Breaking the Rules

5 Oct

One of the biggest issues parents face is how to raise their children the “right” way. In fact, I’m not sure there is anything bigger than this when it comes to parenting (and I’m not exactly sure what “right” means, but I’m trying to grasp the general idea). I recently started reading a great blog called 4 Mothers, and the title of one of the posts was, “I was a better mom before I had kids.” It discusses many of the rules parents make and break. Before having children, it seems that most people have some guidelines they intend to follow, anticipating that all will go as planned. As many of us have learned, parenting is not that straightforward. We have also learned that these rules we created before having kids were not as realistic as we thought.

I asked a couple of my friends, who are multitasking mamas, if they have ever broken any parenting rules, and I received some great feedback. It made me realize that I am not the only mom who had to make some adjustments.

I obtained quite a bit of information on various topics, so for this week, I just want to look at two: pacifiers (for the younger kiddos) and eating habits (for all ages).

“I swore my child would never have a pacifier… He used it till after his first birthday,” said Brittany Bruch Gould, a college student and mother to two-year-old Jake.

I faced the anti-pacifier issue, too, and I remember being upset when one of the nurses in the hospital urged Hannah to take one a day or two after she was born. Although Hannah had extenuating health-related circumstances (and the pacifier helped soothe her), I still was infuriated because I hadn’t initially intended for her to use it. Why? Because I read in a book that it wasn’t a good idea. Do you know how hard it is NOT to give your child a pacifier at some point, though? I’m not saying all parents give in, but I know I’m not alone. Hannah continued to use a pacifier until a few months before her second birthday, and then my husband and I decided it was time to get rid of it. The pacifier-weaning process took about a week, but it wasn’t as horrible as we had expected. My point is, giving your children a pacifier is not the worst thing in the world. Just make sure you get rid of it before they start high school.

Another issue involves what to feed your children, especially if you are trying to juggle more than just parenting.

“I swore I would make all of my own pureed baby food and only did it once!” said Sarah Ledgerwood, who is also a college student and mother to 21-month-old Amelia.

Brittany can relate to that food struggle. “I said I would only feed him healthy, well-rounded meals, but he often eats chicken nuggets and French fries (usually just eats the fries).”

Providing food that is as healthy as possible can often be easier said than done, especially when a parent is trying to balance family with school, work, etc. I definitely struggle with this. I try not to give Hannah fast food too often, but every once in a while she’ll have chicken nuggets (I remove the breading, but still…), and she, like Jake, loves fries. Does this make me feel guilty? Yes! But I realize these types of meals are the exception, not the rule, and she generally eats really well.

Perhaps making your own baby food won’t fit into your busy schedule, but making healthy choices for your children as often as possible is a great way to instill good eating habits later.

As Brittany said, “Given the choice between broccoli and French fries, he chooses broccoli.” I’m not sure what this says about me as a parent, but I know for a fact Hannah would choose the fries…

Next week: Too much TV and not enough reading!

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2 Responses to “Breaking the Rules”

  1. Serena October 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    I have been obsessed with reading parenting books and already have a subscription to not one, but 3(!), parenting/pregnancy magazines. There is SO much advice out there and way too many opinions. Congrats to you for doing what’s best for Hannah. Btw, I would have chosen chicken nuggets over broccoli any day! Oh, and kudos, to the mother who purees her baby’s food…I’m in awe!

  2. karenselliott October 6, 2010 at 4:04 am #

    Great job on this JoJo!

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