Remember when your kids were babies and toddlers and you’d see another child misbehaving at the playground? Or a parent feeding a child a Pop Tart in the car on the way to school? Remember when you’d think to yourself: I will NEVER do that.
Ha. Those were the days.
I learned very early on that I will never say “Never.” (OK, I see the irony that I just said it, but I mean it this time.)
It just isn’t possible. We all do our best to raise happy, normal, healthy, well-adjusted, well-behaved children, but there are days that all hell breaks loose around your house and the manual goes out the window. There are days that Daddy is working late, Mommy has a meeting and Gomer has soccer practice in 15 minutes so it looks like everyone is getting McDonald’s in the car. There are days that my children decide they will push every single button I have. Twice – and always in public.
I will suddenly be THAT mom. The mom that parents of young children look at and say, “Ohh, honey. We will never be like that.”
I want to turn to them and say, “Yes you will. Not every day. But at least once you will find yourself eating crow. We all do.”
When Gomer was a baby I prided myself on the fact that he’d never had a french fry. He never asked for one. He never seemed interested in them. He was happy to eat whatever we gave him. I watched other mothers give their toddlers fries and thought. “Hmm…I’m definitely doing something right. I will never do that.”
All that changed one day when he was 3. We were traveling across western Kansas and if you’ve ever done that, you will know there is nothing but fast food and gas stations. We stopped for lunch and I went to place our order. I left Gomer and his 1 year old sister at a table with my aunt. When I came back they were both munching on french fries. Ack!!
“These are good, mama. Why we don’t get them?” asked my now sullied child, licking salt off his lips.
“Because I knew once you tried one, you’d never eat the apple slices again,” I replied.
“They’ve never had fries?” my aunt asked incredulously.
“Well, they’re only 3 and one,” I replied. “It’s not like they’re 30.”
“Oops,” she said. “I just thought…” She felt pretty bad and I’ve never let her forget. I was a little perturbed that day, but honestly, who was I kidding? How silly of me to think that because I had a preschooler who had never eaten a french fry I must be doing something right. He was 3! Not a huge accomplishment on my part.The writing was on the wall. I’d be lucky if I could have kept them french fry-free for another few years.
Once Gomer started school, french fries were the least of my worries. Now I’ve got a kid asking about his balls and learning the f-bomb. Adolpha’s more concerned about how big her butt is and if she can have Shape Ups.
This is why when I see older kids misbehaving or tired parents giving in to a petulant teenager, I just sigh and say, “Never say never, Jen. Just keep trying your best.”
Be sure to read my daily rants at People I Want to Punch in the Throat where you’re sure to laugh and/or might be offended (it’s where you can find my R-rated rants).
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