Because I started my family when I was pretty young, many of my thirty-something friends are just now in throws of babies and toddlers and elementary school. Since my oldest is almost 20 and my ‘baby’ is now 11 years old, I had forgot all of the work that comes with little ones. I try to be empathetic to my girlfriends who are balancing diaper bags and daycare drops with work, family obligations, and personal hygiene – but honestly, inside I am secretly rejoicing that I am done with babies, daycare, and diapers.
I see so many new parents trying to do everything right and perfect – and who doesn’t want to do the absolute best for their children? But it’s exhausting to watch. For all my friends who have babies, toddlers, little kids – take heart – there are plenty of things that might keep you up at night about your kids or your parenting style – but at the end of the day it.will.all.be. okay. Promise.
Here are 5 things to take off your worry list:
1. My kids won’t eat any vegetables. I have four children, now ages 19 -11. At any given time one or more of them have subsisted on diets of yogurt and bananas/ eggs and popcorn/ and plain ramen noodles. They all eat their vegetables now. Your kids will too. Eventually.
2. My toddler needs to start playing sports, like, right now. It seems to me that organized sports start at a younger and younger age and are fiercely competitive. My local elementary school travel soccer league is positively cut-throat. Parents are often gossipy and mean to the coaches, which baffles me. Why? We’re talking about 7 and 8-year-olds. I didn’t play sports in school, but I do recognize their value for physical activity, as well as a way to build social skills. However, I didn’t start my daughter in soccer or any sports until the third grade. We did try to enroll her in prep soccer in Kindergarten, but all she did was lay in the outfield (is that even the right terminology?) and pick flowers. Her father and I both decided that we could have more quality family time on Sundays doing other things. Maybe this is why she didn’t go on to the Women’s Olympics Soccer Team? However, she does occasionally join the kickball intramural league at her college.
3. Christmas has to be Pinterest Perfect. It took me almost 20 years of parenting to finally let go of the idea of Perfect Christmas. It’s like Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth – just a myth to entertain people, while driving others mad, trying to prove it’s existence. Just say no to all the Christmas pressure. The excessive gifts, the gingerbread houses, the cookie swaps, the family photo shoot with matching sweaters and a golden retriever. This is the only time I’ll say it – it’s best just to stay away from Pinterest during the holidays. There is no rule that you have to take your newborn and toddler on a wild trek through the woods to cut down your own Christmas tree. This isn’t the Waltons Christmas special and you are not John-Boy. If it’s easier to buy a tree (a fake tree at that) at WalMart – then do it. The holidays are not a time to make your life MORE complicated. Have some hot cocoa and watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and call it good.
PS I am. so. glad. I dodged that a$$hole Elf on the Shelf nonsense.
4. My kids won’t clean their room. I moved on from this when a girl in my daughter’s 8th grade class became pregnant. Suddenly I was worried “Is she drinking/smoking/doing drugs/having sex?” (she wasn’t doing any of those things). The messy room kind of fell off my radar. Forcing a kid who is naturally messy, to keep their personal space neat and tidy just results in giant headaches. My kids all help clean up the common areas of our home. How they keep their personal space is up to them. Just keep the door closed, please.
5. Sports practices are [somewhat] mandatory. Along with fetus soccer, it seems that now it’s a requirement that parents attend all sports practices. It isn’t a written rule- just one of those implied rules made up by the stay-at-home moms or the parents who seriously have nothing better to do with their evenings? Are you f*&^iung kidding me? I can see staying for the first couple of practices, to make sure the kid is doing okay – but for the WHOLE SEASON? If your kid won’t behave or function without you present, maybe he is not ready for organized sports. If you truly enjoy watching your child run laps and doing side kick drills (I had to google that term) then by all means, stick around and enjoy the show. Otherwise, drop them off and go get groceries. Or a manicure.