I've always loved that quote from the Earl of Rochester: "Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories." I didn't have any theories about parenting before I actually became a parent myself; I had rigid, nonnegotiable certainties. Mercifully, I'm a quick study - it took only three children to kick me off my high horse regarding the kind of mother I set out to be. That is, a perfect one. A few of the innumerable ways in which I've (happily) fallen short:
- Sometimes I nod and make noises like I am listening to my kids when I am not. Especially before 9 A.M.
- I gave up on giving daily baths - or getting them - after the second baby was born.
- I don't have a one-bite rule; a peanut butter sandwich is always on the menu; and I could never send a child to bed hungry. Related: Are You a Pushover Parent
- I like to be near my kids when they're playing or doing schoolwork, but I don't really want to join in (unless they need me).
- There are days when I'm the one asking if it's time to watch television yet.
- I forgot to bring my picky-eating fourth grader his lunch today (again), and he had to get a cafeteria tray. He'll at least eat the cookie. As long as it doesn't have nuts, raisins, crunchy bits, or unfamiliar specks. Related: How to Give Advice Your Kids Will Take
- I'm not a "baby" person. I couldn't wait for them to be old enough to have conversations and play board games with me.
- On more than one occasion, I've forgotten to pick up a child on time. My youngest still brings up "that day you forgot about me."
- I readily admit: Playgroup was really for the mommies.
- I am neither organized enough nor solvent enough to pay a regular allowance, but sometimes I resort to bribery. I am fully prepared to negotiate with the terrorists. Related:125 Ways to Be a Better Parent
- At one time or another, I've fallen back on tactics I swore I would never use on my children, including guilt, yelling, and threats to call the North Pole.
- In 12 years of parenting, I've never spanked, but I do remind them it's strictly a "one day at a time" abstinence program.
- Our tooth fairy is notoriously unreliable.
- Sometimes I just vacuum up the LEGOs.
Glad that's off my chest. May I have my breakfast in bed now?Kyran Pittman lives in Little Rock, AR, and she blogs at plantingdandelions.com/blog. She is also the author of, Planting Dandelions: Field Notes from a Semi-Domesticated Life.
What's your mom confession?
More from Good Housekeeping: