I assume that as parents, we all sort of look at our lives as split into two distinct time frames – before kids, and after kids. And while I’m not saying I would ever choose one over the other (that’s not true — I’d go with the kids), they are inarguably different. Before I had a son of my own, I spent a lot of time thinking and wondering about what kind of mom I would be. I had a lot of experience with kids, and even worked for a year as a nanny, but I knew none of that translated into being an actual parent.
I assumed a lot of my inherent personality traits would carry over into parenthood – like it or not. My neat freak tendencies, anxiety and worries, tendencies to overschedule and overplan – surely I’d continue to do all of this. What I have found is that parenthood has surprised me in ways I couldn’t have predicted.
My name is Emily, and my car is covered in Cheerios.
Before you have kids, it is easy to assume you won’t be “that mom” and you won’t do “those things.” And while you will probably stick to your guns on some of it, other things will suddenly seem much less important in the bigger picture.
Here are all the different “moms” I didn’t think I’d be, that of course I’ve ultimately become. Let me preface by saying that there is nothing wrong with any of these – like I said, these are all things that I do. But it’s funny to think about how naive I was before, and how different things are now.
The Mom Who Takes Her Son Out For Donuts
Let me start by saying that of course there is nothing wrong with occasionally eating a donut. In fact, I highly recommend it. But after Cullen was born, my husband and I got into a really bad habit of existing mostly off of sugar. We live in an area where we are surrounded by amazing (vegan!) bakeries, and in the early days of newborn-hood, they provided a quick and easy snack and escape from the house with a new baby. Of course, we still ate normal meals too, but many a weekend breakfast or lunch consisted of cinnamon rolls and large coffees.
When Cullen was around 8-9 months - eating solid foods but still not totally understanding the whole "meal" concept - we realized we were going to have to cut this habit quickly. We needed to model healthy eating for him, and honestly - we couldn't expect him to sit there and munch on sliced banana while we downed half a dozen donuts (that actually happened).
So these days we're trying a new approach. We try to eat like Cullen does. Of course I don't mean finger foods and things chopped into tiny bites. But our overarching rule is, "if you wouldn't feed it to Cullen, don't eat it yourself." It's actually pretty effective, and in ways I didn't expect. We eat better because we focus on balanced nutrients, complete meals, and variety of colors on our plates. But it's also made me ease up a bit on my "food rules" for Cullen (if you can call them that - it feels like an overstatement).
While I'd like to be mindful of his sugar intake, and I'm still a dedicated ingredient label reader, I see no problem with taking him out for treats from time to time. It's good for all of us.