I Break The Rules

by Alyssa Stutz
Originally Published: 

Dear Sweet Boy,

You, my spirited, strong-willed love, are 2-years-old. You break the rules. You bend the rules. Lots of times you make the rules.

I have to let you in on a secret though, before you were born, I had my own set of rules for the kind of mom I’d be. And guess what? Most of those rules? They’ve been bent or broken as well.

I will breastfeed through the first year (I broke this).

You wanted to nurse every minute of every day and my body just couldn’t keep up. And pumping wasn’t working. And I didn’t really enjoy walking around with my nipple hanging out. And I was tired, so damn tired. Had that been satisfying you, I would have been able to push forward, but after hours of nursing, you were still a ravenous little boy with a growling tummy, and that, I couldn’t handle. Breastfeeding lasted 2 weeks, and we were all much happier when your adorable little belly was filled with formula.

I will sleep when the baby sleeps. Everything else can wait (I bent this).

Doing Laundry. Cleaning dirty dishes. Using the bathroom. Making meals. Eating a bite of those meals. Writing thank you notes. Answering the text messages and phone calls. Throwing out the dirty diaper that’s been marinating on the coffee table since yesterday. Washing the bottles. Googling “will my baby’s eyes always be crossed?” and “Is it normal for a newborn’s legs to be bowed?” This momma had things to do while you were snoozing! Let me tell you what though, every once in a while I would snuggle into the couch and place you on my chest. Our heartbeats seemed to sync up instantaneously as your little body melted into mine, and we would doze off together as I breathed in that sweet, sweaty, fuzzy newborn head. Those moments were priceless and no amount of laundry could have pulled me away.

I will not let my children watch TV (I bent this).

Sometimes we are having “a day” and we need to hit the “reset” button in the form of some couch time and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Sometimes we are waiting in the doctor’s office and there are only so many lollipops one can eat. Sometimes the house is a disaster and dinner needs to be made and you have adhered your body around my leg. Sometimes your little toddler body is just so worn out from all the jumping and climbing and running, and you just need a little rest. Sometimes, I just need a little rest.

I will not be the crazy, overreacting first time parent with a million questions for the pediatrician (I so, so broke this).

I once took you to the pediatrician because your pinky toe looked crooked and I was nervous it would affect your ability to walk.

I will not let my child’s schedule run my life (Broken).

I learned quickly what happens when you miss your nap, or bedtime is pushed back, or the hell we will pay if you should fall asleep for even 30 seconds in the car on the way home. I had to give in to the schedule. I had to give in to it fast.

My children will eat a healthy, balanced diet, and will eat vegetables at every meal (I’d like to lie and say I bent this, but let’s be honest, I broke this).

The past three nights you’ve had hot dogs for dinner, and the only vegetable you will go near are the ones that are in pouches with sugar, sugar, and more sugar. You did lick a piece of broccoli last night though, so, I’m still holding out hope.

I will still make time to go out with friends (I bent this).

When you were born, I became a new person. A person who can’t handle her liquor and can’t keep her eyes open past 9 p.m. The idea of a perfect night involves hanging out in my jammies, watching you belly-laugh at your Daddy. That being said, when we’ve had a long week, and I realize that I’ve been talking “toddler” for the past 5 days straight, there is nothing like getting out for a happy hour with friends.

I will get my body back and continue with my daily gym workouts (Broken, oh, so broken).

My body will never be “back.” My body is changed, in so many wonderful and not-so-wonderful ways. And I don’t remember the last time I went to the gym. Also, I had a cookie for breakfast and goldfish for lunch.

I won’t talk about poop (This rule was broken before you were even a day old).

I can’t help it.

I won’t be that mom who stares at the clock waiting for it to be “wine time” (I seem to break this rule on a daily basis).

No need to elaborate.

I will not fall into the yoga pant cliché (This has been bent).

I really didn’t want to fall into the trap of yoga pants. I didn’t. I tried to stay away from that cliché. But then, I realized that clichés are sometimes there for a reason, and it was time to embrace my yoga pants. Sometimes though, when I realize that your dad hasn’t seem me in anything but yoga pants and t-shirts in over a week, I use your nap time to shower, do my makeup and hair, and put on some real clothes. It makes me feel human again.

My children will learn to fall asleep on their own (Broken).

Clearly, when I made this rule, I was unaware of how incredible your little head would smell while I rocked you, and how there is no feeling quite like having your sleepy little body cuddled up in my lap after a long day.

So, as you can see, my little love, I’ve broken and bent many rules, too. In time you will realize that some rules are okay to break and bend and twist around (as you so often do). Some rules are flexible. But the one rule, the only rule that I follow now, will never be broken or bent.

I will love my children with every ounce of who I am (forever and always, intact).

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