I recently took my daughter to the pediatrician for her five-year-old check-up. I left with a healthy, thriving five-year-old and a strong case of the “Am-I-Doing-This-Rights?”
When we go to these appointments, I try to answer all the questions honestly. You know the drill – how much screen time, typical diet & nutrition, social behaviors, chores/responsibilities around the house, etc. It never fails that in the midst of the line of questioning, I feel like I have to explain myself, to say that we’re working on this or that. And even though my pediatrician (and her staff) nod and smile, seeming to understand, and I’m nearly certain they aren’t judging me at all, I still leave judging myself and feeling subpar.
And the truth of the matter is that my family’s routines probably wouldn’t be found on a Pinterest board. Examples…
We have screen time in my family. I’ll go a step further and admit that I regularly use screens to distract my kids so that I can get other things done. AND all of the shows aren’t educational, either! (The Bubble Guppies are having underwater campfires… so, physics… yeah.)
I don’t force my kids to eat certain foods and I don’t make them go to bed hungry if they don’t eat the meal I’m making for dinner. (I value my sleep far too much for the latter!) We all like different things. My kid doesn’t like meat, so she doesn’t eat it. She eats a lot of healthy foods that she likes. For protein, she eats plenty of yogurt, cheese, beans, and nuts. Oh, and hot dogs and chicken nuggets— because she says they aren’t really meat. (Can’t argue too hard there.) At the same time, I’m not going to change the way I eat to fit her preferences. So, I often make two meals – one for the food that her dad and I like, one for the food she likes. I encourage her to try new things and she does, because she knows that if she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to eat it. It works for us – the kid will eat roasted broccoli like it’s a treat and a bell pepper like it’s an apple.
We haven’t gotten deep into chores and responsibilities, yet. In general, she knows our house rules. She’s kind to her sister. She shares with her friends. She regularly helps her dad and I clean the house. She doesn’t set the dinner table because we don’t eat dinner together as a family. One day we will, but right now, her dad and I don’t want to eat at 5:30pm. We feed the kids then we eat together once they are asleep (and we actually enjoy our meal without constant interruptions). She doesn’t pick up her clothes and put them in a laundry hamper because we don’t have a perpetual laundry hamper upstairs. In case you’re curious, I have a rotation of laundry baskets coming up and down the stairs at any given time, with the clean clothes regularly sitting for several days before they get folded and put away. It’s my reality. I’d rather go around appropriately gathering soiled clothes than take the chance that my kid will accidentally mix dirty clothes into my sitting “cleans.”
Why am I telling you all this? Because some of you are going to leave your pediatrician’s office or friend’s house, or in-laws’ house, or wherever— thinking you aren’t doing it right. It’s inevitable. But, here’s the thing. What my family is doing works for us. We’re happy and healthy. My kids are meeting their learning and developmental milestones. There are things that we are doing our own way, and that’s ok. Your way is ok, too! So, when that moment hits, I want you to know that you’re doing just fine and I’m in your corner. Shake off the “Am-I-Doing-It-Rights” and pat yourself on the back for all the things that you ARE doing right!
Hey y’all! I’m Katie and I live in Delafield with my husband, Mike, and two little girls. Lizzie is 4 and Anna is almost 2. We moved to Lake Country a little less than a year ago and we are so happy to be in such a wonderful community. I am originally from Arkansas but have moved around for my career, living in Chicago for several years and then most recently Seattle for 8 years before settling down here. I recently left my career in software account management to become a stay-at-home-mom and I’ve been relieved with the slower pace. Some of my favorite things include reading, listening to podcasts, writing, volunteering, and doing crafts with my kids. I have a mild obsession with Costco and I wouldn’t want to live without my chap stick. I love learning new things and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to write about the things I learn for The Lake Country Mom!