As the thought of having a child became more of a reality, I started paying closer attention to the families I saw around me – restaurants, grocery stores, my own friends. Then the mental lists began.
When I have a kid, there’s no way I will let my child [insert judgmental preconceived notion here]!
Boy was it a long list.
Then I got pregnant and my Type-A need to plan and micromanage kicked into overdrive. Attachment parenting vs. free-range parenting. Sleep training vs. bed sharing. Purees vs. baby led weaning. Who knew there were so many things to plan?!
1. My kid will never eat fast food. That stuff is poison!
Growing up, my family did not eat a lot of fast food. I had the luxury of having a stay-at-home mom who cooked delicious, fresh food for every meal. Most of which I said was “gross” and refused to eat, longing for the McDonalds that my friends got to eat. As an adult, I understand the value of whole foods, so it was decided – no fast food for my little one! And then came Chick-fil-A. Wait, you mean I can get her to eat something AND entertain her in a play place for an hour? Sign me up! My daughter is a testament to the fact that a child can develop on a normal curve when sustaining herself on a steady diet of nuggets (protein!), waffle fries (veggies!), and soft serve ice cream (Vitamin D!). Joke is on you, judgmental past me.
2. My kid will never drink sugary drinks. That stuff is poison!
We held off for a while. But once a kid has their first sip of a juice box, it’s over. I got lucky. My daughter really does like drinking water. But it is just that – luck. Really, it comes down to her unwillingness to fight with me over what she drinks, saving her energy for the constant battle for nuggets. Just the other day she said “So-and-so’s mommy and daddy let him drink soda.” I froze and braced for a throw down. She moved on. I sighed. The great soda hold-out will live to see another day.
3. No screen time until she goes to college. That stuff is poison!
Have you ever embarked on a 12-hour road trip with a 3-year-old passenger without an iPad? Yeah, neither have I. Other scenarios I never considered when making this pre-kid decision: Having a sick kid at home while having to be on a conference call. Needing to bathe when the husband is out of town. Any of the really important life lessons that Daniel Tiger is better suited to teach. Seriously, that tiger family knows what they’re doing.
You know what you can’t plan? Parenting.
Because just when you think you have it figured out, everything changes. You make compromises. What works for one blogger/author/parenting expert, may not work for your kid. But man, did I think I had it all right. If there’s one thing I have learned four years into this parenting journey, it is that the best-laid plans end up at the playground at Chick-fil-A.