Monday, June 18, 2012

I said I would never...

The only way to learn some things is by doing. In my corporate life I think it’s called experiential learning (learning on the job as opposed to going through training, reading about it, etc.) I’ve recently come to the conclusion that 99 percent of learning how to be a parent comes from experiential learning. So it’s no surprise that I have A LOT to learn. But I’ve also made some progress in the last year and a half. Evidence of that can perhaps best be seen by looking back at some of the things I said I would NEVER do as a parent…things in which I’ve done an about face on when faced with reality. For example, before I was a parent I said I would never…

…Use the TV as a babysitter. Yet I’m pretty sure on a recent rainy weekend my son watched no fewer than 3 episodes of Sesame Street…and part of the movie Cars…and probably some HGTV.

…Take a small child on an airplane. But then my entire husband’s side of the family was a plane ride away, and I wanted my son to know daddy’s side of the family. So we’re getting ready to plan our third trip to New York with a baby/toddler in tow.

And, as previously quoted on this very blog, I said I would never…

…Take my child to the crazy, loud, germ infested indoor play area at the mall. But on a rainy weekend when breakfast was done by 8 a.m. and naptime wasn’t until 1:30, I caved. And I’ve caved again since then. And my son loved it. And I was just thankful for something to do with him!
So, I’ve learned to be careful about saying, “I’ll never…” I already stand corrected on at least 100 child rearing topics, not the least of which was breastfeeding, daycare, sleep training, and the list goes on and on.

Yes, I still have a lot to learn. And I’m finally ok with that.


  1. I totally understand. The simple fact that you are thinking about these things is a big plus in your column. As someone who was an at-home parent for 15 years, I know of what I speak. Oldest just graduated and I am still learning.

    The biggest thing to learn, I believe, that will make your life better is to learn not to feel guilty about the way you decide to parent. Who cares if someone else thinks you are doing it wrong? Only you and Phil know your child in the daily and never ending way that you do, so you get to make the call on a never ending list of choices each day. Do it your way and accept it.

    BTW, the play place at the mall is nothing compared to the condition of most play structures at McDonalds. Be warned.

    1. Tim - I have been warned about the McDonalds play place and I hear that is a whole different level of "ewww"

      I remember you posting a comment on this blog before I had Connor saying "where there is love, children thrive"...I think you still hold the top spot for giving me the best parenting advice with that statement. I think of that often when guilt creeps in or I feel like I'm not doing things "right" Thank you for that!!

    2. It makes me feel such joy that I have added something to your life from my experience. So many parents feel such guilt about their lives because of one thing or another and it takes away some of the joy of parenting. I can tell, by knowing you and Phil a little bit, and from what you write that Connor is a blessed child. He is going to do very well in your home, no matter what sort of style you follow.

  2. Amen to the "I would never..." thought before children! Before kids John and I said we would never have a family bed. Annalise slept with us on the 1st night...and maybe the 3rd night too! :)