Do as I Say!

I was so smart about parenting, before I had kids.

I made those statements of parental judgement…you know the ones:

  • THEY should really be more consistent with discipline.
  • THEY should not say that to their kid.
  • I would NEVER do that!

Now I have three boys {ages 6, 8 & 10} and my Department of Parental Advice Sweeping Statements has not only permanently CLOSED, but I am issuing formal apologies for all previous actions.

Four years ago I had this epiphany, let me recount that chain of events…

It was THIS day.

The day I took a photo of my 2 year old lounging back with his feet on the kitchen table making demands.

But the groundwork for this day started years earlier.

When I was pregnant with my first baby 11 years ago, I read every parenting book ever written.  I am very thorough.  I don’t remember exactly which one it was, but I think it was in the Baby Whisperer who said something like “ START as you plan to PROCEED.”

The technique was really successful. I used this technique for everything:  naps, bedtime, sitting at mealtime, snacks only in the kitchen, etc. I found when I started something the way I wanted it to go, the kids were too young in the beginning to argue and then I theorized that when they reach debating age, it has always been done that way so it doesn’t occur to them it could be another way.

I was a very smart parent.

Things were going really well.

I should write a parenting book.

And then my kids got older.

As the kids got older, they got smarter.

Then I noticed they were using their newly acquired intelligence AGAINST me.

This masterful manipulation surfaced at breakfast.


It started out innocent enough. Breakfast seemed to be the time that I had the most time. Breakfast seemed to be the time I could break a few rules. Breakfast became the time the kids could choose what they wanted to eat.

Breakfast started spiraling out of control.

So what happened THAT day?

Rhett, age 2, woke me up at 6 am demanding to “EAT!”

With all the patience I could muster, I held off this request for 30 minutes because it was a SATURDAY.

At 6:31 am he consumed 1 1/2 bowls of instant oatmeal and 1/2 cup of soymilk. He then yelled, “DONE!”

Approximately 23 minutes later he returns to the kitchen, pulls the Quaker oat box out of the pantry and screams for “OATMEAL.” I quietly explained how he already had oatmeal.

“THIS OATMEAL!” he argued.

I thought for a moment and then decided, “at least he is screaming for something healthy.  I guess I can’t turn that down.”

7 minutes later the second batch of oatmeal is made. The oatmeal is portioned and set in front of him. He yells, “FRIDGE! HOT!”

I picked up the oatmeal bowl and set it in the freezer for a few moments to cool down.

He continued to complain while the oatmeal cooled.  It was at this point I took the picture of his tyranny.

I took the child size oatmeal portion out of the freezer and set it in front of him on the table.

He took 5 small bits and then screamed, “TOAST!”

It was while I was making the toast that I realized that it was THAT day I was doing ALL the things that I had mocked earlier.

It was THAT day that I realized that any parenting book that I author would be titled…

Do as I Say, Not as I Do.

Every mom tries to do the best for their children’s health and happiness.

What’s your favorite tip for raising a healthy baby?

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