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When Being a Bad Mom is Good

2013 March 20

Saltbox House Brownies

So yesterday afternoon Little D and I made the Sisters Gourmet brownies I spoke of earlier this week. It was a fun and easy little project and we all basked in the heavenly scent of them baking while we prepped for dinner (did I mention they were chocolate overload flavor??) and talked about how delicious they were going to be. In true mommy mode, I kept reminding both Little D and Kai that they would have to finish their dinners before they could have one and both nodded enthusiastically. It was Taco Tuesday, after all. I didn’t anticipate a problem.

Lesson number one in parenthood: just because you don’t anticipate a problem, doesn’t mean one won’t pop up.

So Kai had some issues finishing his dinner. He’s two, so we’re used to him being a bundle of energy during dinnertime and going back and forth between his plate and his Legos and we’re fine with it. In the end, he usually manages to eat fairly well. We kept reminding him that he wouldn’t get a brownie if he didn’t work on more of his tacos, but it didn’t seem to matter. He was in more of a Lego mood than a taco mood. Little D loved it and took it upon herself to keep threatening him, while she busily cleaned her plate, “too bad little Kai, you’re not going to get a brownie if you don’t eat.”

But he didn’t.

So we got to clearing plates and I started serving up dessert for everyone, except Kai. And of course, he got upset. And I reminded him that he didn’t eat his dinner and you only get dessert if you finish your dinner (and I balked, yet again, at the fact that I have become my mother)…and his little lower lip started to quiver. And his chocolate brown eyes melted with big, fat wet tears. And he whispered, “I want to eat my dinner now. I want a brownie.” And his little two-year-old face showed so much emotion, so much sadness, so much disappointment, that my darn heart basically split open onto the floor.

I knew what I “should” do. I knew I should prove my point. I knew I should teach him a lesson. I knew I should show Little D that rules aren’t meant to be broken and reinforce her good behavior by not giving in. I knew it all.

So I cut him a brownie.

Half a brownie, actually. To tell myself I was being tough. And he loved that half of a brownie. He ate it up with a smile from ear to ear. He asked his sister for an extra bite of hers. She said no. He washed it down with milk and that almost comical satisfied sigh only a two-year-old can give you.

And I realized in that moment that sometimes the “rules” of parenting are in fact meant to be broken. Sometimes we have to give in a little. Sometimes we have to bend. Sometimes we have to realize that while we may think we are doing damage, we are actually doing a world of good. Sometimes you have to just give them the brownie, even if the green beans (or in this case, tacos) are still on their plate.

Because hopefully life will give them some happy surprises down the road as well. And where better to celebrate them than at home with a big glass of cold milk?

*image above via Saltbox House — hope you are in the mood for brownies now*

6 Responses leave one →
  1. March 20, 2013

    This made me crack a smile so wide, you wouldn’t believe it. My parents were like this, too. They mostly were great at teaching lessons, but you always knew that if you were really devastated, they were going to be on your side. I’ve treasured that knowledge my whole life, and I bet your kids will, too.

    • WWGD permalink*
      March 21, 2013

      Love that, Julie. Thank you for sharing, think it made me love the post even more 🙂

  2. stella permalink
    March 20, 2013

    I have struggled with this one with our two year old too. It used to really stress me out when she would not always finish her dinner or sometimes only eat a couple of bites of it. We have realized that she will eat when she is really hungry and the appetite of a toddler has ebbs and flows. And sometimes, its okay with us if she has dessert even if she doesn’t finish her green beans. Great post.

    • WWGD permalink*
      March 21, 2013

      Totally agree. We realized he eats like a horse in the morning and at lunch and by dinner, he is too worn out. As long as he’s getting his nourishment at some point, it’s fine by us.

  3. March 20, 2013

    Ha, I thought you were going to say that you made him sit back down to finish his tacos. 😉 This is a great post and a great reminder. Sometimes I take myself way too seriously in the rules-are-rules department. In the end, I think your message still got across to him.

  4. liz duncan permalink
    March 21, 2013

    I love this post. I don’t know first hand what it’s like to shape and mold my own child, but sometimes I see my sisters with their amazing children and I just want to shout, “give them the damn brownie.” Of course I don’t do that because they’re their children and not mine and I wouldn’t want them to step in on my parenting. I realize that maybe you have just shaped little Kai to flash his big brown eyes when he wants something, but either way…

    Thank you for just giving him the damn brownie:)

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