When I was pregnant with my daughter, I wanted to be prepared for anything and everything that would come my way.

I read books, magazines, message boards online (pre-blogs!), as well as watched baby shows, pregnancy shows and more. I would watch mothers with their kids and judge away (so easy to do pre-baby) cause I swore I would do better, I swore I would make my rules and plans and stick to them. Ha! Every idea and plan I had in my head flew out the window starting with my birth plan (can’t really have a plan when they refuse to come out) to sleeping arrangements (sleep?) and even how often I showered (5 mins during a nap- hair washing optional, yay buns!). Here’s a few other things I had to let go of not doing as parenthood escalated: 

Never Let My Child Watch TV

My friend used to tell me that Sesame Street saved her sanity. Every time I was there, her daughter would be happily watching Sesame Street for the bazillionth time. I just watched in shock...I would be so much better! My kid wouldn’t even look at a TV ‘til she was grown! Fast forward to my daughter as a toddler either chasing the cats, trying to climb up the bookcase or throwing mommy’s new cell phone in the toilet (this is when I learned to buy phone insurance). The only time I could sit and relax? When Dora the Explorer came on. You can bet I had that DVRd and looping all.the.time.

Never Say “Because I Said So”

This, we all tell ourselves: I won’t turn into my parents. I swore up and down I would never utter the words that annoyed me all my childhood. Until my daughter wouldn’t quit asking why she couldn’t eat cotton candy for dinner. Or why she couldn’t have a phone at the age of seven. Or why she had to clean her room. Over and over. BECAUSE I SAID SO. Lesson learned: Dear mom, I’m sorry.

Never Let My Child Dictate What/Where We Ate

When my friend became a mom, we went from eating at the coolest eateries in town on our lunch meet ups to dining at Denny’s and rating restaurants based on their kids menus. I swore my husband and I would not do this. Our daughter would be so well behaved we could take her everywhere and she would eat anything. Um, yea. Turns out her version of fine cuisine is which pizza delivers the quickest and while she is well behaved, she also makes her boredom very well known. They don’t call them “family” restaurants for nothing. God Bless You Grand Slam.

Never Bribe My Kids

My kid was going to be born perfect and I would never have to barter cause she would always do what I asked. And then the dish ran away with the spoon. Kids are probably the best negotiators in the world and a bribe every now and again, or letting them sleep in your bed safe and sound, will keep everyone in the family sane.

Never Let My Home Become a Toy Box

I used to try to clean up when my daughter was a baby. I did an OK job and would often scoff at moms who looked crazed and tired. Then my daughter learned to walk and I would stare at my floors with memories of what it looked like before toys. Lesson learned: As long as scissors, knives or other ouchy items aren’t on the floor, cleaning can wait.

Celebrate When It’s Back To School Time!

To me, summer was going to be a time to bond with my child. We would take day trips, do crafts, have picnics on the beach and tons of fun under the sun. I quickly realized that the mantra for my daughter’s summer vacation shuffled between “I’m booooored” to “let go spend lots of money”. I am no longer a fan of summer. My favorite holiday of the year? Back to School day! School is awesome, but it’s a mom’s secret best friend.

Motherhood is an amazing, fun filled ride that is both heart-filling and terrifying. It’s one of those things that no matter how you think it will be, and how much you plan ahead, nothing ever goes as planned. And yet, it’s still the best thing to ever happen to you.