1. "Enjoy Every Moment!"
“Please feel free to ignore the following parenting rule: Enjoy every moment! It goes so by quickly. Because I can almost GUARANTEE you that there will be days with your children you do not enjoy.
All-family stomach virus day? Not enjoyable. My kids coated the brand new couch we saved for over a year for in Sharpie day? I give you permission to go ahead and despise this day. My child learns to scream the word "NO" at top volume? Go ahead and take a week off from enjoying parenthood when this happens.
If you take the pressure off yourself to delight in every single instant of your childrens' existences you'll be a better parent and a saner human. And there will be plenty of moments to enjoy, don't worry. Just not 'My kids have learned how to open the refrigerator and have now hidden broken eggs all over the house' day. That day's gonna be really, really bad. Be warned. om” –Margaret of Short Fat Dictator
2. "Don’t Let Your Children Watch TV"
"The most ludicrous and unrealistic parenting rule I ever heard is: "Don't let your children watch TV. It's bad for them." Who made up that rule? Cavemen? (More likely, cavemen without children). If I didn't have the luxury of plopping my kids in front of the TV when they were little, I would have been unable to prepare innumerable meals, pay the family's bills, or commit to any sort of physical hygiene. In other words, without TV, my kids would have starved, been homeless, and had a mother who stunk.
What's so bad about TV anyway? It's a sure fire way to soothe our precious savage beasts when they are fighting or crying or having some other type of emotional breakdown. There is something about the bright colors flashing across the screen that tames our sweet angels and causes them to stop destroying everything in their paths. TV helps them to sit in one spot for more than a few seconds at a time. TV helps return the home to a peaceful place where parents and children alike are smiling in silence.
3. "Safety First!"
"Safety comes second.
Say what? Exactly. We are told when we are children to remember "safety first" over and over, but there are so many times this rule restricts growth, fun and learning. There are times to be impulsive and there are times to test boundaries. Plus, children learn to trust us if we warn them of the danger in what they're doing but allow them to do it anyway, and then find out we were right. We would never lick the brownie batter spatulas with our kids if we put safety first. We wouldn't let them play with slingshots. We wouldn't let them take apart our vacuum cleaners (kudos to my in-laws for allowing my computer scientist husband to do this as a 5-year-old trying to build a hovercraft.) As parents, we need to weigh what we're trying to protect our children from in our minds against the life lesson they will get if they find out the harder (and more fun) way." -Christine Virgin of I Can't Even Pee in Peace
4. “Not On a School Night”
"Not on a school night."
My kids need structure more than most. Heck, I need structure more than most. When I tell my kids "Homework! Dinner! Bath! Bed!" it's as much for me (exhausted me, who NEEDS THE DAY TO END) as it is for them.
But sometimes, when when your kids beg to go to a park across the county to have a picnic dinner by the water and it's Monday at rush hour on a school night, the right answer is yes.
5. “Everything my kids do or create is a brilliant masterpiece of wonderfulness.”
“That everything my kids do or create is a brilliant masterpiece of wonderfulness.
I know what my kids are capable of, so I refuse to stand in rousing applause each time they press crayon to paper or run across the soccer field in the wrong direction.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not going all Crouching Tiger, Hidden Piano Mom on my kids. I'm supportive and encouraging and appreciative. I've never tossed a violin at anyone. I pinky swear.
But when they can do better? I know it. They know it. So I tell them to do better.
Earlier this year, my kids were making birthday cards for their uncle. They basically scribbled a smiley face and handed them to me. I took one look and said "Uhhh no. Try again, people". They typically spend hours a day making colorful ornate cards and posters for their stuffed animals, for goodness sake. Step it up a notch for a real Human Being, please.
I see no problem with building confidence in kids by telling them they did a good job at trying something new, even if they didn't do a superb job. Heck, they tried! That's awesome!
But when they are, in fact, good at doing something and just dialed it in? Or know how to write their name but only tack on a last initial out of laziness? Or simply don't want to clean their mess up and act like they don't know where the toy box is?
Gimme a break.
I'm happy to hug and support them, and my kids know I believe in them and are here to kiss boo-boos.
But they also need to know that They Can Do It On Their Own. They Can Do Better. I have faith in their abilities, and don't want them thinking that there's never room for improvement. These parents who think it is terrible to keep score at soccer games, or who argue with the Art teacher that their kid's splotches of paint are deserving of a college scholarship, or insist that their child is a genius at something when everyone else who hears/sees/smells the result is wondering "Does she see what WE see??" aren't letting their kids shine for the world, only for them. And that seems limiting, to me.
I'm not perfect, and don't expect them to be. I don't expect them to be The Greatest At Everything They Do. But we can all be a little better.
I know my kids are awesome. I just want them to prove it to themselves.
What parenting "rule" do you think moms should break?