I was the perfect mom before I became a parent. That is one of my favorite parenting sayings because it is so true! Before I became a parent, I would silently judge other parents and tell myself that I would never do this or that with my child. This article is about the things I said I would never do as a parent but am now doing.
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I’m convinced that parenting is part of an overall karmic plan. It’s quite funny to be so adverse to something, like giving your child sweets, then to eventually breakdown and do it.
Parenting is so much harder than I ever expected or gave anyone credit for. It doesn’t get easier over time either. Every stage of childhood offers its own unique set of challenges and difficulties.
My daughter is only 20 months old and I already have a list of the things I said I would never do as a parent but am now doing. So, I hope you enjoy this.
Sleeping with baby in bed
When we brought our little bundle of joy home, she would not sleep unless she was nestled against my chest. She would not sleep in her bassinet alone at all.
After spending a few nights trying to put her to sleep and failing miserably, I decided to lay her next to me in bed. We both fell asleep instantly and slept soundly. After a few weeks of this, I successfully transitioned her to the bassinet and then her crib.
Even though we didn’t co-sleep for very long, this is one of the things I said I would never do as a parent. I was definitely worried about the risks inherent in sleeping with an infant. Although I wouldn’t openly recommend co-sleeping to any new parent, I now understand why some parents do it.
Give my child formula
I can’t believe how adamant I was about not giving my child formula. I didn’t even bother to buy formula prior to my daughter’s birth because I was pro-breastfeeding. Thankfully the hospital sent us home with some sample packs because we definitely used them.
It turned out breastfeeding was really difficult for me. Either I was doing it completely wrong or my body wasn’t producing much milk. In any event, I felt that my daughter wasn’t fully satisfied with breastfeeding, especially since she was hungry every half hour.
After I started giving my daughter formula, she was happy, full, and satisfied. Not dealing with the stress of breastfeeding and pumping around the clock was also a huge relief for me.
Letting baby go to sleep with the bottle
This is one of the biggest things I said I would never do as a parent but did anyway. We all know that letting a child go to sleep with a bottle is not good for many reasons. But that didn’t stop us from giving the bottle to her at night.
Eventually, we would put water in the bottle instead of milk and justified to ourselves that water wouldn’t decay her teeth. Once she transitioned off the bottle, we continued to let our toddler fall asleep with the sippy cup! It was probably more of a comfort for us than it was for her.
Thankfully she doesn’t go to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup anymore but weaning her off was hard.
Screen time is tough. There’s definitely some educational value in certain shows but I don’t really want my daughter to be glued to the television all day. I never intentionally set my daughter in front of a television as an infant but as soon as she became a toddler, all bets were off.
Now that I’m teleworking full-time and my daughter is home quite often, screen time has slowly worked itself into our daily routine. I still try to maintain some semblance of control by only letting her watch certain shows, like Sesame Street.
Electronics at restaurants
Before I had my daughter, I used to wonder why parents would let their children bring Ipads or tablets to restaurants. These little kids would obsessively watch their shows while the parents ate and conversed.
As early as seven or eight months, when my daughter was learning to crawl around and be very active, going out to restaurants became a little chaotic. Like any infant, she would loudly bang silverware and throw food on the floor.
As a toddler, my daughter just wants to run around, so being able to watch Sesame Street on my phone at a restaurant keeps her at the table.
Making separate meals
I remember telling myself that I would never cook a separate meal for my child due to picky eating. Then, enter toddlerhood and the picky eating stage. After a few days where my toddler was refusing to eat and I became worried about her food intake, I was scrambling around to cook her favorite meals for dinner.
Since my husband and I don’t want to eat spaghetti and meatballs or macaroni and cheese every night, I still sometimes make a separate meal for my daughter if I know she will not eat what we’re eating.
Trendy, on point clothing
I used to tell myself that my little baby was going to be super trendy and have all the coolest clothes until I realized how crazy fast they grow and how impossible it is to keep up.
My daughter was eight and a half pounds at birth, so she wore her newborn clothes for one week. One week?! What was the point of getting so many cute clothes?
Since then, she sizes up every few months it seems.
I’ve definitely moved on from trying to be trendy and am more practical with what she wears. I’m grateful for the clothes that anyone gifts her and I’ve become a Target mom, where the prices are pretty reasonable.
One of the things I said I would never do as a parent is buy those crazy Skechers with flashing lights at the bottom. I always thought they looked ridiculous. Well, my most recent purchase was actually the inspiration for this entire article: Skechers with flashing lights.
They also have glitter, Velcro straps, bright and bold colors, and everything that a toddler loves. I remember driving home thinking about the irony of parenting, just from this one purchase.
Lessons learned: things I said I would never do as a parent
There’s no predicting what parenthood will look like for anyone. Yes, we can prepare and decide what type of parent we want to be but there’s nothing like the real thing, which is actual experience with your child.
There are many things I said I would never do as a parent based on my observation of other parents and my own personal beliefs and experiences. As I was writing this list, I realized that there are still some things I haven’t done that I said I wouldn’t do. If we were to have a second child, I probably wouldn’t put so much expectation on myself but it is what it is.
There are many facets of parenting and that’s what makes it so wonderful and fulfilling. I think it’s just fun to reflect on the things I thought before I became a parent versus the reality of parenting.