So this past weekend as I was feeding my 1 year old daughter, I was reminded of what not to do as I forgot to change out of my crisp white shirt into something more worn. Of course not only did the shirt get completely soiled, but so did my pants, shoes and somehow, bits of my hair had gotten food on them. So here is my list of what NOT to do when around these glorious little beings. I hate lists, but such is life.
Of course everyone KNOWS not to curse in front of small children, but do you really know why? It’s not because they will curse. Every parent knows that eventually children will grow up and use a curse word or two, or three, or ten. But it’s because these little sponges will embarrass you in front of other people before the legal curse age limit. Ever heard a 1, 2, or 3 year old spout off curse words in inappropriate times, without context, and to other people? Yeah, it’s embarrassing. Don’t be that parent of that child. Not only will other people look at you and question your parenting skills, but they will look at your children and judge them too.
Be on your laptop/IPad/smartphone all the time
It’s hard to get away from the screen, I know, I know. But when you are in your child’s presence and you are not required to do work, do not use that time to go check Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Linkedin, Vine, Gmail, etc., etc., etc. I swear I can’t even keep up with all of them anymore, it’s too much. But use this time to face to face play an activity with your children. You are your child’s first teacher. I swear they will appreciate that more than you sitting them on your lap or leaving them on the floor to check the internet. Because this is what you look like. And yes, I’m judging you.
Wear white, or anything that you actually like
This should actually be called ‘any of your clothes’ but I know some people would do a double-take if I said be naked around your children. But parents of small children know what I’m talking about. Don’t you really just want to be naked around your children all the time??? Except for the fact that they might be traumatized later by loose images of mommy and daddy’s body, I swear a majority of us would just not wear clothes. Because it seems like every time you go to put on that favorite (insert piece of clothing here) no matter what you do, it gets messed up just before you go to work, a luncheon, church, a date anything. Sometimes you don’t even need to hold said baby for the clothes to get messed up. These babies are magicians. They know how to mess up clothes from afar.
Forget snacks, drinks when you go out
Forget diapers/underwear/wipes when you go out
Everyone knows babies eat all the time. So to neglect this small fact when you go out, even if you feed them before they leave, can sometimes be a travesty beyond compare. Epic fallouts can happen, meltdowns from parents and children, and whatever you were doing immediately has to be shortened or you end up being that parent at that function. DON’T. FORGET. SNACKS. Just don’t. Don’t also forget diapers/extra underwear. I would make this a separate bullet point but the same can be said for both so it doesn’t need a reiteration of the same point. Just don’t forget them.
Talk about grownup issues
*Raises hand* guilty over here. I know it’s hard. Sometimes conflicting schedules and busy lifestyles only permit those adult conversations to take place in the presence of children. But if it can be avoided, please do. I was raised in an era where adult conversations happened all around me. It was definitely entertaining, and in doing that I developed an ear for listening instead of talking, but the downside of that was that I became privy to times when my parents struggled and times when they disagreed with each other and I internalized it. As a child, the ramifications of that led me to believe we were worse off than we were, and that my parents absolutely hated each other. So if you can avoid the heated debate in front of your children, do it. For your sake and theirs.
(My parents did eventually get divorced, but I still believe the nuances of a relationship caused their rift apart, not an argument or two.)
Alright so here’s my list of things you shouldn’t do around children. Got any to add to my list? If you do, drop me a line or two!