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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Well, I NEVER!

It's Monday and you know what that means: Time for #MondayListicles with @NorthWestMommy!

But first, a quick reminder:
Bloggers, are you keeping track of your favourite posts? The Best of the Blogosphere link up returns January 28th through February 4th. I'm keeping track of my favourites in a post so I'll be ready to go on the 28th, and you can too. I'll hope you'll join me in celebrating our fellow bloggers and their hard work!
Now back to this week's Listicle! This week's topic is brought to you by the lovely Greta of Not Enough Patience and Never Enough Jewelry:
"I'll Never...": The Top Ten Things You Said You Would NEVER Do And Have Caught Yourself Doing.
Oh yes. Hindsight. Before actually experiencing a thing - puberty, adulthood, university, first job, and the mother of them all: motherhood - we know it all, don't we? We say things like, "When I'm a mother, I'll never do x." Unh huh. Just you wait future mama! Abolish the word 'never' from your vocab right now (and then prepare to hear it from your child ad nauseum around about the time s/he reaches age four).

One of the first things I did after having Jack was to call my sister and apologize for not recognizing what a colossal undertaking motherhood is.

As a kid, I frequently knew just what kind of mother I would be, as if simply willing it to be was enough.

Well, if I know anything at all now - debatable - it is this: You will be more sure of yourself as a parent before you have kids than after. Parenting is a humbling endeavour. That's a good thing. Most of us, before having kids, could have used a little humbling!

Before becoming a mom, you might have heard me say:

1. I'll never... have a child of my own. From the time I was 17 years old, I thought I would adopt if I ever decided to have children. My feeling was that there were so many children in the world already that needed parents. How idealistic I was back then! Not that my ideas were misguided or wrong, but I was putting the cart before the horse in a way. Once I met my now hubby, I wanted to have his child and no one else's. (Truthfully if resources were unlimited, I would adopt a bunch of kids too.)

2. I'll never.... rock my child to sleep. Okay, I'm not judging, but I didn't want to create a bad habit that I would later have to undo. I planned to help my child learn to get to sleep on his own in his own room in his own bed. What I didn't plan for was his having acid reflux - possibly because he was born a few weeks early - and the pain he would feel after every feed. So, I rocked him to sleep. In fact, he slept overnight in a swing for a couple of months until we got his medication figured out and the pain subsided. Poor little gaffer!

3. I'll never... be one of those parents that drives their kid around wasting time and fossil fuels just to get their child to go to sleep. Soon after becoming a parent I learned an important lesson: You do what you have to do. And everyone needs sleep above all else when there is a new baby in the house. Yes, I drove... and drove... and drove so that my baby could get some rest, while I continued to function in a state of hyper sleep deprivation, all with a smile on my face and an educational song on my lips! I'm still waiting for my medal.

4. I'll never... give my baby a soother. 'Cause, baby's teeth might come in funny, he might also suck his thumb, his language skills could be delayed, maybe he won't take a bottle or refuse to nurse, and those things are dirty, and, and, and.... and the world might suddenly hurl itself into the sun!!! Boy, did I worry before I became a mom, and then for a little while afterwards. Truly, as moms we will always worry some. But if my child would have taken a soother, I would have been all over it in those first few agonizing months. I spent a good hour one day trying to convince him it was the best thing since milk à la boob. No go.

5. I'll never... feed my kid junk. I try hard not to. I may create some kind of pathology within my child, truth be told, by being as strict as I am. But every now and then I have to let go of this. Kids are given treats, there's Hallowe'en, birthday parties... PLUS it's not like I never eat stuff that's not good for me, and we all know how effective the Don't do as I do, do as I say parenting technique is! It's about balance and moderation and I think we're doing okay there.

6. I'll never... bribe my child to do something. Oh, how naive I was to think I could go a lifetime - my son's - without ever bribing him. Bribes, rewards, consequences... all important tools in the parenting toolkit. My parenting expert friends might not agree, but here's my thinking: I'm not perfect, never will be, and if I work so hard that my child ends up being perfect how will I ever relate to him? And besides:

magnet displayed prominently on my fridge

7. I'll never... buy brand name clothes. I'm a bit torn about this one. I have a thing about sporting brand name wear as a statement of status. As cute as kids can be all decked out in the latest fashion, I just don't want to send the wrong message to my kid or to anyone else. I want my kid to shine... not his clothes. I DO buy some brand name clothes though if the company is socially conscious, if the clothes are well made and reasonably priced, and especially if they are on sale. Mama loves a sale!

8. I'll never... use the TV as a babysitter. FAIL. It was two years, in fact, before Jack saw ANY television at all. BUT... eventually I got tired of having to wait until he took a nap or hubby got home just to take a shower. And then when naps were no more, well... TV time is now the only time that my son is quiet! He talks non-stop! Love him dearly, but my brain would explode if it weren't for Treehouse and CBC Kids.

9. I'll never... have a house full of primary coloured plastic toys. Ah, yes. Oblivion. Ignorance. Absolute bliss, isn't it? I actually believed that not only did I want to maintain my relatively mono-chromatic existence but that it would be possible. Well, that rule was broken before the little guy was even born, and now? Despite my attempts to house my son's many colourful toys in baskets and bins, they're everywhere! I've learned to embrace the fact that my house doesn't look like the cover of a magazine. My house looks lived in, and that's pretty comforting.

And finally,

10. I'll never... do that! We humans have a tendency to rate, rank and otherwise compare ourselves. We also come equipped with all sorts of values and beliefs (aka baggage) that direct our judgements of others. Even after becoming a parent, there is still a tendency to judge the actions of another parent against our own expectations of ourselves. I learned to do less of this as I discovered that there's just no way to know ahead of time what decisions will be the right ones for my family. And then I vowed to try never to judge another parent's actions without first understanding the circumstances, especially a parent with kids older than mine!

Great topic, Greta, and a good reminder that uttering the word "never" practically guarantees I will be eating my words one day soon!

Here's to the future and the inestimable ways in which I will be proven wrong... again!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm also linking up today with Just. Be. Enough. because letting go of too high expectations and laughing at our own inflexibility is part of motherhood! 


  1. Aw, thank you! I love your take on the topic!

    First of all, we had the exact same title! Too funny. :)

    I related to this SO much. But my very favorite line: "You will be more sure of yourself as a parent before you have kids than after."

    Very, VERY well said.

  2. Thanks Doreen!

    Greta, no WAY! That IS too funny. :D

  3. What a great list! I think you've pretty much covered everything I never thought I'd do with my kids until I had them. And yes, I don't judge other parents now since becoming one.

  4. That magnet is priceless and so reassuring! What a fun topic this week!

  5. #10 is my favorite. It's so true. It is really funny to look back and think of how we thought before we had kids. I know we really believed it all, with the best of intentions...silly pre-mommyhood.

  6. Great post! Before I had children I used to say, MY child will never act like that. I have had to eat those words so many times.

  7. Interesting how our "I'll never..." statements get left in the dust when real life happens, huh?

    Great post :)

  8. So true! I think I said most of those at one point before having kids.

  9. Spot on my friend!! I had to put the TV on, feed bacon and navigate through the jungle of legos to get a bit of computer time so I can read your listicles :)

  10. Oh -- I have done lots of those. The television...I certainly NEVER thought they would be watching something I didn't know exactly what they were. Made that mistake a few times and ended up with a child having to get in bed with me at night. Never say never is right.

  11. Oh God, the primary coloured stuff around the house. My pain right now.


  12. Ah, yes. All of the above. We certainly hold ourselves to high standards, don't we? And all before we even have the slightest inkling that parenthood means eating our words over and over and over again. Humble pie!

  13. Great list. Love how you ended it.

  14. Ha! More good ones! Check, check and check! Except for one. We did adopt ;-)

  15. I was under the same line of thinking as you when I wrote my list....I sure thought I knew a lot about motherhood before I had kids. It was so much easier then! :) Great list! I remember in the hospital with my first that I didn't want to give him a pacifier because I was terrified that he would have nipple confusion. We gave our daughter the paci in the hospital, and I was so glad we did. Luckily, she had no confusion. :)

  16. You list is so much like mine. Especially the TV, But really a shower is necessary!

  17. Oh the plastic toys...the plastic toys that make noise AND light up AND are designed after some stupid tv character. Lord save me. I swear it was worth moving half-way around the world, just so I could throw out all that crapaloola. Now I just say "hmm... must have gotten lost in the move." End of discussion. Great (familiar) list!

  18. Thanks G! If you're reading this, I am having trouble commenting on Blogger blogs with Intense Debate installed, which includes yours. No idea what's going on, but I can't comment on your list... which I loved!

    Christine, I love that magnet. That magnet has pulled me from many a funk!

    Motherhood Truth, yes, silly describes it pretty well. All part of the learning curve!

    Tiffany, me too!!

    Kimberly, real life is a real eye opener!

    Barbara, there are many things I felt strongly about before I had kids. Now? Meh.

    Stasha, mmmmm. Bacon.

    Jamie - lol - that has happened to me too. Oops. With music too. We'll be in the car bopping along and I'll suddenly think, Hmm. Not entirely appropriate for a four-year-old, these lyrics, but I can't change the channel or I'll have to deal with the screaming!

    Nadia, so glad I am not alone there!

    You said it, Amanda. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say!

    Thanks Paul.

    Harriet, that's so great. I still have a desire to adopt also. Wonder if it will ever go away....

    Recovering Supermom, if I have another I will be giving him or her a bottle and a pacifier IMMEDIATELY. LOL

    Sarcasm Goddess... I'm not sure if this is a compliment... or sarcasm. But I'll take it as a compliment! :)

    Audrey, showers used to just be a way to get clean, now they are little slices of heaven!

    Deborah, I'm glad others feel that way about the plastic toys! Luckily my kid is into donating stuff pretty regularly, so the mountain is diminishing, but oy!

  19. Great post! I can say I do the same to most of these!

  20. There are MANY things I was never going to do too. And I've done pretty much every one!

  21. I love, love, love #10! And that picture:) It's perfect!

  22. Great blog! I love your site... Keep up the good work!

  23. It's so true that so many of the things we THOUGH we'd do just fly out of the window when we do what we have to do as parents :)

  24. How'd I miss you on Monday???
    anyhoo....here now.
    Fantastic list. you hit every nail on the head, and then wrapped it all up beautifully!

  25. I promised to never do many of this things too. I have obviously changed my mind.

  26. I especially liked how you said you called your sister right away to apologize. I await the day my little sister calls me to do that! Mothering is not easy and I love this list, well, because they are all so true and apply to me. This was fun to read!