Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Never say never

NEVER. It's a word that most people say on a regular basis but one that holds different meaning when you use it in reference to your children.

Before I was a mom, I told myself that I was going to be a model parent and my children would of course be little angels and others would look at them longingly and wish their children were more like mine.

I remember before becoming a mom, the sight of a child screaming at the top of his lungs or misbehaving would have me shaking my head and thinking to myself that my child would never dare to act like that and make me look like the worst mother ever. And then I had one of my own little angels who brought me back to reality and made me eat my words.

Never say Never.

Then when my first child was little, I said I will never let her sit and watch television for hours because it turns children's brains to mush and causes all kinds of problems. And then I had the second child and he cried non-stop for the first six months of his life and the only time I got to rest was when the fussy child was napping and the other child was parked in front of the television.

Never say Never.

When my kids were little, I said never would I let them have sugary junk food because I didn't want them to have things that were bad for them. And then they got older and it got harder to find the time to consistently make healthy snacks and I found myself throwing a box of fruit chews or bags of cookies in the cart the whole time rationalizing that a "little bit" wouldn't hurt them.

Never say Never.

As my kids got older, they wanted a game system and I said never because I didn't want them to become zombies sitting in front of it for hours on end. And then I caved because they used their own money and it was much easier than listening to them whine about what a mean mother I was because "everyone else had one".

Never say Never.

Over the years it seems that I would learn never to say "never" but the truth of the matter is that being a parent is hard work. It's unpredictable at best and sometimes those things that seemed so important become less important in the grand scheme of things. These days when I start to say never, I stop myself because all those things I said would never happen did and things have actually turned out okay. I had to break my own “rules” for parenting because I needed to as a means of survival. I understand now that no one is the perfect parent and we all have to learn along the way. Sometimes you just make do in order to get through it. But if you find yourself saying never, stop because you may find that your nevers become reality.