When you get pregnant, you immediately start thinking and planning. If you’re anything like me, you probably already have a whole bunch of ideas on how you will raise your new bundle of joy. You think you know exactly what you will, and will never do. Well, you might just end up changing your mind.
Here’s an example of 8 parenting promises I broke—the things I swore I wouldn’t do!
8 Stop Googling Stuff
When I was trying to get pregnant, I was on the Internet constantly. During my pregnancy, Google was my best friend for any weird symptoms or questions that popped into my baby brain. But every time I would search for an answer to one of my pregnancy concerns (uterine fibroid, premature labor,) I was always kind of bummed by the way people would respond to similar questions on pregnancy message boards.
Sometimes, people offering answers to those questions could be downright mean. And sometimes, all the answers did was make me worry even more. At my next visit, my doctor would assure me there was nothing to be concerned about. Somewhere in the third trimester, I vowed to stop Googling stuff for the remainder of my pregnancy.
But then I had the baby. I swore that I wouldn’t turn to the Internet for answers to all of my new parent questions, but my husband and I were totally unprepared for our baby’s first growth spurt. We also didn’t have a clue about “the witching hour”—nobody mentioned it before we had the baby. Afterward, people were quick to tell us, “Oh yeah, it’s really a thing.” And now that our son is crawling around and teething, you better believe I’m still constantly on the lookout for babyproofing ideas and teething remedies.
The problem with the Internet is there is contradictory advice everywhere. While Googling “baby cold symptoms,” one site suggested letting the baby sleep in the car seat if he was sick because propping him up would help the baby breathe. According to another website, and also the American Academy of Pediatrics, this is a big no-no. So definitely, use common sense, and consult with your doctor before trying some of the tips you come across online.
7 Quit Buying Clothes
We were fortunate when our son was born to have received a lot of hand-me-downs from a friend. Plus, everyone warned us not to buy a whole lot of newborn size clothes because the baby would grow out of them so quickly. (In our son’s case, there were so many clothes he never even wore.) And we also figured that a lot of people would give baby clothes as gifts. We were right. So my husband and I have said numerous times that we don’t need to buy any more clothes for the baby.
But there have constantly been times when we’ve been out and about (or browsing online, my downfall) and we just couldn’t resist picking up some new article of clothing for the baby. Sometimes, they’re just too hard to pass up when they’re on clearance. (I wish I could buy new shirts or pants for myself with only $2.) Other times, an outfit has just been too cute to pass up. Our son’s dresser is overflowing.
The good news is, with all of the onesies, sleepers, and outfits that we received and bought, we have lots of leftover clothes to pass down to my new nephew or to use for crafts. I’m planning on turning some leftover clothes into a big quilt.
6 Bath Time, Every Night
When I was pregnant, I envisioned giving our son a nice, relaxing bath every night as part of his bedtime routine. Then I learned that it takes some work to get the baby ready for his bath. First, we steam up the bathroom to warm it up a little. Then we gather our baby wash and washcloths and towels. Then, it’s bath time and time to get ready for bed.
But now that our son is more mobile, he loves splashing and bouncing and going crazy in the tub. And since he can crawl now, he’s all over the place when it’s time to put his pajamas on. I usually end up working myself into a sweat trying to get him diapered and dressed after his bath—not quite the relaxing bedtime routine I’d envisioned.
So, our son gets a bath every other night (unless he’s totally sweaty or stinky or has a diaper leak or something.) It’s a lot easier on our schedule to do it that way so we can still make and eat dinner, clean up, and enjoy the evening; and, so we don’t have to chase after a half-naked baby every night.
5 “Drowsy but Awake”
I think just about every parenting book or website that I’ve looked at has suggested putting your baby down for naps or at bedtime in a “drowsy but still awake” state. When I was still pregnant and boning up on my sleep training tips in advance, I swore up and down that our baby would immediately learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on his own. Ha!
Nope, our kid likes to be held and sometimes even rocked to sleep. So that’s what we do. He likes it. Yes, it might be considered a sleep prop or sleep crutch, but it’s the fastest way to get him to sleep. After snoozing for a few minutes in my arms, he goes in his crib, and he’s fine.
Sure, at some point, he really will need to learn to go to sleep on his own, but in the meantime, he’s just a little baby. He likes the snuggle time, and so do I.
4 No Electronic Toys
I was convinced I wanted our son to have some old-school toys. Books, blocks, rattles, stuffed animals, stacking toys, puzzles—I didn’t want him to have a whole lot of loud, blinky electronic toys.
With the exception of his bouncer (which he loves,) my husband and I have pretty much stuck to our guns with this one. We haven’t bought him anything else. But how do you tell two sets of first-time grandparents what they can and can’t buy for their grandson?
He now has quite the stash of loud, flashy, blinking toys. He has a sock monkey that plays peek-a-boo, and a puppy that talks and sings. He has numerous other toys that play music and make animal sounds. He likes them, but I kind of make sure he enjoys them a little bit at a time, so he’s not totally overwhelmed by all of the lights and sounds.
3 Limiting Baby’s Screen Time
To piggyback on my desire to limit electronic toys, my husband and I both agreed that we would limit screen time as long as possible for our son. We don’t want him to grow up to be the type of kid who sits at the dining room table playing games or texting on his phone and completely ignoring us.
Then two things happened. First, he discovered Jeopardy. It was the weirdest thing. We’d managed to keep him from spending any time looking at the TV for several months, and then all of a sudden, he heard the Jeopardy theme song, saw the blue screen with the white text, and was hooked. We thought it was hilarious. He doesn’t sit transfixed for the entire show, but his head will definitely snap up when he hears the music announcing a daily double.
And now he’s at the age where lying still for a diaper change seems to be impossible. For whatever reason, he hates to be on his back and will try to roll over before the old diaper is even taken off. Sometimes he’ll cry, sometimes he’ll manage to scoot away with his bare butt in the air. The one thing that helps is handing over my phone and letting him watch the ABC song on a baby app that I downloaded for free. If I’ve learned anything as a parent, you learn to pick your battles.
2 Limiting My Screen Time
I’m really bad about my cell phone. I try my best to keep it out of sight during the day so that I’m not Twittering or texting when I’m supposed to be spending time with my son. But the one thing that I can’t help is taking pictures of my son.
I’ve cleared out hundreds of pictures from my phone that are just variations of my baby sleeping. Why? Why do I need a bazillion pictures of him asleep? Because he’s cute, that’s why. I’ve had to empty my phone a couple times a month because I take so many pictures of him out and about. And yes, I actually do still upload them and get prints and photo books made.
I’ve even gone so far as to challenge myself to not take any pictures of my son for one day. So far, I haven’t succeeded. I take pictures and send them to my husband at work so he’s not missing out. I upload pictures to our Lifecake app so his grandparents can see what he’s up to. I have gotten better about putting the phone down and just soaking up some of the best moments—the times that he’s asleep in my arms or keeping himself busy with toys on his mat. But I still sneak a picture or two every day.
1 Making a Big Deal About the st Birthday
I guess I never really considered what the big deal was with the first birthday; that is until someone in a local Facebook mom group asked for advice on where to hold her daughter’s first birthday party. “Uh, at your house? In your backyard?” I thought. Curious as to what other people had done for their baby’s first birthdays, I checked the responses. I was shocked to read that some parents had catered events. Others rented private rooms at restaurants or at hotels. Someone said they had a full bar and a sit-down dinner. I wasn’t sure if I was reading about a baby’s first birthday or a wedding reception.
I couldn’t believe how over the top some people’s birthday party plans seemed to be, but to each their own, right? My husband and I laughed about it and agreed that we would just have a bunch of friends and family over and party in the backyard. The baby wouldn’t have any understanding of a “theme,” so why even bother with a theme?
The party is over Memorial Day weekend, so we’re having a picnic in the backyard, and going with red, white, and blue decorations, plates, and cups. Since we’re probably going to have a lot of people, we’re thinking about buying food from a local BBQ restaurant, so we can enjoy ourselves, and so we don’t have to cook while we’re supposed to be celebrating.
Indeed, we have a lot to celebrate. We kept our baby alive for a whole year! My husband and I survived our first year of parenthood! We did it! We have an awesome baby and a happy, healthy, little family. So we’re going to celebrate and make a big deal out of the first birthday after all. So much for promises.