As Mother’s Day rounds the corner, I ponder this question and try to be honest and introspective about some underlying truths prior to being celebrated on Sunday.
I wonder if some of my “parenting shortcuts” are going to prevent my five children from becoming successful contributing members of society one day…
For example, when I need my 2 toddlers to do something ASAP, I immediately resort to bribing or blackmailing,
“Do you love your new monster truck?” I ask in a friendly way.
“Great, then brush teeth right now or I will take it away.”
Am I mean or what?
My “terrible” two year-old is still hooked on the bottle. She is the last of five so by now, I AM SUPER RELAXED.
I know she’ll be “off the junk” before entering preschool and it does make my life a little easier when she whines constantly…
My husband, who is apparently just as laissez-faire suggested I buy her a pacifier to placate her apparent continued desire to comfort herself via sucking- assuming that she may not need so many bottles a day once this new friend were introduced.
I did it and now she sucks the pacifier between bottles.
Does this make me a bad mother?
Will her teeth end up rotten and broken resembling that of a British peddler when she gets older?
Another “parenting shortcut” I indulge in is practicing the philosophy of non-interventionism.
For example, at home my kids play a little “rough” when re-enacting scenarios from the Animal Planet. Some are the hunters, the others are the prey.
Unless someone gets hurt, I allow it. I tell them not to cry out for help unless someone is bleeding.
(FYI nervous parents and DCF employees reading my article: I hide all the knives, sticks, tool box, pens, pencils, staplers, scissors and anything else that they could use to strike one another prior to show time.)
My 9 and 6 year-old girls both nagged me for a cell phone. I was going insane and deaf in the other ear (I am already deaf in one) from the relentless pressure so I succumbed.
The phones don’t work; they are discontinued models and lack memory sticks and chips. The girls don’t seem to care.
They simply use their “cell phones” all day long simulating conversations with their favorite girlfriends and Selena Gomez. They take pictures of their friends, record their own voices, and listen to ring tones. They are appeased.
Not too shabby for a shortcut? I figured I saved myself at least $400 not having to buy fancy DSIs, games and all the other hot new techy gadgets out there. I’ll let you in on another secret…
By Kid Number 3 I realized that the entire multi-billion dollar industry developed around feeding (by way of fooling) picky eaters is a scam. All the fancy Jessica Seinfeld cookbooks, veggie-disguising recipes, silly utensils and elephant-shaped plates are a waste of money. In fact, Jessica and all her faux-famous cronies are laughing all the way to the bank.
Nothing will work if a stubborn child doesn’t want his veggies. No matter how miniscule it’s representation in a particular dish, albeit mac and cheese- they will detect it and reject it. My experiences have proven this theory time and time again.
Therefore this “parenting shortcut” is that I have given up the struggle. I see that when my fussy eaters are really hungry, they will eat. Period. End of story.
Am I a bad mother because in order to write this article, I am intermittently feeding the kids, preparing bottles, changing diapers on the fly, wiping runny noses and changing the DVDS as the kids bore of one after another?
I am sincerely doing the best I can while maintaining some sense of sanity, but I don’t know.
Do you think I deserve to be recognized on Mother’s Day as a good mommy or a bad one?
Do you have any hidden “parenting shortcuts” or truths you want to confess before Sunday?
Darah Zeledon, a native South Floridian, is (sort of) new on the scene here in Miami after living 10 years in South America with her large brood. As she struggles to make sense of all the chaos inherent in raising 5 little kids with no help while running a small business, her writings are her only “virtual” escape. Her musings can be read on www.positiveinchaos.blogspot.com and www.thechaosminiseries.blogspot.com