Editorial by Shaila Creekmore as printed in the May 09 issue of Jonesboro Occasions.
I heard the words coming out of my mouth, but I couldn’t stop them. And even as they passed through my lips, in my mind I was thinking, “I cannot believe I’m saying this.”
“I don’t care what (Timmy’s) momma let him bring to school. I’m not (Timmy’s) momma, I’m your momma and I said no.”
There it was, another one of those things our parents said to us that we swore we would never say to our own kids. Oh the rules we break. Our very own rules. Before we know it, we have become our parents.
My husband and I have now become pros at the worst of these little sayings. “Because I said so,” is now a common phrase at our house. With a five-year-old who constantly asks why he has to do something he’s been told to do or why he must stop doing something, I hear it ringing through our house several times daily.
I used to believe that I would never give my children such a simple answer; that I would always stop and explain every detail as to why they must do or not do something. But a few years ago, I heard a preacher explain that while at times we must explain such things to our kids in order to teach them, at other times the child must just learn that some things ARE just because we said so. As the child, they must learn to do what we ask simply because it was asked of them and that because we are the parent, we make the decisions. This made a lot of sense to me.
But the list of things we would never do includes more than what we say. I will never use the television as a babysitter; I will never feed my child chicken nuggets twice in a day because it’s easy; I will never bribe them with candy in church to keep them quiet; I will never let my child play a video game in the middle of a restaurant; I will never send them to grandma’s for the weekend just to get some quiet … I, in fact, have done all of those things.
I have even broken one of the biggest rules on the list of things I said I would never do, let them sleep with me. As we picked out a crib before my oldest was born, my dad said, “It’s a waste to spend all of that money on a crib, he’ll just sleep with you.” And I in all of my expectant parent wisdom replied, “No, no. He won’t be sleeping with us. He has his own bed and he’ll sleep in it.”
Our first night in the hospital, I wouldn’t even let my husband lay him in the bassinet beside the bed. When he tried to take that sweet, little sleeping baby from me to lay him down, I burst into tears and said, “He can’t sleep in there. He needs me. He’s never been away from me.” Now, looking back, maybe that was the hormones talking, but I slept all night with him asleep on my chest.
When we came home, he slept beside me for weeks on end. Slowly we transitioned him to that beautiful crib we bought, but I had to eat those words I had spoken to my dad just months earlier.
Even now as I have become a constant rule breaker, I hear myself saying “I would never let my child do that.” I guess that means I probably will.