The Mommy Rules- you know the ones. These are the rules that we are inundated with, starting long before we even welcome a child into the world.
The Mommy Rules tell us how to raise our kids. They tell us that we must serve them eight food groups at every meal, that we must keep the car seat rear-facing until the child gets his driver’s license, and of course that we must never let our children watch TV. Ever.
The Mommy Rules tell us that our children need stimulating toys, but not too stimulating, or they might end up with ADHD. They should be given plenty of time to play independently, but not too much, or they might feel neglected. Toddlers should be on a consistent nap schedule, but they should participate in plenty of structured social activities (which always happen to take place during nap time).
As somewhat of a compulsive rule follower, I find that the Mommy Rules can be extremely overwhelming. But it really isn’t possible to follow them all, not to mention the fact that they often contradict each other (and there are some that are just plain ridiculous!).
And where does common sense and intuition factor in? We are always told that we should “do what feels right for our family”, but it’s pretty hard to do that when the Mommy Rules are constantly taunting us and telling us that we’re not doing it right.
If we were to actually follow every single one of the Mommy Rules (not that that’s even possible), we’d probably look like great moms on paper, but in reality, we’d be well on the way to losing our minds.
And as we all know, a stressed out mommy is never a good thing for anyone.
On the other hand, if we were to completely ignore the Mommy Rules, we’d probably be racked with mommy guilt, and we’d also be ignoring a lot of sound and legitimate advice.
So what’s a mom to do?
I don’t think there’s really an easy answer to this one, but I know that for me, it’s a matter of figuring out which “rules” make sense for our family, and which ones don’t (easier said than done).
It’s also about remembering that for the most part, there are no hard and fast rules- just research, suggestions, ideas, and the current guidelines (which are always subject to change).
In fact, it’s probably a good thing to break a rule from time to time. After all, isn’t that what common sense is for?
As I said, I tend to play by the rules, so the idea of not obeying every single Mommy Rule is a little bit scary. But I know it has to be done- for my sanity and or my daughter’s well-being.
Want to break some rules with me?