When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to be a mom. My sisters and I (and friends) would play house endlessly and when we were too old, I’d still daydream about getting married and having a family. I picked a career with kids because I loved working with them so much. I just couldn’t wait to have my own kids.
And when I did, I swore I’d do a few things differently. I was going to write about those but then I thought about the things I swore I’d never do and I don’t but wish I did. There are a lot more of those than the other.
1. Make my kids do their homework on Fridays. Oh, how I hated my dad’s rule. I wanted to come home throw my bag in the corner and relax. I wanted to leave school behind and have some fun but noooo. I had to do my homework right then. There were probably more times than not that I said I didn’t have any and then had Gina or one of my little sisters be the lookout while I hid and did it. I absolutely hated that rule and vowed I’d never make my kids do that. OMG, this one has come back to bite me in the ass. My dad was right. It’s so much less stressful when the kids aren’t racing around frantically on a Sunday night trying to get things done. I don’t make my kids do homework on Fridays on principle alone but I wish I did.
2. Make my kids go to church or some form of religious ed. I swore that I wouldn’t make my kids sit through a boring mass every week. I said it should be something they feel called to do. I wanted them to feel uplifted, not hate their religion. There were times I felt proud to be Catholic and times I really hated it. It wasn’t until I was an adult with three kids that I finally made my own decision and left the church. I regret this one because I found a church I love so I continuously try to rectify it. Our schedules don’t always allow for us to be able to go as a family and I wish early on that I had made it a priority.
3. Growing up, we always ate as a family. There were times my dad was coaching or I had volleyball or cheerleading so we ate later but for the most part, we all ate dinner together. I hated cleaning up after dinner and I didn’t necessarily swear I’d never make my kids clean up after themselves or help me clean but somehow, it’s worked out that way. For one, we don’t always eat together. It’s more scattered and they might throw their plates away or put them in the sink but they can’t help me clean because not everyone has eaten and by the time everyone has, they are busy doing homework. I wish I had made it a priority to eat as a family more often and to instill the “help” factor.
4. Make my kids make their beds and keep their rooms clean. I hated this rule. I thought it was pointless to make a bed that you were just going to mess up later and I wanted my room to be my space to keep as I wanted it. That was not the case. My mom made us make our beds (I weaseled my way out of this one by sleeping on top of my comforter with just a small blanket as a cover) and our rooms had to be spotless. She was right. The rooms look better with the beds made and it feels so much better to crawl into a made bed at the end of the day than a messed up one. Again on principle alone, I let my kids’ rooms be their spaces and as a result, they are disasters. I just close the doors when people come over and I say I don’t care but deep down, I wish they were clean. (They do clean them when I can’t see the floor anymore or I am watching a Hoarders episode and I say, “Wow, that looks like your room.”)
5. Wake my kids in an obnoxious way. My dad used to wake us up by pretending to play some sort of annoying horn. We absolutely hated it. I swore I would never, ever be so annoying. Well, my kids are annoying and won’t get up when I try to wake them up and I want so badly to break out my dad’s pretend horn. I don’t because again, I swore I would never do that but I wish I did. I have been known to jump on Nico’s bed to wake him up and I am sure he is swearing he’ll never do that to his kids. I pray he has a kid just like him. If there is any justice in this world, he will because I swear my mom prayed that for me and I have Isabella and Nico.
6. Make Saturday the “housecleaning day”. I hated cleaning but cleaning on a day off from school before we could do anything was the worst. Again, this one bites me right on the ass. Looking back, I think I thought it took forever but really, it took about a half hour. There were a lot of us so we split up the jobs. I’m sure my whining about having to do it took up more time than actually doing it. With our schedule the way it is, most Saturdays we are out of the house before 9 or 10 so cleaning falls to the back burner. Before you know it, everyone is out doing what they want and I am home cleaning and doing laundry wondering if I have so many kids, why don’t I have more help.
There are things that my parents did that I do now.
1. Anything lower than a B and you’re grounded unless it’s a class I know you are struggling with. If they were “C” students (as some of them are in math), I’d be happy with C’s but they are capable of A’s and B’s so that’s what I expect from them.
2. I need to meet all friends. If they hang out with someone who won’t come in the house or meet Leo and me, I automatically assume that they have something to hide or aren’t very trustworthy. I don’t expect to be best buds or even have a deep conversation with them but if you are hanging out with my kids, I’d like to know who you are.
3. Sunday is family day. Period.
4. I don’t care how much you fight in this house. The minute you walk out, you remember that you’re family and you stick up for each other and protect each other. And you ALWAYS take your siblings side. I can say whatever I want about Leo but anyone else does and it sets me off. I still avoid two people who have talked smack about Leo as a coach and I only avoid them because I know I’ll say something. We can say Nico is lazy or Belle is dramatic or Tommy is flighty but if anyone else does, watch out.
What about you? What is something you swore you’d never do as a parent but you do? Or what is something you don’t do that your parents did and you wish you did, too?
Thanks, Kat from Mama’s Losin’ It for the writing prompt!