I didn't anticipate my first post being about parenting. And as I write this, I cringe a little at the thought of being dubbed a "mommy blogger" as a result, but I guess there are worse things. I guess I am a blogger and a mom, so we'll roll with it.
Disclaimer: I do realize that being a mother for a grand total of 21 months doesn't exactly make me the most qualified person to give parenting advice. Still, it's human nature to think your way is the right way. And my parenting philosophy is simply that: your way IS the right way. Every mom should raise their kid in a way that fits their lifestyle, as long as you're keeping the kid alive and yourself sane—and I think some moms forget the importance of the latter.
It's a running joke in my family that I raise my first and only child, Grayson, like he's a second child. We've all seen the Luv's commercial that hits the mark on the first child vs. second child phenomenon. And yes, I will gladly hand my child over to a greasy mechanic (for a moment or two) in order to have a free hand. I also happen to exclusively buy Luvs, so that serves as a great analogy for my parenting style.
These are a few examples (of many) where I find myself saying, "I would never let my kid do that....until I had a kid." For the record, my kid is no worse for the wear as a result his "second child syndrome," and my husband and I are much happier people for it.
Baby in a bar
No, I’ve never brought my child to a dive bar while I got hammered on a Friday night. But, I do regularly bring him with me to my local bars/restaurants, and even breweries when I meet up with friends or family to enjoy a few drinks. Grayson has become accustomed to open mic nights at our small local brewery, beer and wings after summer softball league, and lounging in the stroller while we belly up to the bar at our beach volleyball beer league (which happens to be nowhere near a beach, but that's another story).
It’s not that crazy—I don’t keep him out past 8:30 (bedtime) and I don’t drive if I have had more than one drink. And you know what? My almost 2-year-old kid, who can be an absolute terror at times, knows how to keep his shit together in public (most of the time) a heck of a lot better than other kids his age, so I guess my lax rules on baby bar hopping paid off.
Anything qualifies as a toy
I'm sure this isn't just a "second child" thing, but I do think we are super relaxed (maybe too much) about what our kid plays with. He's grabbed pill bottles (child sealed), chapstick, candles, dirty tools—just to name a few—and honestly, I'm happy to let him play with them if it means he's being quiet. Bad mom, I know. But I like to think I supervise my kid pretty well, so even when he's playing with what I'm sure are considered dangerous and toxic items, I'm there making sure he's not consuming anything he's not supposed to. (I'm sure my two eyes won't be enough once there's more than one, but for now I've got it locked down.)
This rule goes for age limits on toys as well. Gray has been playing with "3 and up" matchbox cars since he was well under 1 years old. Yes, the ones with tiny little wheels and other choking hazards. But I'm pretty sure those were the only toys we used growing up—and we started playing with them WAY before age 3—yet my brother and I managed to survive.
This one is probably what I get the most flack for, but I promise my kid is not unhygienic and has actually NEVER experienced diaper rash (yes, I'm serious and yes, I know I'm lucky). I do not change my kid every time he wets his diaper. I may even feel that he has a wet diaper and—*gasp*—completely ignore it. If he's not uncomfortable, he's keeping the diaper on.
My sisters-in-law both crack me up with this, always grabbing Gray to change him when the diaper "looks full." I tell them it's fine, but let them do it anyway. Maybe they're better moms than me, you won't hear me arguing that, but I just know my kid. He's totally cool with a little pee in the diaper. He's most definitely not cool with having shit in his diaper, but that's a given—those diapers are removed Hazmat style STAT.
Let him get hurt
My kid always has some sort of bruise or scrape in a visible location. He's a toddler and he's a BOY, it comes with the territory. I think that once you embrace your fate on this one, you'll worry less and reduce your kids anxiety by a lot—but I'm no expert.
Let them run in the grass. Or on pavement. Let them learn to climb the stairs (with some supervision). Yes, you want to do everything you can to keep them from getting hurt, but you also want them to be resilient and get back up after they fall. Sure, our family vacation photos may all feature Grayson with a goose egg on his forehead, but sometimes you're excited to be at the beach and hit your head on your rolling cooler—that's life! (Thank god for Instagram filters.)
I could go on forever on things that I do with my first child that raise some eyebrows with other moms, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. It should be interesting to see how this "Second Child Syndrome" progresses as we welcome our actual second child this summer...stay tuned!