I’ve come to realize saying “I’ll never do that” as a mother is the biggest jinx you can put on yourself. I remember pre-motherhood watching mom friends go about their lives and passing my unwanted judgment. Thinking to myself or even saying out loud, “I’ll never do (insert snobby comment).” My how the tides can change.
I had a friend that bedshared with her son and then her daughter. Her husband slept on the couch. If she complained about marriage trouble, I would think, “Well duh, your husband sleeps on the couch. While you crowd your bed with kids.”
Even after I became pregnant I swore my child would never end up in my bed. “I’m way too heavy of a sleeper and I needed my space to sleep.”
I currently have a sleeping toddler snoring away next to me. This has been our arrangement since the first month of her life. My spouse, never happy with the idea, sleeps separately. I believe the marriage trouble taboo that comes with it is due to a programming of the western norm. I feel safer knowing she’s close at night and even though my partner might not like it, he understands.
My best friend had children before me and when her second was born, she breastfed. I remember being so uncomfortable around her at this time. She breastfed until her daughter was a toddler and I remember her pulling her mom’s shirt down in the middle of a conversation. It was just too much for me.
When I became pregnant, I decided to breastfeed. If nothing else it was cheaper. I also did believe it would give her the best start in life. Somewhere in there, I think my best friend planted a seed that made me think it was the right thing to do. However, I said I would never breastfeed until she was old enough to rip my shirt off. I was shooting for 6 months to a year tops. Well, folks, I’m still my daughter’s walking milk carton. We’ll be hitting 3 years in a few months.
One of my hardest examples to swallow is “I’ll never put my dogs second.” I honestly thought I understood the love of a parent and had that same love for my pets. I would run into a burning building for them, I would risk my life to protect them. I had no idea that my life’s value didn’t hold a candle to my child. I really wish love for a pet could be comparable to that of a child’s. I suppose if I never had a child I would have never known there is a difference other than the obvious common law, that people’s lives are treated with more value than animals. No, I love my dogs. I want the best for them, but my daughter is my heart. It’s a bittersweet realization.
The list could go on and on. “I’ll never take my kid in a store barefoot.” If your toddler losing their mind over putting those shoes on and your running on two hours of sleep, you might just throw in the towel.
“I’ll never give my kid candy.” If you need two seconds to yourself to catch your breath, you might just bribe them with candy (not saying I’ve ever done this, just ya know.)
“I’ll never put my kid on one of those leashes. They’re not a dog.” If you got a runner and you’re walking around a dangerous area, please, put them on one. It’s okay to admit defeat. Just look at it as a building character. It takes a lot to admit when you were wrong.
My biggest piece of advice for parents, never ever, ever, say “I’ll never.” Karma, the world, God, whatever has a wicked sense of humor. You think you know, but you have no idea. Being a parent pushes you to limits you never knew existed. It’s a world of giving up your stance for a little piece of sanity. A desperate time that calls for desperate measures.
Screw what people think, you do what you have to do to get by. As long as you do the best you can to keep your child happy and healthy, and your peace of mind, go ahead and eat your words. I think I’ll just stop saying them. To all the mothers I judged, my most sincere apologies. You’re doing great and I’m sorry to have been one of those people. I hope you get a giggle at my expense.