I hear moms say it all the time: "I swore I'd never do that once I had kids, but...." Yeah, once you're a mom, you change your mind about a lot of things you were sure about. But this becomes even more pronounced the more children you have. I had a pretty good idea what kind of mom I wanted to be and would be before I had kids, and I pretty much was that kind of mom when I only had one. And even two. But it's a whole new ballgame once you have three and four, particularly if you have them close together. Because even the best intentions cannot make you grow an extra set of hands or add hours to the day, and there are never enough of either to be and do all you intend to. So things get skipped, or forgotten, or delegated, or just done differently. For instance,
I Swore I'd Never...
Take my kids in public mismatched, in pajamas, without their hair done, dirty, without shoes, or in ratty dress-ups. But I'm lucky now if one of my children is dressed appropriately, clean, or has their hair done when we go out as a family, and rarely is the same child doing all of the above. I figure my kids are adorable even looking like little orphans, hopefully people will still see their sparkling personality. And if not, who really cares about their judgement anyway?
Cedar City Christmas Parade, 2009 (Katie hadn't had her hair brushed in a day or two...)
Cosleep. And for the record, I still do not do it intentionally. But it happens almost nightly that I fall asleep while nursing and wake up hours later with Lily nuzzling me for another early morning snack. I no longer judge the mother that chooses just to go with what is inevitable anyway.
Me and Katie, 2006 (apparently I fell asleep nursing then, too)
Neglect my children's nutrition. But, let's face it, cold cereal is way faster and easier than eggs and whole-wheat waffles with yogurt and fruit, and my kids will eat it without complaint. And does it really matter if they have pizza for breakfast or string cheese and an apple for lunch? I do remember to give them vitamins about once a week...
Isaiah and Katie, Valentine's 2010 (I just made them eat those lollipops)
Ignore safety recommendations. I hear rumors the AAP is recommending babies stay in back-facing carseats until age 2, but I refuse to look it up or find out for sure because I get excited for when my babies hit their first birthday and 20 pounds and can turn around. And dropside cribs have all been recalled, but I haven't thrown out the crib that all my babies slept in (I did turn the dropside against the wall, and took off the bumper, despite the fact that my first three all have gotten limbs caught in the bars). And, shh, I don't buckle Lily every time I put her in the swing.
Lily (unbuckled, despite Max running around "helping") in the bouncer, December 2010
Leave the beds unmade. I almost never make a bed, my own or anyone else's. It's just not a priority anymore. It is really sad to me when I look in our bedrooms, but not enough to give up something else to get it done.
Katie's room, June 2009 (I was hard-pressed to find any pics of our beds, I'm pretty good at making sure they aren't in the frame)
Let my children play before they work. After school is prime playtime in our neighborhood, and if I didn't let them play while they have the chance, there would be a revolution. We still (mostly) get the homework done. And I still make an effort to teach my kids responsibility through chores around the house, but not at the expense of what I now see as essential play.
Isaiah, Max, and Katie throwing a birthday party for Giraffe (in their pajamas, no less!), November 2010
What about you? How have you changed as a mom over time? What things do you do that you never thought you would?