I have started a “bad mom” series of posts about the times I felt the eyes of “perfect mothers” glaring at me (I say this jokingly, but kind of not). You can read my first two installments here, I am sure there will be more to come in the future.
- My strong willed daughter lay on the ground with a tantrum every chance she got and I did nothing to stop her. Park staff would approach her and gently say, “What’s wrong Princess?” and I just thought, “Clearly she’s upset.” But I stayed silent. Yes, I was THAT mom.
- I stockpiled treats (snack bags of chips, cookies, fruit snacks, even Halloween candy I siphoned away from their stockpile) for months in preparation for this trip because rewards work for my kids. Remember rewards reinforce positive behavior and bribes reinforce behavior you want to extinguish. I was reinforcing with rewards ALL. THE. TIME. When I said, “Get in the stroller and I’ll give you a treat!” I immediately saw my tantrumming 2 year old (see #1) stop crying and happily climb into the stroller.
- My kids ate off the floor and I did not care. You will notice there is never any trash laying around on the ground at Disney parks. They are constantly cleaning (how do I get this kind of service at home?), so food doesn’t stay on the floor for long there anyway, but my girls found opportunities to eat off the floor.
- The scene: Early morning, day of departure for Florida, in the security line at the airport, kids are eating pancake from a sandwich bag I packed for them to munch on for breakfast (the girls were up before 5am, I needed to feed them on-the-go)
- What happened: the nice man in front of us takes pancake out of the hands of my daughter and she’s crying (ahem, see #1)
- Then: the nice man explains the pancake fell on the floor and my little one picked it up to eat it anyway because that’s what we do at home (and sometimes at Sam’s Club). Like a decent person, he knew I didn’t see this happen, so he stepped in. I seriously rely on the kindness of others to help me with my kids. My “village” is ever-expanding.
- My reaction: “Oh thank you so much!”
- What I’m really thinking: Meh. What I don’t see….
- I didn’t buy my kids everything they wanted on this magical vacation. If my girls had their way, we would have come home with everything they laid eyes on. They each were allowed to pick two toys and that was it. We actually preempted this issue by spending $30 at the $1 store to buy as many Disney gifts we could to occupy them on the plane and in the airport. The big favorite was a pretend smartphone (no batteries, it just has 3 buttons you can push and hear click) and you would think they were given the pony they have been asking for every year of their lives! They loved making calls to all their Disney and Sesame Street friends, and the phone took on magical abilities like playing movies on the TV at home.
- I didn’t feel the Disney magic (personally). I talked about this in my Disney debrief, but I was on non-stop “mom mode” on this vacation because my kids are small, need tons of attention (for food and safety) and my girls are easily frightened (by completely benign things like sprinkles of water and puffs of smoke)! I wanted to revel in the magic, but it just didn’t happen. I know it’ll be different when they are older, but then they won’t really believe they are meeting Tinker Bell and the pixie dust shrank them down to size! It’s a give and take.
- My kids ate a lot of junk food. We’re vacationing in a theme park so we had a diet of pizza, pasta, fries and lots and lots of treats (see #2 above). I pride myself on how well my kids eat, and how well I can persuade the picky eater to at least try something. My husband and I successfully employ a lot of different techniques to introduce new foods and it works! We did have a ton of clementines, cheese and apple slices packed each day, but once we were in the park, we ate a lot of brown-colored foods during meal time.
- I wasn’t interested in creating the perfect Disney vacation. I think there are two schools of thought when it comes planning a trip like this, either you cram as much in as possible, or you plan knowing you’ll return one day. You can guess which camp I landed in. I booked our trip less than six months in advance, so this means I didn’t have first dibs on character meals (where you eat in a restaurant with Princesses and Disney characters wandering around to greet you and take pictures – these meals easily cost more than 2-3 times my usual date night with my hubby, but I heard it’s SO worth it). Reservations open six months in advance, so the ship had sailed. Somehow I miraculously found a reservation the night before we visited Norway in Epcot, but I wasn’t going to stress over creating the perfect Disney experience for my kids because they are equally happy hanging out in our hotel room or eating Sbarro at the mall. Perspective.
- Next vacation will be something I want to do. This was our first “for the kids” vacation and I’m glad we did it because I really wanted to. BUT, the next vacation will be some place I have not been and want to visit and we’ll bring the girls (because I cannot imagine being away from them for a long period of time, I just need my babies with me. Adults-only trips are for when the girls go to sleep away camp). We went to California earlier this year and it was AWESOME (despite flying nearly 12 hours without any screens). Next vacation will not be solely focused on the girls because when mama is happy, everyone is happy.