I have been a mother for almost 10 years—TEN YEARS! It’s true. My twins will be 10 years old in a few weeks.
There are SO many expectations that we hold for ourselves as parents or that society places upon us about food, clothes, play, sleep, school, toys, etc. etc. etc. to infinity (and beyond!). I’m still working through a lot of my misplaced expectations about myself and motherhood, but here are 10 things that I just don’t give a crap about anymore:
Nice Clothes: I have 4 sons. There is no such thing as “nice clothes” in our house. My boys own ZERO white t-shirts. I don’t buy clothes that can’t be worn to the park, worn while eating spaghetti or a mustard-covered hot dog, or cannot be washed on “Heavy-duty + Hot.”
Matching socks: For a long time, we had all these cute, colorful socks, along with several types of white socks (Ankle, mid-length, knee). And course you know what happened: The Drier ate the socks. Then we only had one blue sock, one monster sock, and one knee sock. So I threw all the socks away and bought 20 pairs of matching socks for my twins. No more sorting. Hallelujah. Best decision I have ever made.
Pajamas: Around age 3, all my kids have decided that pajamas are optional. Even if they put them on “just for funsies” at night, they will always be naked (okay, just in undies) in the morning. I gave up buying them PJs a few years ago. Less laundry is always a win.
Puzzles: We had a ton of puzzles when Micah and Benji were little, and let me tell you something: Puzzles are THE WORST. You lose one piece and the toy is basically defunct. You spend hours looking for/ sorting / cleaning up said pieces only to come up frustrated and wondering what-the-heck-you-are-doing-with-your-life. I have chucked all kid puzzles in our house with an inordinate amount of glee. (Wait…I think we have one puzzle left. And, of course, it’s missing a piece).
Bath toys: Another childhood staple that has migrated to the trash is every bath toy we have ever owned. And we owned a ton: ABC foam letters, boats, rubber duckies, rubber walruses, stacking cups, rain makers, etc. etc. etc. NO MORE! Bath toys are fun, sure, but they are annoying as crap.
First, if you only have one bathtub, like we did for years, you have to use a backhoe to clean out the toys before the adult in the house can take a shower.
Second, they get moldy. Yeah, yeah, I know the whole trick about gluing the hole shut with hot glue. They still get gross, people.
These days, I throw a few freebie cups from the local BBQ chain in the tub with the kids and call it a day. They’re happy, I’m happy—but for goodness sake, STOP SPLASHING AND KEEP THE WATER IN THE TUB, KIDS!
Pinterest projects: My poor younger boys (ages 4 and 2) don’t know what kind of mom I used to be: A Pinterest mom. Yes. I was that mom. I pinned and completed projects for my twins all the time. And I just about lost my mind. So much headache. So much mess. So little interest from my kids. Occasionally Pinterest calls to me but we’re not in a committed relationship anymore. It’s better for everyone this way.
School fundraisers: It took me a few years to figure this one out: You don’t have to be involved in every school fund raiser. If asking people to buy expensive crap from magazines makes your blood pressure rise, ditch the magazines. Send $10 to school in an envelope and call it a day.
Or send nothing. Support your school in other ways. Volunteer. Clip box tops. Whatever. School fundraisers? I literally cannot add that stress to my life.
Kids going up the slide: I used to be that mom who would scold my kids for going up the slide, fearfully glancing around at other parents who I was SURE were judging me for my feral children.
I have discovered a huge Life Truth in my 10 years of motherhood: Going up the slide is half the fun. It is a two-function playground toy. Also, I don’t have the energy to keep my kids from going up the slide. That’s a losing battle.
New rule: No going up when someone wants to come down. DONE.
Pushing potty training: My youngest son is closer to 3 than 2 and still wears diapers. He does do his business on the potty about 1/3 of the time so I’m pretty happy about that. But I am not in a hurry to “for real” potty train.
Been there, done that. House smelled like pee for a year.
New motto: When the kid is ready, he’ll be ready. Right now, the Lightning McQueen underwear we bought freaks out the 2 year old. No biggie. He will be ready one day.
Screen Time Guilt: (Eh…I’m still working on this one). Here’s the truth: Screen Time is a life saver. It calms the 4 little tornados I gave birth to long enough for me to breathe and hear myself think some days. We balance out our screen time with a lot of park playing and slide climbing. It’s all good. No guilt, no shame.
Parenting comes with a lot of crap—literal and figurative. I’m so glad I’ve learned to chill out about a lot of things over the years and rid myself of the toys, obligations, and expectations that have only brought stress instead of peace into my life.
What about you? What’s your list of things that you’ve thrown away, let go, learned to live with in your years as a parent?
Photos by Sabrena Carter Deal