I hear it all the time “You are such a great mother!” and “OMG you have such a wonderful kid! You are doing so well with him!”. The other day my cousin called me saying that she loved checking out my Instagram and seeing all of the great things that I do with my child. Every post (unlike some other parents she knew) was my child and me on an “adventure”. I immediately had to let her know that my Instagram is a liar. I mean it’s Instagram… only the good shall pass, right? Even people’s alleged disheveled posts are after a few touches of make-up. I’m no different. Sometimes I put an outfit on my son and go to the front yard to take a few pics to look like we did something fun when the truth is that we both slept the entire day (I am literally laughing as I type this). The other day a good friend of mine mentioned on his podcast how he watches my parenting and how I am so great at taking care of Amari. The truth is I am just great at making it look good. Don’t get me started on my house. My house looks like Dorothy and her house touched down in the middle of it. If you came over, I would totally blame the kid, but the truth is… it’s all me! I am literally flying by the seat of my pants half the time and boy does my house tell the story! Now, I am often giving out advice to new parents and tips and tricks but this time I wanted to do a little something different… call it my mom-fessions. Today I am going to confess 5 things that I do that are sooooo wrong!
1- I DO NOT WATCH MY SON WHEN MY FRIENDS/FAMILY IS AROUND
Listen… I learned very early that once you have a child, it’s no longer about you. I was blessed enough to have a network of friends who had no problem incorporating Amari into brunch dates, vacation plans, sporting events and so much more. I am a true believer in the phrase “It takes a village.” So when I am with my friends I hold and cater to Amari as little as possible. If he throws a tantrum or needs a bottle, I hold off a little longer than normal in hopes that one of my friends will take care of it. He wants to be held? Plenty of hands that aren’t mine to go around. I am a single mother and the way I see it, when we get home there will be nobody around except me to do it and trust me I do a lot of it. So while I have all these willing participants, I WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM! I will take as many “motherhood” breaks as possible. So if you see me around my friends and I appear to be aloof to my child, trust me I’m not. I am just holding out in hopes that one of my good village people will step in and work it out with him, and they always do!
2- AMARI EATS WAAAYYYY TOO MANY CHICKEN FINGERS
Amari and I were in Spain with a friend and we stopped for a meal. I ordered my food and then ordered for Amari… chicken fingers and french fries. My friend immediately said “Oh gosh, don’t tell me Amari is one of those kids who only eats chicken fingers and pizza” with an attached eye roll. Yep, that’s him… and frankly some days I am not fighting him on it. Especially not when we are outside. Amari is not one for his vegetables. So I have to hide it in his food. I disguise it in cauliflower tater tots or fruit with spinach smoothies for breakfast. Heck, I even figured out how to get him to take a few swigs of V8 in order to get his daily dose of vitamins. But when we are outside and Amari decides to go on a food strike, I always know I can trust the good old chicken finger. So I promise you guys, when he is a little older, we will expand his taste buds but until then… another slice of pizza, please? Which brings me to the next one…
3- I BRIBE MY CHILD WITH SNACKS
Yes.. yes I do! Amari HATES the car. We can’t get more than 15 minutes in before he is wailing away as if he is being tortured by an evil ninja. So every day after a long day of work I get Amari from his Abuelita’s house and we begin this journey home that is dreaded by the both of us. Now I keep a pack of vanilla wafers in the car. Every day on the way home he gets one wafer. This is enough to keep him quiet for the entire ride home. Now if you know me, you know that I am not a sweets eater. I was never into candy or cakes, there is no junk food in my home. So it is his only crack at junk food (at least when he’s with me. I can’t vouch for what happens at grandma’s).
4 – I TAKE HIM OUT OF BED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
Would you believe me if I told you that I had Amari sleep trained at 6 months? I really did. I went through an entire process and successfully had him in his own bed through the night. Then you know what I did? I started taking him out. I hated the thought of Amari being in a different room all by himself. All alone and scared. So I began taking him out and putting him in the bed with me. I know, what an idiot right? So mostly Amari sleeps with me pretty much every night and on the nights that I do put him down in his crib for the evening, he is usually up by about 2am crying to come sleep with me. To be honest, I do think it is time he sleeps in his crib through the night, but the amount of energy it takes to re-train him is more than I have right now. Plus, I have to be up for work in the morning. So instead of using one of those evenings as an opportunity to get him back on the right track, I just pick him up, put him in my bed and make silent promises to myself that we will begin our sleep training next week. LOLOL next week, I promise!
5 – I LET AMARI WATCH TV
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s recommended that kids ages 2 to 5 spend no more than an hour a day with screens of any kind – TV, tablet, phone, or computer. (The AAP recommends no screens at all for children younger than 18 months.) Let’s face it… as a single mom, that’s virtually impossible. There is never enough time in the day to work, come home, cook, clean, do laundry and get ready for the next day. So sometimes when I am trying to finish up the pot of rice and Amari refuses to stay away from the stove, I will put on a bit of educational programming. One where they teach ABCs and 123s among others. As an added touch (to make me feel better about breaking the rules) I only play the programming in Spanish. So hopefully my little guy’s brain is absorbing a second language while I cheat.
There you have it guys… a few of my confessions. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And remember, the next time you are doing something that’s a little off book.. cut yourself some slack. Im sure your kid will be just fine!
If you want to see more of Amari and my adventures, follow us on Instagram at JustaNJMom