Before I had kids I had a lot of “nevers” that I lived by; I will never feed my kids fast food, I will never leave the baby on top of the car and drive away, I will never yell at my child. Even if I didn’t articulate them aloud, I held a lot of beliefs dear. I think most parents do. But do we pick the right “nevers?” And do we have some nevers that we should reconsider?
I’m not going to post about letting standards slip a little when you have children. Everyone reading this knows that sometimes you need to bend your own rules. In my own case, when I had three toddlers all out of arms’ reach in different directions and something dangerous was about to happen before I could get there, you can believe I raised my voice to get attention. I don’t think they’re scarred for life. I never did leave a baby on top of the car though.
But how many of us have said “I could never live without television?” I know I did for most of my life. But before we had kids, my husband and I turned off the TV and canceled our cable subscription. This means no reception at all where we live. We did it because we were both busy working and seldom watched any TV. Do we miss it? Almost never. Maybe we would miss it more if the 49ers were playing better. Are we weirdos? Probably in our own way. Do our kids feel left out? I worried about this but my kids have strong personalities and have never been bothered by the comments of others (yet – I wont say they never will). The enormous payoff from not watching television is that my children are remarkably non-materialistic, avid readers, and excellent conversationalists. They have long attention spans and many hobbies and interests. Are they perfect? Heck no! I often want to strangle them for various reasons, but I think the absence of television in our house has had a huge positive influence.
If you were to ask me a few months ago if I would get my 11 year old daughter a cell phone, you would have heard an emphatic “Never!” but the truth is, with the erratic schedule of her play rehearsals these days, a cell phone is a must to keep us connected.
My point is that you cannot predict what will not work any more than you can predict what will work for your family. Nor can you predict how your situation or opinions or circumstances will change. By exploring options you may not have considered before you might discover that you really can do something you never thought you could, like making your own baby food, or working from home, or limiting television.
The picture here is of my oldest daughter opening an American Girl doll several years ago. She knows there is a Santa because “Mom and Dad would NEVER get me one.” It’s a good thing she doesn’t know how hard her mom is trying to never say never.