Like most major life events, we cultivate a perfect mental picture of parenthood. There you were, in that delightful stage of pregnancy where you were cute, not huge, rubbing your belly lovingly while watching–judging–in horror, taking mental notes of what moms were doing that you would surely never do.
Now you’re a mom of a toddler, and I’m willing to wager that, not only have you done the following, it’s just a short list and you’re not telling all the personal resolutions of motherhood you’ve actually broken.
Here are 8 things that you swore you’d never do as a mom, but that you probably ended up doing.
1. Wearing pajamas in public. I’m going to go easy on you in the beginning, considering this is something you probably did in college anyway. But you thought, “When I’m a mom, I will take the time to make myself beautiful every day. For me. For the world.” You weren’t going to be a regular mom, you were going to be a stylish mom. I broke this resolution day one, when the cute hospital clothes I packed fit and I had to waltz out of there in sweatpants.
2. Cleaning a smooth baby cheek with your own spit. This vow goes all the way back to when you were a kid, and your mom licked her fingers to wipe breakfast off your face before you ran into school. You thought, “I’ll never do that to my kids,” a mental note you revisited when you saw the other moms doing it. “That’s disgusting.” Chalk it up to maternal instincts if you like, but this is actually an involuntary reflex. You’ve probably been doing it for months before your kid gets old enough to complain and you catch yourself.
3. Eating leftovers for lunch on the regular. I loved the Pinterest images of cute, organized, stainless steel lunch boxes, kids eating exotic, well-balanced meals for photos. Record scratch to the real world, and despite my best efforts, sometimes peanut butter and jelly is all I’ve got in the house. Yes, my kids skip the crusts; and yes, I eat them and consider it a sweet delicacy. Here’s a line I haven’t crossed yet: Drinking out of my kids’ water bottles. I’ve seen it happen and thrown up in my mouth a little; but never say never, I suppose.
4. Taste-testing your own breast milk. To be honest, now that I’ve done it, there doesn’t seem to be anything strange about it — it’s pure and natural after all. But the first time I drank my milk, really just to know, I’ll admit: It weirded me out to take something that came out of my body and put it back in my mouth.
5. Letting you kids watch TV. In fact, they have favorite TV shows. Multiple favorite TV shows. I know we all say we’re going to limit screen time, and I fully support the intention behind it. We don’t want kids with mushy brains! And we are afraid it means something about our mothering. But sometimes it’s just time for the closest thing to quiet time you can get. For whatever reason, your kid will attach to TV, talk about it more than anything else, and you’ll sweat it, certain that all those listening to the endless rambling will think you do nothing but plop your kid in front of the television all day, every day. (If you’ve let your child binge-watch Daniel Tiger on Netflix, by the way, I ain’t judging.)
6. Pretending that you have to poop. I’m not ashamed, guys. Sometimes I need to be alone, and the bathroom seems like the best bet. I’ve yelled, “Mommy’s going potty!” through the locked door, when really all I’m doing is checking Instagram.
7. Acquiring an awful lot of pink plastic and/or character paraphernalia. This is possibly related to the TV watching that you’re kids aren’t supposed to be doing, but character toys become a big deal. I’ve heard it’s like a status thing at preschool. The moms be like, “Oh, your kid’s sweater is from Janie and Jack? I prefer the Crew Cuts label;” but the kids are murmuring, “I’ve got Elsa on my lunch box. Who you got?”
8. Bribing. All hail the queen of bribes. I’ve got Dum-Dums in my purse. Maybe you don’t, but I’m betting you’ve got your bribe of choice. You’ve got something tucked away, the the kids sort of know you have, sort of don’t; and at the moment of your choosing, like say, in a small, confined subway car, or seconds before the we-are-leaving-the-playground meltdown, you can whip out said bribe and be the hero with the angel. Congrats.
In fact, congrats on all of it. Maybe you’ve let pregnant you down, but what you’ve really done is passed initiation into moms’ club. We all know what it really takes to be a mom is some quick-thinking, flexibility, and sacrifice. And even though we’ve all given in where we swore we wouldn’t, we’re doing it with a bigger abundance of love than we ever could have anticipated before the kids were here. Now, that’s something worth celebrating.