I didn't ever think I'd do...
1. Let my kids eat at McDonalds more than once a month. Those evil Happy Meals. Actually, the boy seems to have outgrown them, which is a good thing. He's starting to set his own limits. But the little one is entirely addicted. Me bad.
2. Let them watch television before the age of one. Baby Einstein was a big hit with the boy. The girl has skipped over that series and went straight to Spongebob. Something about having an older brother...
3. Drive a minivan. This one I do recall saying *never* to, and certainly it would never have happened if we stayed in the city. Although it wasn't our first choice, the price was right, it made sense, and I'll have to admit, after having one and filling it to the brim with kids, kids' stuff, and anything else that you could fit into it, I think it would be hard to go back to something smaller. It is still a bit of an eyesore though, and despite being a Honda, I still prefer my smaller, zippier Accord.
4. Shop at Walmart...as much as I do. I can't help it, it's a 3 minute drive away. I got sucked in by the baby section, as it came into our neighbourhood at precisely the right time. Now it just can't be beat for most things including groceries. Now if I had to go there on the weekend, forget it. But Monday mornings, no people, no line-ups.
5. And on a related note: let them wear character driven wardrobes. Little known designers Thomas the Tank, Dora the Explorer, the Backyardigans, Sponge Bob, Disney Princesses and the Simpsons have figured prominently in their list of favourites.
6. Indulge them too much. We've been trying hard to resist picking things up for them, buying the kids whatever they want, whenever they want. When we were both working, it was a lot easier for me to do that at a drop of a hat. But since staying at home, I've been trying to set limits, and teach the important lesson that life isn't all about material things, and just because their friends have something, they don't "need" it as well.
As you can tell by the recent Wii incident, I don't think I've been too successful. It's difficult because our kids are pretty well-behaved and don't actually ask for a whole heck of a lot. It's just that when they do, it can be the big stuff.
7. Be a SAHM. I always just assumed that I would hit the career path running once I finished school. I remember as a student, driving along the highway on my way downtown, fantasizing about having that great corporate job, with the gorgeous loft condo in the happening part of the city. Not even thinking about having kids; but then when they drifted into my subconscious, seeing a nanny in the picture. I've never considered myself a maternal type - AT ALL. So having this opportunity to stay home seemed more of a "break" from the grind, a chance to recharge and maybe move my career in another direction once my maternity "recess" was over.
But this has been my best gig so far, the Mom thing. Today for example, after the little girl's preschool, we went to pick up a new Dora toilet seat, some Dora socks and (Dora again) bathing suit, and then spent two hours at the library together, before heading out to pick up her brother. Quality time that you just can't put a price on.
8. Dabbling a bit in consulting work. This is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I always thought I would live under the big corporate umbrella. Being away from fulltime work to be with the kids for 3 years has been great, but it wreaks havoc on your confidence to do other things. But nothing ventured, nothing gained right?
8. Scream at my kids. I mean, literally scream. I think little G was about eight months old and while swatting her food away it went flying all over the floor, L was being trying asking me to get him this and that, and Ian had been away for a few days. So I lost it. I just stood there and screamed. How cathartic it was!!!
The kids just looked at me. I felt better, and then life went on.
9. Pressure my kid into lessons. And drag him kicking and screaming. But then again, some things are non-negotiable ...like swimming. I wonder if sometimes I'm swinging too far the opposite direction, by not keeping him busy enough. It's still a work in progress. Little G seems to love every program she's in, so as long as she's happy with it, we're happy.
10. Use convenience foods as much as we do. It's likely because we have the two kids now, but I did more "from scratch" cooking when I was working then I do now. There was so much less recycling, and I do feel bad because I don't have the best control over a lot of the ingredients. But the least I can do is read the nutritional labelling, just so I can feel a little less guilty about it all.
11. Lose a bit of focus on my marriage. Sometimes I feel like we're leading separate lives, we're so busy, just passing each other through the day while we do our routine activities with the kids. He does his part, I do mine, we say hi to each other as we go by in the hall. And then a quick good night before passing out exhausted on the pillow. I suppose recognizing this is half the battle.
12. Change my lifestyle to adapt to the kids lives, rather than adapting them to ours. Well that was an interesting albeit naive theory to think that our lives wouldn't change drastically. Not that we were hiking in the Himalayas before we had kids, but let's be real. And be fair, they are two individuals with their own ideas of what they want to do as well. That being said, they're pretty much up to most anything ... sometimes it requires a good deal of creative persuasion, but overall,they're still fairly malleable.
13. I shudder to say this but...sound like my mother. Love my mom, but don't want to be her.