Every Mom has this list. The list of things that makes you cringe whenever you think about it . The list of things that leaves you exasperated. You can’t help but internally roll your eyes or click your tongue in annoyance.
The dirty deeds are the “list” of things that throws you into a dilemma every time someone over steps their boundaries and steps on your toes or questions your authority as M.O.M. It leaves you asking yourself *Do I correct them, or do I just let it go?* I probably have a worse case of “defensiv-itis” than most Moms. I have always been a prideful person and have taken care of myself from a fairly young age. So when I became a Mom I took my role seriously, and I expected people to take my authority seriously too. Little did I know that was SO not the case. After finally snapping and talking to a few other of my Mom friends I quickly found out I was not alone. Not by a long shot. Everyone wants to be taken seriously as a parent, and it’s always a little annoying when someone questions your rules for nap time and allowable food.
I was reminded of this list this morning when I got Buddy up for the morning. He was soaked in pee and his sheets smelled disgusting. This had just happened a few days ago and I was baffled. What the heck was making him pee uncontrollably all of a sudden. When I took his bed apart I found my answer. One of our bigger sippy cups was buried under the piles of blankets. *You’ve GOT to be kidding me!! Where did this come from?!* I thought back trying to remember the last time I saw that sippy cup. Then I remembered and groaned. It wasn’t an easy fix situation. Our neighbor watched Buddy for me the other day when I had to make a last-minute trip down to Children’s Hospital with the girls. I gave her that sippy cup that day. She must have given him the sippy cup when she put him down for a nap. For the record, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I don’t give him anything to drink before bedtime or naps for the exact reason above. Now I’m stuck with the dilemma of “Do I, or don’t I?”. If it was Husband I could just scold him and be done with it. When it’s a third party though, things get harder when it comes to confrontation. I decide to let it go. She didn’t know. I’m still pretty annoyed because it’s being added to a list of not-so-awesome-habits. A few times I came home to a story about how, “Buddy just LOVES cookies. He must have eaten 10 or 12 cookies after the pancakes I made him for Lunch. He kept asking for more and more syrup too, he sure loves syrup! Then I gave him some candies as a snack about an hour later and boy oh boy did he love that! Your son sure loves to eat!” I’m clutching my chest fighting off the heart attack. *NO KIDDING he loves to eat! You may as well have given him pure sugar and butter! I’d love eating at your house too!* Still though, I decide to drop it. I reminded myself that all things considered it’s not that bad. She has come through for us on many occasions and helped us out when we needed a babysitter or a helping hand and she’s an absolutely wonderful person… who unfortunately has no second thoughts about giving my son sugar by the gallons.
Here is a list of things that ranges from moderately annoying to pulling-out-my-hair-worthy. Things that we hate, but never speak up about because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Not all of these are on my personal list, but I know enough Moms who are driven nuts by these so I thought I’d add them. 🙂
TV – It didn’t used to be a big deal. As kids we had Sesame Street, Loony Tunes and Care Bears and life was good. Recently though, TV+kids isn’t a very smiled upon scenario. A lot of professionals say TV gives no benefit to your child until an older age. There’s too much sex and violence and it makes your kids sedentary and everyone knows (I hope…) that obesity is a huge problem lately. Parents try their best to follow a no-tv agenda and keep their kids active. The problem lies in babysitters. You drop your kids off with instructions NOT to let them watch tv. Then later you pick them up, and enjoy a car ride home filled with stories about Dora, Sid the Science Kid and Dinosaur Train. *Umm… really? You didn’t think they’d tell me about it?*
Washing hands – Some people are offended when asked to wash their hands. Tough nuts buddy. We’re not saying you’re a filthy animal, We’re saying we don’t know where those hands have been. While you may think it’s no big deal, you may not realize you’ve been around sick people and our kid doesn’t have as strong of an immune system as you. So if you insist on not washing your hands when we ask you, then tomorrow when our child is vomiting all over themselves and everything they touch, We’re calling you for cleanup duty.
Food/snacks – My personal #1-do-not-question item. What goes into our kid’s bodies is very important. They’re growing and developing so fast at this stage, and it’s incredibly important to keep them on a healthy balanced diet to make sure they get the best start they can. So if we say don’t give them cookies don’t make us feel bad. If we tell you not to feed our kid after 6 PM just do it please. There’s a reason we ask these things. Because the second our kid gets a taste of sugar they’re begging us for more and more and MORE. Because they may have an allergy to that item. Because they could choke on it. Because after you feed them so many sweets and snacks when they usually eat healthy, they’re going to get a stomach ache. That’s when, again, when they’re puking and even pooping all over God’s green earth, we’re calling you for cleanup.
“…But I did it with MY kids and they turned out fine.” – We don’t care. Don’t do it.
Nap time – Many Mom’s #1 do-not-question item. Naps are so SO important to keep on a routine. A solid routine is seriously the key to a happy marriage/home life. At least that’s how it feels sometimes. If our kids get off of a routine they’re almost unbearable to deal with. They get cranky and throw a fit over almost anything. Putting them down later leads to waking up later, leads to meal times getting pushed back, leads to our kid sitting in their room crying for hours on end after bedtime because they weren’t tired at first, now they’re just pissed off that we’re ignoring them and not letting them out. So as much as you want to peek in and wake them up because they’re just SO fun to play with, DO NOT do it. If you do it, we will make you come over and sit outside our child’s bedroom and listen quietly to their unending screaming until you break down and cry.
Meal times – Pretty much the same as above. Schedues. The only other incredibly important thing is that if we ask you not to feed our kid after a certain time please for the love of God listen. Late night stomach aches are the worst to deal with. Inconsolable and overtired kids are just about the hardest things to deal with while keeping our sanity. Period.
Safety – Need I say more? Probably not. There is one thing I will touch base on though. If you see any straps for swings, high chairs, strollers etc., use them. Always. Even if you think the kid is big enough, or you see us not using them. If something terrible (heaven forbid) happens to our child we will only have ourselves to blame. If it’s your fault, well… let’s just say nothing compares to a Mother’s wrath.
Strangers – This one is fairly broad, but it all boils down to that single word really. Stranger. If we don’t know you, do NOT come up and touch our child. Do NOT try to pick them up. Do NOT tell us how to nurse/feed our child. Do NOT give our children any food/drinks. Do NOT tell me how to raise my child. We always appreciate a good conversation about kids, and sharing stories. Telling us how to manage our family though, isn’t acceptable. What if we told you never to wear that outfit because it makes your butt look huge? What if we gave you some deodorant and told you how to manage your stink? Yeah, it’s just as offensive for us when you get in our faces about our kids.
Playtime – Fairly simple. When we ask you to settle down because it’s bed time soon, we just don’t want to deal with our kids flying off the handle still instead of getting ready for story time. When we ask you not to play so rough, it’s not always that we think you’ll hurt them. Kids learn a lot of their behaviors from observation. If they see you rough housing they’ll think pushing is okay too. It goes for nearly any action. “Monkey see, Monkey do.” That saying can also be reworded into “monkey hear, Monkey say“. We don’t want to have to explain to their teacher where they heard THAT word from.
Greet-and-Snatch – When we come to visit your house, or you come to visit us, please don’t just grab our child out of our arms. Ask first. Our kid might be shy and need a little bit of time to adjust to new people. We might want to wait for you to wash your hands. We might just want to proudly stand in the midst of our friends/family holding our beautiful children and be admired. Forcing yourself on a Mom, or child can be taken the wrong way and leave someone with hurt feelings. We don’t mind you holding our kids and telling us how beautiful, smart and perfect they are. In fact we love a little ego boost sometimes!
“Here, let me help you…” – Help is always appreciated. But when you force your help on us it only leaves us less willing to ask for help later. We know you mean well, but sometimes we have our own system of doing things. If we’re buckling our kid into their car seat, we really don’t need two sets of hands to do it. The thing is, we can never say anything because we’re scared of offending you when you’re genuinely trying to be helpful and have the best of intentions. The simple solution? Ask us, “Can I help you with that?” It at least gives us the option to opt out. Funny thing… in my experience, people always love strapping the kids in and saying their goodbyes, but no one ever wants to get the door… *hint hint*
Organization – Or rather, messes. If we come home from “the fairytale land of no children and lots of alcohol”, we expect to find our home just as we left it. Or at least moderately close. We don’t expect a squeaky clean house, and we understand dishes pile up. But when we come home and toys are absolutely sprawled from corner to corner of every room, our kids are filthy, and dinner is still sitting out… run. On the bright side, if you showed up to a house that already looks like a pig sty you’re probably off the hook.
So there you have it. The Dirty Deeds. Keep in mind, even though they’re “dirty deeds”, they’re not unforgivable crimes. They’re just things that we would rather have left alone or unsaid if we had the choice. But like I said before that’s not usually the case. We’re aware of that and always try to take everything with a grain of salt. Don’t be offended if a Mom corrects you or tells you no. She probably just wants to make sure her child stays on their daily routine. While we appreciate the fact that you want to share your experience and lend a helping hand, chances are we already have our own methods and it works well. For me I’ve learned to just suck it up and talk to the person about the issue. I’ve never heard of a situation where someone is purposely doing these things to make your life harder. Normally it’s really not a huge deal, so it’s something I almost always let go. Like the cookies. Buddy can’t live off of carrots and peas his whole life. Honestly I’m a sucker for ice cream myself. I just have to remind myself there’s always an exception to the rules and there’s always room for leeway.
In the meantime, I’ve got to find a “method” of controlling my little cookie monster problem.
Do you have any dirty deeds I didn’t include? What do you do to confront someone about a parenting issue?