How I thought I’d parent versus reality

Childless Jessica would be shocked by current Jessica. I was up on some high horse about the type of parenting I would do someday. It was an aspirational list that any childless person can get behind:

  • no screen time
  • no sugar
  • no princesses
  • no barbies
  • no bedsharing
  • no change to my sex life
  • no change to my wardrobe
  • no special meals for anyone

These didn’t all fall in defeat the moment BB was born, but I could hear their death knell over BB’s sound machine next to our shared bed.

My sex life and wardrobe were the first to go, but also the first to recover. There’s no way to make my kids untaste a Reese’s.

And as a dear friend noted: once you have cinnamon sugar toast, how can you go back?

The descent into Candyland was delayed, but this morning my kids had a box of chocolates for breakfast, so that’s how that’s going.

No special meals for anyone has turned into cereal for dinner.

No screentime has turned into: You get an iPad, you get an iPad and you get an iPad.

I don’t know who the third iPad is for, but I’m sure someone needs it.

The no Barbies has turned into 70% of Hanukkah, Christmas and birthday presents being Barbies. I like to think there is some redeeming value to there being Barbies of all races, shapes and abilities.

The Barbie wheelchairs are very popular with the mermaid Barbies. When I was surprised to notice this, RB gave an irritated sigh,

“Mo-om, they don’t have legs.”

And then the princess thing. There’s nothing empowering about an old fashion princess fairytale, but I’m on board with the recent releases.

So now we have a houseful of whatever dress-up gear you’re into: crowns, swords, gowns, wings. We have enough costumes for the whole neighborhood.

BB had a friend over the other day and she was thrilled to dress up. She told me she doesn’t have any princess dresses. Without meaning to, I exclaim,

“You don’t have ANY princess dresses?”


I do not know this specific mom’s reasoning, but I’m sure I’m 100% on board, even if my current choices don’t reflect that.

Part of the problem is that princess dresses are everywhere. They’re even moonlighting as nightgowns.

When the mom arrived to retrieve her daughter, she was greeted by a houseful of royalty.

There was no time to explain. No chance to say,

‘I hear you don’t have any princess dresses; you’d get along well with my former childless self.’

And with that, we’re soon headed to Canada. My kids will be on their iPads eating whatever and I’ll be in the third row of my mid-size SUV cursing childless Jessica for refusing to get a minivan.