10 Parenting Ideals That Got Thrown Out the Window This YearLauren Hartmann
What is it about pregnancy that makes you want to run your mouth to everyone that will listen about all of your parenting ideals? “We’re planning to cloth diaper our little bundle!”…or “We fully intend on only feeding Junior organic, homemade baby food. Nothing but the best for our little one.”….or “I can’t believe people buy those ugly, plastic toys for their kids! My kid is never going to have stuff like that”
I’m not sure what it is, but I definitely did it. I don’t think I was on the extreme end of the annoying pregnant person spectrum, but I was definitely on it. Montessori floor beds, sleep training, co-sleeping, nursing, weaning, etc… I would talk your ear off about all of it and share my ideals with anyone who was dumb enough to inquire. I was going to be the best parent ever and do everything “by the book” (you know…the crazy book I made up in my mind?).
And then I became a parent for real and only the strong ideals stuck around. I realized just how hard this parenting business was and that I wasn’t going to have time for all the extra-cirriculars. Heck, just keeping a baby alive is a pretty big accomplishment when you’re in the thick of it, right?
Here are some of my weaker parenting ideals that went the way of the dodo…
#1: Cloth Diapering 1 of 10This was one of the first things to get thrown out the window. I had planned on using cloth, but then once I had difficulties with breastfeeding and it became a 16-hour a day undertaking (between nursing, pumping, supplementing, etc..) I was overwhelmed and exhausted. It was either breastfeeding or cloth diapering and one of them had to give. See ya later cloth diapers. Hello disposables.
#2: Having a social life 2 of 10OK, so this isn't totally true. I still have a social life, but it's different. I swore I would still go to the same restaurants and still do all of the same things, but it's just not practical. Lots of restaurants aren't very baby-friendly (i.e. no high chairs and/or hipsters who glare at you for even bringing a baby inside the building despite the fact that she's being well-behaved) and sometimes it's just easier to have a play date at home where the toys and distractions are plentiful and the adult conversation can flow in between baby cries.
#3: Homemade Baby Food 3 of 10I bought a whole set up for making my own baby food, but it lasted all of one month before I was supplementing jarred food and pouches. It was just too time consuming and as a work-from-home mom, I found that I just couldn't do it all. So I let this ideal go. I still make a puree here and there, but most food is pre-made and I'm OK with that now.
#4: The Floor Bed 4 of 10While we haven't completely abandoned the idea of the Montessori floor bed, it's kind of hit or miss now and honestly, Fern sleeps a lot better in her Pack N Play. Everyone gave me a bad time about the floor bed idea and I still plan to keep trying it, but I'm not going to stress out if it doesn't work. I'll definitely still be doing the same thing when Baby #2 comes along one day.
#5: Daily Structured Activities 5 of 10I envisioned having focused play times and various learning areas set up around my house, but honestly I don't often have the time. Most days in between making her meals and nursing and working around her sleep schedule it feels like there's time for little else. And on the occasions that I've attempted more structured activities, she just turned up her nose and crawled off for her old, familiar, light-up, plastic toys for entertainment.
#6: Sleep Training 6 of 10I swore I was going to have a baby who slept through the night and we'd let her cry it out and I was going to be well-rested and blah, blah, blah. That definitely didn't happen. I couldn't handle letting her cry and now at just over a year old she is still waking up 1-2 times and I'm OK with it.
#7: No Pink 7 of 10While I've stuck by my "no pink" rule fairly closely, I've lightened up a little bit. She's a girl and some things are going to be pink and it's not the end of the world. I'm sure it'll probably end up being her favorite color one day anyway since I tried so hard to avoid it!
#8: No Plastic 8 of 10During my pregnancy I swore up and down that my house would be filled with nothing but pretty and educational wood toys. After becoming a parent? My house hasn't quite been overrun by the plastic stuff, but Fern definitely has her fair share of plastic light-up distraction toys and I appreciate them despite their ugliness, because they keep her happy and entertained...what more could I ask for?
#9: Getting Done Up Daily 9 of 10Right after I had Fern, determined not to allow myself to fall into a frumpy mom look, I got dressed up and did my hair and makeup daily. These days my hair is often up in a bun and makeup rarely happens. I do however make it a point to put on real clothes every day - even if they aren't fancy, I've managed to put on at least some leggings and a basic t-shirt every day.
#10: Elimination Communication 10 of 10Hahahaha! This one just makes me laugh. I read up on elimination communication before I had Fern and was intrigued and definitely wanted to try it in conjunction with cloth diapering (hahaha!). All I can do is laugh now. I can't even begin to imagine how I'd find the time to do this.
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.
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