Writer’s Workshop: Ten (or so) Things I’ve Unlearned.

Back when I first became a mommy (you know, about a hundred years ago), my head was stuffed with all sorts of rules. Swirling around in my brain were all sorts of sentences beginning with “good mommies must…” and “good mommies never…” And you know what? I nearly drove myself mad.

Now, a whole year later, I’ve learned a little something. Okay, a lot of somethings. Mostly what I’ve learned is that those rules are total crap. Here are ten that I find particularly offensive.

Good mommies must breast feed. Oh yeah? Tell that to the screaming hellion who would have nothing to do with my boob for the first three weeks of her life. She was miserable, I was miserable, and more importantly, I was in danger of losing my mind. So yeah, I quit. I might have cost her a few IQ points, but you know what? I was formula fed and I turned out just fine (shut up. I did).

Good mommies always keep their cool.  I don’t know where I got this one from, but I was sure it was true. Then this screaming, popping, vomiting mess arrived in my life and I was anything but calm. At first, I beat myself up every time I got frustrated, or found myself close to tears, or just wanted to give up, but eventually? I realized that there was no way I was going to get through this thing if I couldn’t be free to feel whatever it was I was feeling.

Good mommies keep a clean house. Yeah. That lasted for about two days after my mom went home. My husband and I are slobs. Always have been, always will be. So I’ve learned to embrace the mess. Until, that is, company is coming. Then I run around cleaning like a mad woman (so if you hear strange noises at about 2 a.m., don’t worry. It’s just me, trying to remember how the vacuum works).

Good mommies never get bored.  I thought I was supposed to be completely enthralled with her every gurgle, babble and fart. But you know what? I’m not. Sometimes, I’d rather stick hot pokers under my toenails than play one more round of peekaboo. And that’s okay.

Good mommies never let their kids eat off the floor.  When Tori first became mobile, I freaked out every time she picked something up and put it in her mouth. But, as we’ve already discussed, I’m basically a lazy person. These days, her favorite food is cheerios…sprinkled with a layer of floor crunchies.

Good mommies lose the baby weight within the first three months. If that’s true, than I am a complete and utter failure. I’m still carrying 15 extra pounds. But that’s better than the 35 extra pounds I was padded with this time last year, so I’m going to cut myself some slack.

Good mommies never let their babies watch TV.  This is a rule I actually stuck with. For the first nine or ten months of her life, Tori never saw TV. But you know what sucks? Now, she just won’t watch it. So, when mommy wants her to space out in front of Sesame Street or Baby Einstein or something, she’ll have nothing to do with it. That kind of sucks, y’all.

Good mommies make their own rules. This one, I’ve discovered, is actually true. What works for my family might not work for your family and so on and so forth. We’re doing our best to muddle through over here, and so far? We’re doing okay (knock on wood).

Well, that’s not quite ten, but I’ve got company coming tomorrow and a whole house to clean. So, I’m going to make my own rule and pretend the assignment called for a list of eight. You got a problem with that? Then visit Mama Kat and find some other, more rule-abiding workshoppers to read.

14 Comments on Writer’s Workshop: Ten (or so) Things I’ve Unlearned.

  1. The Mommyologist
    April 23, 2010 at 1:30 am (6 years ago)

    Well said my friend!! For the record, my kid watched TV (and still does) and he is no worse for wear, and his vocabulary is incredible and I'm convinced that some of that came from the shows he watches.

    He also eats off the floor and I only breast fed him for 2 weeks, so I'm right there with you!!

  2. Barbara G
    April 23, 2010 at 2:28 am (6 years ago)

    How true! I agree with every one of your rules, and followed them all myself. No breastfeeding, no clean house, no loss of baby weight! My "baby" is now almost 16 and he is the most perfect human imaginable. Somehow he managed to thrive despite his mother, who could not and would not follow the rules.

  3. Tiffany
    April 23, 2010 at 3:24 am (6 years ago)

    this is really such a fantastic post. particularly about the cleaning house thing–my house is an utter disaster. no exaggeration, i would be mortified if i had an unexpected visitor. actually, i probably wouldn't even let them in the house. the husband and i are slobs in training–between school and work, we just don't have the time. people always ask me how i do it (grad school and kids) and i tell them 'easy. i'm fat and my house is dirty.' there's only so much one can do…

  4. GasStation Cappucino
    April 23, 2010 at 4:36 am (6 years ago)

    I'm glad I'm not the only parent embrassing her slobbiness. If we have unexpected visitors, I tend to meet them on the porch, and invite them to join me at the picnic table. Which would be great if it didn't have all my 18 year old's clothing on it. But that's a therapy session you'd have to read about later.

    You don't want ot vacuum anyway… it scares the kids, right?

  5. The Empress
    April 23, 2010 at 5:24 am (6 years ago)

    You know what? I'm so tired of cleaning my house, and I'd rather play with my kids.

    That's my new rule.

  6. Kasey
    April 23, 2010 at 11:59 am (6 years ago)

    This is the list of rules we should all live by! I had so many of the same experiences… breastfeeding, staying calm, cleaning. I'm now much more relaxed. As long as she eating, I don't care if it was on the floor!

  7. Mrs.Mayhem
    April 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm (6 years ago)

    Super list! I agree with all of your points!

    I've recently given up cleaning my house (seriously) and I'm so much happier. It comes in handy that I have so many kids… I just wait for one of them to misbehave, and then the punishment is to vacuum or clean the kitchen. Works out great!

  8. lessonsinlifeandlight
    April 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm (6 years ago)

    I think as long as mommies at least TRY to breast feed, they are definitely still good mommies :o) Way to give it a shot, lady!

  9. Sunday
    April 23, 2010 at 8:06 pm (6 years ago)

    I loved this list. They are all soooo true. Especially the first one about the breastfeeding. My mom was a tit nazi and when I told her I was going to stop breast feeding Sam when he turned 6 months old you would think I had told her I was going to sell him to the gypsys or something (not that they would have taken him, trust me!)

  10. The Moore Family
    April 24, 2010 at 5:53 pm (6 years ago)

    Well said girl!
    I am right there with you and many of those! Especially the cleaning house bit- who has time! I did end up hiring someone to clean my house a couple times a month. I also can not seem to lose the baby weight- in fact I have gained some…..maybe this summer right? Sooner or later something has to happen-either I fit into my old clothes or I buy new ones. Miss you!

  11. Bossy Betty
    April 24, 2010 at 11:34 pm (6 years ago)

    Good mommies write great blogs!

  12. Kelly
    April 25, 2010 at 7:23 pm (6 years ago)

    Love this list. For many of these, I remember thinking — forget what a good mommy can do … how does ANY mommy do this stuff?! It seemed impossible. Thankfully things get easier (and you forget about your mistakes) as the kids get older.

  13. Miss Welcome
    April 26, 2010 at 8:35 am (6 years ago)

    I think we're twins separated from birth. Except I don't like cats. And I'm not that shy (although was painfully dorky in school). Love your blog!

  14. Charlotte
    April 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm (6 years ago)

    A day late but am stopping in from the LBS tea party.

    I love this and couldn't agree more. The rules can bend based on what works/doesn't work for us (which is why I agree with your last one). Sounds like you have it all figured out :)


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