Relaxing Standards (Sometimes, a Lot!) Once Child Number Three Is Born

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Have you ever boiled a binky? If so, then you’re likely a parent. It’s amazing how thoughts that never entered our minds as pre-parenthood young adults can not only cause us to obsess but may actually make us lose sleep, which, once we are parents becomes a type of luxury item and certainly not something we wish to squander!

If you’ve been journeying along this path called parenthood for some time, you may have three or more children by now. Do you notice how you grow more willing to lower your own standards as time goes on (and life with your adorable kiddos becomes busier)? It’s okay to admit it; it happens to most of us.

For instance, where the whole binky boiling thing is concerned: You know you’re the parent of multiple children if you go from breaking out the top of the line stainless steel stockpot (for hypoallergenic reasons, of course) to simmer a binky that hit the carpet for maybe a microcosm of a second to the next phase where picking one up off the floor, dabbing it with your own spit and wiping it on your blue-jeans is considered good to go.

Other standards tend to take a hike when babies two, three and more enter the world as well. Remember all the time you spent peeling, paring, dicing and blending whole foods down to baby sizes for your firstborn? I used to keep my carefully blended purees in ice cube trays so as to have ready servings that were the perfect size for baby that I could simply thaw, heat and feed to my little one. By the time baby number four rolls around? You might not be exactly clear what “Puffs” are, scientifically speaking but they must be food items or they wouldn’t sell them in the baby food aisle and your child seems to like them (in fact, so do your older kids who keep reaching in the container to grab handfuls) so — no harm done, right? (Your blender broke years ago on child number two and you never got around to replacing it anyway.)

As you recall your first days and years of parenthood, you may also remember physically removing your toddler from any room where electronic equipment, such as televisions or computers were being used. You were determined to provide as natural and stimulating an environment as possible. Fast forward a decade or so and you’re asking your three-year-old to help upload photos to a social network because he or she is better at it than you.

One of the biggest (and funniest) changes I personally went through between my first child and my tenth has to do with bathing. I’m pretty sure my firstborn was bathed every single day of her life, at the same exact moment on the clock each day, with each body appendage gently cleansed in the same order while I sang her favorite lullabies. This routine led smoothly into the next, which involved wrapping her in plush, enormous towels warmed from the dryer (often handmade by friends, that included little hoods shaped like animals), and finally finishing our hour-or-so nightly bath routine with some type of nicely scented lotion to give my sweet baby her daily massage. By the time the last string of kids was born, I considered hard rainfall, swimming pools or a jump in the lake adequate hygiene, with an actual bath thrown in several times a week.

 I think our children help us grow and mature as parents in many ways. I’m kind of glad I’m not as neurotic or anxious or obsessed as I was when I first became a parent. At the same time, writing this post inspires to check in with my kids make sure they’ve all showered today and have eaten something that wasn’t manufactured in a factory somewhere.

What are some of the funniest changes you’ve noticed in your own parenting style over the years?

Writer Bio: Judy Dudich

Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.


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