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Mom's Time Out

Never Say Never

Mary Angel

(Nov, 2010) Never - definition - not ever, at no time, absolutely not! I am dedicating this article to all my friends who have said, "I will never..." before they had children. We all do it, we all have those things that we see other moms or children doing that in our heart of hearts we know we would never ever do. Sometimes they are things that you are adamant about with your first child but somewhere with the birth of the next one (or few) you change your tune. Before you experience something or walk in another mom's shoes it is too often easy to judge. Please understand I am not excusing the judgments or criticizing the naivety of those pre-childbearing women, I after all, am one.

I was not sure I wanted children for the longest time, after all their heads jiggled so much they looked like they were going to fall right off. Then I met my future husband, fell in love, and got married. It wasn't long there after that I started having these little twinges of longing when I would see a baby. This is the time when my husband and I so naively made those child rearing decisions. Not the important ones like; how many, public or private school, or breast or bottle. Even these you might find you change your attitude about as life happens around you. For example we were never going to use a pacifier. Then we had our first son, I had nerve damage and he had colic, severe colic. After a week of him screaming for hours on end several times a day and most of the night we went out and bought a pacifier. Truth be told we bought every brand they had available, in the hopes that one would help the poor little guy. Eventually one stuck and he loved his "binky" as we fondly called it.

When our second son was born with colic we also changed our tune on rocking them to sleep. Of course we were never going to do that because then babies don't learn how to fall asleep on their own...whatever. We just wanted to close our eyes and enjoy that wonderful silence of sleep ourselves. Did we pay for it in the long run, well I definitely did. My husband worked and at this point I had become a stay at home mom so it only made sense that I get up with the baby when he woke in the middle of the night. After all I never said going back on your "I nevers" didn't have consequences. My boys were not good sleepers until they were about 7 or 8 years old. But we all make choices and we all live with those choices.

Then when our kids were a little older we had a van with a VCR in it. Don't worry though it was only for long trips and we would never use it for short trips or as a pacifier. Of course not, why would that ever change. Maybe you have four children and are driving in the car and want to have an adult conversation and so just this once you put in a tape for the half hour drive to dinner. Or maybe you want to discuss a problem one of the children is having at school without the other kids hearing so you put in a tape for the twenty minute drive to Grandmas. Then suddenly you are popping in a tape so much that when you don't the kids ask who is in trouble that they can't watch a movie. Now we have a DVD player and the two oldest have DS's (volume off) for the long car rides and when we are waiting in a line. Sometimes your nevers change out of necessity and sometimes they change without you realizing it.

There are so many opportunities to say "I never" and between my friends and I we have certainly said it our fair share of times. For example, "I will never put a leash on my child". That is how many friends viewed child harnesses. That all changed when one mom was in a store with an infant in a stroller and a toddler defiantly running away and hiding from her. After nervously corralling and correcting her daughter she broke out the shower gift from the bottom of her diaper bag and strapped it on. After only 15 minutes or so she removed it and her daughter never needed it again. The point is she used it and was sure she would never have done that in her life. Since my children have started school I have met a lot of "free spirited" children. They are sweet little kids who just live in their own little worlds, often wandering away from their moms, or tripping over thin air. After meeting them we would all understand if these moms had harnesses on their children every waking minute for sanity and safety.

So how many times have you looked at a mom or a child and thought "I never", without knowing the whole situation. Don't worry you are in good company, we all do it from time to time and we all change some of our I nevers. Sometimes they change to a maybe or a sometimes or even an all the time. The point is its alright, you are not a bad parent you are just a parent. So go ahead keep using that dangerous word that we so often have to eat but just try not to judge others for the choices they have made whether they be "nevers" or "always" or something in between. We make the best choices we can that work for our family and we adjust those choices as life unfolds around us. Life with children is a roller coaster ride with all of the ups and downs, that is what makes it interesting and fun!

Read other articles by Mary Angel