We all know them, the “sanctimommies”… I hate that term, so I’ll call them “Perfect Parents” (or PPs). They comment all over social media, and some of them are ballsy enough to comment in real life: I would NEVER _____! or You should be ashamed for _____ – what horrible parenting! or the whispered Can you believe she said/did that?
I usually assume one of four things: their kids are not moving or talking yet, their kids are adults and they don’t remember what the trenches were really like, they don’t even have kids, or they are just full of crap. But really, all that matters is that their kids are not my kids (and probably not yours either). I do what works until it doesn’t, and then I do something else. And in the process of that, I am sure I do things that would make a PP cringe.
Lying – by omission and otherwise. Ok, that one’s a gimme… we all lie to our kids, right? But I kind of enjoy it – that’s not supposed to happen, is it? EC hates chocolate. So if I have something I don’t want to share with her, I tell her it has chocolate in it, whether that’s true or not. She also calls any favorite food that she has to wait for at dinner (i.e., “you may have some garlic bread after you finish your broccoli and chicken”) “dessert”, and I have no desire to correct her. I love hearing her say “I’m having pasta for dessert” or “When I finish my plate, may I have some applesauce for dessert?” It lets her feel like she gets dessert on the regular, and I get to say “yes” to dessert almost every time she asks!
Bribery. With food, I intentionally withhold whatever part of the meal EC likes best until she’s eaten the parts she would otherwise ignore. I keep special snacks in my car that I promise to EC if I sense a drama brewing when we’re out and about – “If you can keep it together until we get to the car, I have a surprise treat for you!” The words “surprise” and “treat” get me far; together, they are a magic spell. Honestly, EC’s current favorite “surprise treat” is an orange Tic-Tac. It satisfies her car-snack obsession every time – ONE Tic-tac!
Empty Threats. I try to be consistent and follow through… I really do. But I definitely make threats I have no intention of carrying out. So far, luckily, they work.
Threat: If you can’t stop whining, we will just stay home, no library.
Truth: We are going to the library, regardless, because there’s no way I’m dealing with your whiny 4-year-old drama all day alone.
Threat: If you don’t have your boots and coat on by the time I get YC’s coat on, we are leaving without you.
Junk Food. My kids eat it. They eat a lot of healthy food, too, but they do love French fries, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, mac’n’cheese, and processed cheese product (aka “American” cheese). I sometimes buy organic, but just as often, I don’t. It’s honestly not something I choose to put pressure on myself about. Mr I worries about that enough for us both; he’s the foodie.
Screen Time. Oh, the eternal debate and the PP criticism. “No screens for babies”, “No screens before age 2”, blah, blah, blah, “No screen time at all, EVER!!” Please. You do for you, and I’ll do for me. My kids also play outside, have a playroom full of things to spark imaginary play, love to read books, and dance and sing constantly (sometimes with the screen, though).
So those are a few of mine – what are your “imperfect practices”?