Let’s face it, not every day is perfect when it comes to parenting. While we try to balance the ideal amount of educational time with play time, sometimes it doesn’t work out. Occasionally, trying to pull off 3 balanced meals, with 2 healthy snacks in between just isn’t going to happen every day. When things go south, there are some things all parents do that, even though it makes us feel a little guilty. Here are six of mine:
1. Pressing play
I have two three year olds. Yes, two. They are full of energy and love to play, especially with each other. Sometimes things get out of hand. They fight, they make huge messes, and I just can’t take it anymore. One foolproof trick that immediately calms them down is putting on a movie. I can finally get the chance to pick up the house, cook, or do what I need to do without worrying about what they are getting into. I know watching movies is not the best way to educate, entertain, or even “babysit” my kids, but it works like a charm. I keep telling myself that it works so well because it doesn’t happen that often…
2. A double dose of chicken nuggets
There are some days when I just don’t feel like arguing about what my kids are going to eat. I’m tired of trying to get them to eat something they don’t want, or having them end up not taking one bite of what I’ve made. When this is the case, I pull out the old standby: chicken nuggets. My kids would probably eat these for every meal if I let them, but most days I don’t give in….Most days. However, chicken nuggets occasionally happens. At least they are all white meat, which gives my kids some kind of protein, right?
3. Oh no! It’s ‘not working’ right now…sorry!
I really am guilty of this one. Whenever my kids walk past a mechanical horse or a machine that picks toys out with that mechanical claw, it’s close to chaos. My kids have to ride, play, or try it out. The majority of the time, I will let them sit on the metal horse but I’d quickly go broke if I ever put money in to make it work. Instead, I use the old “Oh, it’s not working right now” line and my kids totally accept it. They are happy to sit and pretend or look at all the fun dolls without having to play.
4. Skipping to the ‘happily ever after’
I honestly feel my kids purposely pick books that have 50 pages in them for their bed time story. Even if I don’t read every word on the page, going through all 50 pages can take forever. And when you have 2 kids that both want a different bed time story, it quickly turns into the never-ending story. I admit to clumping some pages together as I turn a page to shorten the 1 hour process of trying to get the kids to bed.
5. Letting it go
We run a pretty tight ship at our house. The kids are held to high standards. When they disobey, act up, or do something they shouldn’t, they are disciplined accordingly….But there are times when I give in. I know I shouldn’t, and it does not happen very often, but there are times when I look the other way or pretend I didn’t see the mistake my kid made. If it’s something that isn’t earth shattering, I’ll let it slide every once in a while.
I try not to bribe my kids, but hey, it happens. I have found that my kids are particularly bad at moving on from one activity to another activity, but bribing helps. If we are playing at a friend’s house, at the playground, or doing something they really enjoy, telling them it’s time to leave does not go very well. Sometimes to avoid a scene, the bribes come out. Offering a treat or the chance to play games on my phone for the ride home does the trick. While it’s not the best parenting move, it works.
I am definitely not proud of some of these tactics…but I realize that motherhood has its ups and downs, and sometimes it takes a trick or two to get through the day. Luckily, these tactics are the exception, rather than the standard. Sometimes my kids need a break, and a few chicken nuggets and a movie won’t turn them into unhealthy, unruly kids…just kids that know not every day is perfect.