Life is absurd. And life is precious. Family is a lot of both.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Confessions of a Rule-Breaking Mom

I hate to admit it, because it is such a cliche, but we raised our first baby by the book. Literally. We used My First 300 Babies by Gladys Hendrick, a British nanny who advocates strict schedules and really early bedtimes. It worked well for Baby #1 and greatly eased my "What the heck do I do with this little person?" anxiety as a first-time mom.

But, oh, how far we have come. That every-minute-scheduled Baby #1 is now a freshman in college. I don't think she sleeps much at all these days, but it's not because she wasn't trained right!

Baby #6 is a very happy, extremely flexible little pup and I can vouch that it is absolutely no thanks to any kind of schedule. That baby eats when I have time to feed him and gets a quick bath and short lullaby if he's lucky.

He also gets to play with balloons.

Yes, I know balloons are dangerous for babies. I am not a stupid mother. I am just a much older, much more relaxed because I am much more exhausted mother.

And therein is my confession. If it helps me get more rest, I am all for it. That balloon absolutely exhausted the creeper crawler who chased it all over the living room for a good 25 minutes. He had a doozy of a nap afterward.

Since I'm in the mood to divulge my sins of mommyhood, here's a brief list of other rules I regularly ignore:

1. I do not fold fitted sheets. I know how to do it and I recognize the attractiveness of having a linen closet full of stacked sheet sets nestled in their coordinating pillow cases. But -- here's more -- I don't even have extra sheet sets. I strip the beds, wash everything, then remake it again all on the same day. (In case of nighttime messes, I pull out a sleeping bag or, in horrible cases, make a nest of towels on the floor.)

2. I neglect flu shots. Spare me the statistics. All I know is that every single time my husband received his  mandatory flu shot in the Army, he suffered "flu like symptoms". I'd rather take my chances each year than sign up for eight cases of "flu like symptoms". And, yes, I am aware that the mere act of typing that confession likely dooms me to an outbreak this season. Keep checking back for that blog update.

3. Just last night we fed Picky Eater some pancakes with four little blueberries buried inside. When he ate the plate full and declared it delicious, we divulged the added fruit. Yes, we lie to our children. About food. About television. About whether or not there is money in the bank. The list is endless. But, boy, does it cut down on a lot of arguing. Which means there is more time to rest.

4. I no longer powder the baby's bottom every time I change a diaper. Heck, if it's just a little wet, I don't even waste a wipe. Truth is the powder stopped happening about halfway to potty training Baby #2. Think about how much money and time I've saved.

5. I take 800 mg of ibuprofen at a time. I don't need it every day (yet) but when I need it I need it BIG. Oh happy day when someone has a tooth pulled or some other procedure and comes home with a bottle of prescription strength Motrin! I am aware that too much pain killer is unhealthy. But so is not being able to sleep because your entire left side is one huge knot of sore muscle.

6. The bathtub sometimes goes days without being used. During a terrible drought in 2002 we discovered that little children do not actually require daily bathing. Unless they have done something involving mud, pee, blood or a combination thereof, a bath twice a week is plenty. Okay, so it's once a week in the winter. They don't sweat much when it's cold.

7. I do not believe in perfect attendance. Don't they issue notices about never sending a child who has either vomited or run a fever in the past 24 hours? Doesn't that mean my child won't get an award unless either we fudge the rules or he/she is somehow lucky enough to only be ill on weekends or holidays? Besides, everyone needs mental health holidays now and then. So even if my kid is not physically sick, there is at least one day per year we play hooky just for the fun of it.

Now you probably feel a little smug about your superior parenting. I have no problem with that. I'm going to give the baby a bite of chocolate, blow off vacuuming for one more day, dig out the pizza delivery number, and pop another Motrin.

You're welcome.

1 comment :

  1. Ahh, my kindred spirit. I had to wait till babies 7 and 8 and my Medicare card before I realized what's really important. Good job. Keep up the non-doing! Jody,