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7 Things Good Mothers Do That I'm Not Going to Do Anymore

Posted by on Apr. 10, 2015 at 3:53 PM
  • 19 Replies

7 Things Good Mothers Do That I'm Not Going to Do Anymore

1. Bathe the kids every day. Children, unless they've been rolling in the mud, do not need a bath every day. In the summer I rinse off sand, sweat and sunscreen pretty much daily, but in the winter it just makes their skin dry and rashy. Twice-a-week baths are fine and save me the soggy wrestling match that is washing a screaming toddler and preschooler.

2. Do an elaborate bedtime routine. Literally everyone told us we needed to do a bedtime routine. Bath, infant massage, dim lights while nursing -- this was bad enough and clocked in at about an hour. Now, with our 4-year-old, more rituals have crept in, like: 1) sing a song; 2) read three books; 3) listen to Freight Train Boogie; 4) dance; 5) play a game he and daddy made up, called "crashies," in which I always get injured; 6) a good-night "wrestle" with his brother; 7) tooth-brushing; 8) a game called "burrito" in which he is rolled in a blanket, then unrolled like Cleopatra at Caesar's feet; 9) prayers; 10) a dozen good-night hugs and kisses in a specific order and if we mess up we have to start over; 11) one more drink of water; 12) one more pee; 13) one more drink of water.

The bedtime routine starts at 3:45. In the interest of recapturing those hours, I'm eliminating all but tooth-brushing and prayers, which, mumbled at high speed while inching towards the cocktail cabinet, are more true to my Episcopalian faith anyway.

3. Buy organic. I've spent the last five years standing in the fruit aisle debating whether to spend $2 for an organic apple or 50 cents for a regular one, and then, confused, I buy no apple at all. I am just not going to worry about it anymore. It's better that they eat fruits and vegetables than not, and we can't spend $200 a week on apples.

4. Force my kids to eat vegetables. With my first child, we forced him to eat a certain number of bites of his dinner to get dessert. This resulted in bargains and negotiations and debates over exactly how much food on the fork counted as a "bite." (It was a little like arguing how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.) By the time my second arrived, we started following Ellyn Satter's division of responsibility, which makes meals a lot more peaceful. I mean, mostly. My son sat down at the table the other night, looked at what I'd made, and said, "This looks like an old head." So yeah, it's not all wine and roses, but at least I'm not squabbling about whether gently touching your tongue to a piece of broccoli counts as a bite.

5. Be eternally patient. I try so, so hard to control my temper. But sometimes, one child is repeatedly pressing the "Oh Susannah" button on his music machine, the phone is ringing and I can't find it, the oatmeal is burning, and the other child is experimenting with asking questions in a barely audible voice. (Remember the scene in The Office when Michael Scott negotiates for a raise by speaking very softly? This is what my son is doing.) And then sometimes I lose my temper. But the thing is -- it's not good for children to have infinitely patient, saintly mothers, because the world is not infinitely patient and saintly. Normal people lose their shit at too much loud-noise stimulus and burgeoning stove fires and a child requesting a cheese stick without moving his lips. It's good for kids to recognize the incipient stages of someone losing their shit. This will serve them well in the world.

6. Have a perfectly clean house. A friend recently said, "I wish I had known that motherhood is really just becoming a cleaning lady." And it's true. I clean the kitchen four times a day. I scrape things off the floor with my fingernails. I pick up so many little balled-up socks. But now -- partly because I hate to clean, and partly because I think kids, especially boys, shouldn't think that someone is always going to pick up after them -- I've started a gentle insistence that they put their clothes in the hamper with no intermediate stop on the floor, that they return their bath toys to the basket, and that they help out with weekly dusting and vacuuming. It would be quicker to do it myself, and the house isn't especially clean, but I hate feeling like a martyr. I'd rather have a slightly dirty house than be a servant, and eventually they'll learn that small daily efforts are better for housekeeping than quarterly fumigations.

7. Spend all weekend with my kids. The No. 1 thing I miss about singledom is time alone at home, to non-productively putter. So we're starting a half-day-off policy; like the servants in Downton Abbey, we each get from 8 a.m. to noon, once a week, with no kids, work, or chores responsibilities. The other parent takes the kids out of the house. I am going to put spare change in the change jar and corral all my hair elastics and stack random pieces of paper on my desk. It's going to be glorious.


I really enjoyed this acticle. It makes me not feel so bad for not being a "perfect mom". Bath time SUCKS, I have 5 kids, if it can be cleaned off with a wipey then Im not doing a bath! Our bedtime consists of brush your teeth, tuck you in, if you get up Im NOT tucking you back in.. God please just go to bed, NO you can not have more water... or food... GO TO BED! lol. Organic? No, A banana is a damn banana just be happy its not a cookie! 4 Im lucky on, sure we only really have green beans, but at least they eat them!! 5... LMAO!!!! Yeah lets just move on now lol. 6... yeah same as 5.. I have dishes to do right now actually. & yes if I ignore it long enough that pile of laundry on my couch WILL put itself away! SHHHH YES IT WILL!!! 7 well Im a SAHM, I spend 24/7 with at least 2 of them. Maybe I will get me time when they are teens... Or grown.


What do you moms think of this?

by on Apr. 10, 2015 at 3:53 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:05 PM
1 mom liked this

Love it, yes and agree and do all (well the bedtime routine is getting longer and longer these days, but I swap card-playing 2 games for reading 3 stories LOL! - at least I'm lying down that way). She gets 2 showers a week instead of daily, but I do still buy organic fruit and veg because I've bought it for myself for 25 years so don't switch just 'cus it's cheaper. I've cut out a LOT of other stuff most people wouldn't, so don't feel worthy over that one. As for getting her to eat a veg, I just put a bite-size piece of lettuce on her plate. She has to eat it. It's just a bite. But that's all.

momtolittleg
by Ruby Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:09 PM
1 mom liked this
I really don't do any of those things. :)
cutebaby06
by Ruby Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:17 PM
1 mom liked this

Either do I.

Glitchtastic
by Glitter Trauma on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:22 PM
1 mom liked this
This is awesome. Haha. I even read it to DF. He agreed.
Dani7884
by Silver Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:22 PM
1 mom liked this
I love this so much!!!
Salut123
by Ruby Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:23 PM
1 mom liked this

I don't do any of them.

Reading.Rainbow
by Mad Martigan on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:24 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm still going to do the bedtime routine and buy organic... But everything else is spot on.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:24 PM
1 mom liked this
Bump to read when I get a few minutes
FutureSoccerM0m
by Ruby Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:25 PM
1 mom liked this
I lol'd at bedtime routine starting at 3:45! That's what I feel like some days.
Momniscient
by Emerald Member on Apr. 10, 2015 at 4:26 PM
1 mom liked this
I don't do any of that stuff anyway :)
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