Top Secret Mom Info:
That peanut butter and jelly sandwich you’re making? It’s edible with the crust on. No, really. It’s possible for anyone of any age to eat a crusted sandwich.
As moms, we’re experts in our kids’ opinions of what they like and dislike. I know what grubby shirt my son likes to put on every day after school. And I know that one child likes ice in his seltzer and the other does not.
I know just how loud to turn on the white noise machine at bedtime and the rotation of stuffed animals that my daughter sleeps with. And I know for a three-year-old, anything is better with a Disney Princess.
I know that doing things the way they prefer them makes life run a lot more smoothly.
But I also know that they can survive just fine without it that way.
I am the queen of routine.
Thanks to the combination of reflux, ear infections, and general colic, my oldest screamed (that wallpaper peeling scream) for 6 months straight with minimal sleeping. Around 6 months, we started figuring out routines and structure that helped him hate life a little less.
As we tweaked our strategies, we started getting a few hours of consecutive sleep at night and a few hours of consecutive happiness during the day. As long as I followed the routines just right, we would have a lovely day. If anything was out of order, the screaming resumed.
For the last FIVE YEARS, I have planned nothing between 12-4 pm as that is sacred naptime at our house. Every night right after dinner, it is brush teeth, bath, exactly two stories, and the same song. Every night.
So routine mamas, I hear you. I feel you. I AM you.
However, amidst all our structure and routine, something miraculous happened. I was diagnosed with cancer, and I couldn’t do all those things. I couldn’t cater to their every need and keep our schedule with military precision.
And the kids….they were fine.
I kept my oldest in a crib for 3.5 years until he physically couldn’t fit. Then we made a big to-do about moving to a big bed and all the rules and expectations, along with its own new routine.
My second wasn’t even two years old when I had surgery and couldn’t lift her out of the crib. So overnight, literally, she got put in a big bed. No big to-do. Just figure it out. AND SHE DID. She has never gotten out of bed. She just goes to sleep.
Predictable routines and expectations are good for kids. Studies show that kids thrive knowing boundaries and what to expect. If you’ve found the rhythm for your family that works, keep it going!
But along the way, take notice of all the things that we as moms have manufactured as how the kids “have to” have it—the preferences that we have turned into the law of the home.
As moms, we deserve better for ourselves.
We deserve enough margin in our lives to enjoy the greatness of motherhood. We deserve the opportunity to treat our kids to their favorite indulgence instead of it being an everyday mandate. We have to stop circling our children trying to make everything perfect for them.
As moms, we know that our kids deserve better as well. We want more for our kids than obstinacy and entitlement grown from a Petri dish of having life at the perfect temperature always having their preferences catered to.
Life doesn’t always give us our preferences served on a
silver Ariel platter. Sometimes we have to eat around the crust. Sometimes we have to eat the crust. And the world keeps turning.