With motherhood comes great responsibility, as well as great expectations. Everyone, from your next door neighbor to American Academy of Pediatrics has advice to offer, there are mountains of books that direct us how to best raise our children, and plenty of mommy and me classes will gladly help coach us along the way. It is wonderful to have so many avenues of information to help us in this parenting journey, and I’m so thankful for the resources available to me when I was a new mom, because I clung to it like gospel. From feeding and sleeping schedules, to the right products to buy, to innovative ways to help my baby learn verbal communication, I took it all in and followed it to the letter. But I’m a little more relaxed, or rather harried, with three kids now, to have the focus and time to follow all the “right ways” to do things, as I once did. I may forget a thing or two, and I may not always be prepared, but that’s okay. Here are just a few ways that as a mommy, I don’t do things by the book.
1. I hardly ever take a diaper bag with me on errands anymore. During the newborn stage, I quadruple checked to make sure my diaper bag was well stocked and packed in my car before I went anywhere. Now that Hayden is older and doesn’t need a bottle when we’re out, or rarely needs a diaper change or clothes change while running errands, I just make sure I have a pack of wipes and a spare diaper for short trips out of the house. I feel less encumbered and we always seem to manage just fine. While I like knowing my diaper bag is there when I really need it, like trips and all-day outings, more than anything I like just leaving it at home.
2. I am a softie when it comes to consistent messages with my youngest. I’ll admit it, my third child has me wrapped around my finger, and I laugh at his naughtiness more often than I should. I can’t help it sometimes; he is just so adorably cute and has the sweetest disposition, that even when he’s being naughty, it’s done with an oh-so-cute spirit. Plus, he’s my baby, my last child! Aren’t we supposed to be a little softer the third time around? Eventually I know I’ll have to buckle down and get more serious in the “discipline” department, but for now, I’m okay with letting the little cutie get away with a bit more than his brother or sister did.
3. I don’t consistently read to my third child. I read religiously with my first two, at bedtime, nap time and anytime in between, but sadly, we just don’t have a strong disciplined habit of sitting down and reading with him. It’s something my husband and I both know we need to work on, because every expert will agree that reading to infants and babies is very important, but until then, he receives the benefit of hearing his brother and sister both read,and hears us read to them plenty.
4. Sometimes, I let him sleep in his clothes. Yes, some days we are out late, or I may have just changed his clothes right before dinner and he didn’t make a mess, so we leave them on for bedtime. Some may call this lazy, but I call it being efficient resourceful, because that’s one less outfit I have to wash, which saves me time and money.
5. I don’t baby proof the entire house. With each baby we have in fact baby proofed less and less. After a while you start to take note of what your baby and toddler actually get into, and areas they are drawn to, and baby proof those. You also realize that some areas you thought needed proofing, the baby never even takes an interest in, like top drawers that contain simple kitchen tools or hair brushes. Instead of going overboard and proofing everything in the house-like we did with our first child-we focus our energy on the important areas, and forget about the rest.
So do you do any of the things I’ve listed, and do you find yourself feeling guilty about them, or have you learned to just let it go? Me personally, I know that aside from my little “no-nos”, I am doing a pretty good job of providing love, security and enrichment to all three of my children. Just because I do things a little different this time around doesn’t mean I’m doing them wrong; it just means I’m doing them differently.