It’s funny how much we “know” about raising kids before we have them and how much less certain it all seems when we’re on the job. So pour yourself a latté and have a laugh at my expense while we explore 5 stupid things I said before I had kids:
1. “Discpline isn’t rocket science—you just have to be consistent.”
While this principle holds true on many levels, catch the “just” I loved to throw around back in the day. You just have to be consistent—as if there’s a convenient switch you can flip everyday to ensure consistency in your rules, your expectations, and the consequences. The truth from the front lines is this: Consistency is HARD. You have to fight for it. You have to gut it out when you are too tired to really care whether anyone finishes the chores or turns in the assignment. You have to dig deep for it when stopping what you’re doing to enforce a consequence is as convenient as walking to Greenland. Discipline does require consistency, but I’ll be honest: Sometimes I win at this game, and sometimes I lose.
2. “My child will respect me—or else.”
Sure, I can force my kids to act respectfully toward me by demanding it and lowering the discipline boom when they don’t. But actually respecting me of their own volition in their heads and hearts? That has to be earned. It has to be cultivated. They have to see my life match up to my words. They need to see me model respect for others in the way I treat them and my husband.
3. “When we have kids, they can eat what’s prepared or go hungry.”
While there’s some truth to this one, it’s much more complicated in real time than in theory. The pace at which we live life often forces us to eat on the go or dine out. Different children have different health challenges—some need more calories based on their level of activity, others need less. I often find myself trying to determine what the best choice is for our food dilemmas in the midst of a lot of other pressures. Do I really want to fight about food with the child I also had to fight with over homework this afternoon? Sometimes, the food war is not the war that demands to be won this very second, at the expense of your relationships. I try to do my best and get it right more than I get it wrong.
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