Preconceived Parenting

Preconceived Parenting | sarahesh.com
Last night I had a 'This is one of those things I said would never happen' moment.
Let me back up a little bit and explain.
I had this whole parenting thing figured out before I actually became a mom. I knew what I would allow, and certainly what I would not. I watched other parents with their children, and embarrassingly, I was a harsh, silent judge. It is so easy to form an opinion when you aren't the one in the thick of it.
Yes would always mean yes, and the same goes for the word no. Veggies and fruit would be the main food groups, and I would make all of my own baby food. Screen time, including phones, computers and movies, wouldn't happen until my child was two years old, and then it would be limited to only Saturday mornings when I wanted to sleep in. My child wouldn't be on a strict schedule, but we would have a daily routine established... and so on.
I soon discovered, however, that children aren't little robots that you program and run as you please; they are small human beings with minds of their own. (And my little man has a will just as strong as his momma's.) I also realized how awesome and exhausting the responsibility of raising a human being is. And how sometimes I like a bit of time off too... even if that means screen time for the little man.
This all brings us back to last night.
We went out to a local place for dinner with a friend. The restaurant was busy and the service was slow. Even before our order came out, Carson was whining and complaining and trying to escape my grasp to go explore the building. Finally, in desperation, I asked Herm to please search Youtube for a movie, something that might entertain Carson while we waited. He found Jay Jay the Jet Plane, which, to my delight, worked! Carson was content to watch the show, and we were able to relax and enjoy our meal.
As a perfect mom, in my pre-parenting days, I most likely would have judged someone who did this. That's screen time before two, after all, and not even on a Saturday morning. Lazy parenting at its finest.
I laugh now at all of my preconceived notions. Yes, we did stick to a few of them, the ones that really were important to us, but we've relaxed too, and I'm so grateful we did.
I am learning that parenting is a journey, where you learn as you go. You will get lots of advice from books and even more from complete strangers, but none of them know your situation. I am learning just how undone I am, how the life I thought I lived, so neat and clean and put together, was snagged and unraveling all along. And I am learning to give grace to Carson, and to those parents, the ones I so harshly judged, because I so desperately need grace myself.
Were you the best parent ever, before you had kids too? Tell me about it in the comments below!


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