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Things I Am Doing Wrong as a Parent, According to My Mother

baby watching ipad
image source: mia carella

“Mother knows best,” right? Or maybe the saying should be “Grandmother knows best.” When it comes to raising kids, it seems grandmothers always know the right way to do things. Just ask my mom. It seems the wisdom gained through my 40 years of life experience is not nearly enough to hold a candle to the wealth of knowledge that is my mother.

According to my mom, here is a short list of things I am doing wrong as a parent:

1. Screen Time

Whenever my children bring up television, my mother cringes. (Yes, my toddler already requests Blues Clues reruns.) Despite the fact that I can vividly remember watching tons of WWF wrestling and playing hours of computer games as a kid, my mother is adamant that screen time is evil. I’m sorry, Mom, but the iPad is an excellent babysitter in a pinch.

2. Outdoor Play

When talking to my mother, it seems the opposite of screen time is outdoor play. And, if you ask her, my kids don’t get enough of it. I do make an effort to get at least one walk or playground visit with them in each day. Unfortunately, I can’t let my kids play outside unattended for hours on end like we did growing up. At least not yet.

3. Any Contraption That Keeps a Baby in One Place

My son is almost 2 years old and is always on the move. Sometimes the pack ‘n play is a lifesaver. Not cool, according to my mother. “Little boys need to run and play,” she likes to say. I’m sorry, but Mommy likes to pee without the house falling down, so sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

4. Co-Sleeping

This is the ultimate parenting fail, according to my mother. “Whatever you do, don’t let them sleep in your bed!” she said. Well, give me a big red “F” on my parent report card, because my 6-year-old daughter has slept with me and my husband since she was 2 years old. With my son recently going through a finicky sleep stage, I was tempted to add another person to our family bed. Don’t worry, Mom, it didn’t happen.

5. Germ Barriers

Although my mom is not against items that keep germs away (aka grocery cart covers, disposable travel placemats, or restaurant high chair protectors)‚ she is definitely not for them. And I quote: “They have an immune system for a reason.” Yes. Yes, they do. Thank you for reminding me. Or this gem: “You know, they are going to be exposed to germs one way or another.” Yes, Mom, I know. *sigh* To be honest, these items are probably more for my own false peace of mind than for actual protection of germs.

6. Nutrition

Don’t get me started on how terrible my kids’ diets are. My mother loves to point out the limited amount of certain food groups in our refrigerator. With young kids who are picky eaters you have to be flexible when creating balanced meals, Mom. Fruit snacks and ketchup can count for our fruit and vegetable servings in an emergency.

Please note that this list is not extensive by any means, but is just a sample of things that I am doing wrong as a parent. I will be able to create multiple addendums to this list as new mistakes are brought to my attention.

So, maybe I don’t plan daily educational nature walks and I worry about germs too much. Maybe I don’t know how long to boil an egg and sometimes I play the DVR on endless loop to entertain my kids. But, that’s OK, Mom. It’s OK because I have you.

There is one thing of which I am certain. No matter how old I get, I will always need my mom. Today and always she is the person that I call when I don’t know what to do. There is just something about your own mom’s advice. Even if I may not always agree, or even follow it, I appreciate it more than she’ll ever know.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for everything.

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