromise (and a lot of Disney Channel) can go a long way towards protecting your sanity. So here are five other rules you might want to consider breaking:
1) I will never use the TV as a babysitter.
Great rule. Until you have to actually, like, go to the bathroom or take a shower. The good news? Turns out Dora the Explorer is a pretty kickass babysitter. She’s spunky and outdoorsy and good at solving riddles. And with her going rate holding steady at the bargain basement price of zero dollars an hour, she’s way cheaper than the high school kid down the block. Bonus points if your kid picks up any Spanish.
2) I will never curse in front of my kids.
Back when my daughter was six, my husband was driving her to a birthday party when another driver cut him off. “Duuuude!” he yelled, leaning on the horn and maneuvering his way around the offending vehicle. And then, a tiny voice from the back seat: “Effing people! (only she didn’t say “effing”). I already know what you’re thinking. I suck at life. And yes, I curse like a sailor. But here’s the thing. If you have open discussions with your kids about using “bad” words and provide them with a safe place to use them (like the car), chances are those words will lose their effing allure. You heard me.
3) I will never let my kids use electronics in restaurants.
Did I once judge parents for letting their kids use electronics in restaurants? Guilty. And did I then go and turn into one of those parents? Damn straight. Because Operation Dinner Out can be a tricky business. And sometimes a girl just wants to sip her chardonnay and throw back some tuna tartare in peace thankyouverymuch.
4) No eating outside the kitchen.
I don’t know what mornings look like in your house, but in mine they are a mad rush of face washing, teeth brushing, sock matching, shoe finding, lunch packing, backpack stuffing and coat zipping. So if I can slide a paper plate topped with microwaved mini-pancakes in front of my kid while she scrolls through her Instagram account on the family room sofa for the three minutes before the bus comes, and in the process wind up with enough time to down a cup of lukewarm coffee alone in the kitchen, well, then, I consider that a win-win. And if you’re thinking that was one big run-on sentence, you’d totally be right. But then again, that’s exactly what being a new parent feels like.
5) No dessert without dinner.
Because there’s a ton of research that shows kids who are forced to finish their veggies in order to get to dessert end up thinking that veggies suck. And because I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom. And sometimes that’s okay.