You’ve probably heard the phrase: ‘Do as I say not as I do‘ a thousand times in your life. As a new mom, I keep on thinking about this adage and how flawed it is. Every night, I pray that I will be a good role model for Isla (and our future kids), and in order to do this, I need to act the way I want her to act. Therefore, my mom mantra is going to be ‘Do as I say and as I do.’
This statement applies to all aspects of life, from being kind and respecting all individuals to eating healthy and staying active. I cannot tell Isla to eat all of her veggies if I’m stuffing my face with pizza, nor would I be able to scold her for talking bad about a classmate if I constantly gossiped about my friends. Although many of the examples I can think of pertain more to a few years down the road, I know that I need to get into a good routine now so that she doesn’t grow up watching Sasha and I have bad habits.
One example of us getting into a bad habit is with our meals at dinner time. We spend a lot of money at the grocery store every week, buying organic veggies, fruit, meat, etc. to prepare all three meals at home. There is a delicious health food store and restaurant a stone’s throw from our house that is very reasonably priced, and so a few weeks ago, we decided to get takeout from A Moveable Feast every night (Monday through Friday) to see if we saved money by eating out (making our grocery bill significantly smaller). Not only did we spend less on food that week, it was such a relief not to have to cook dinner and clean the dishes. By gaining thirty minutes every evening, I felt like a new woman!
However, both Sasha and I grew up with a home cooked meal every night prepared by our moms, and I want Isla to have the same because I desire for her to make dinner for her own kids in 20-something years time (Note: This is just ‘our thing’ – zero judgment if you get takeout every day! I am so tempted as those meals were much tastier than mine!). So I bit the bullet, pulled the plug on our A Moveable Feast experiment and am back to cooking two meals for dinner every night (one with meat, one without). Now, instead of Sasha leave and get the food, we have 20+ more minutes together (which is valuable time when your baby goes to bed at 6:30pm!). It is exhausting some days, but it’s the precedent that I want to set for our children. It would be hard to tell Isla to eat at home and to cook something nutritious if all she had ever seen was us getting take-out food. Alas, healthy and home cooked is what’s for dinner, and it’ll be a family affair to prepare.
Another meal time routine that I want to implement (and feel really strongly about) is no phones at the table. We are already strict about having no iPhones on our family walk every evening, but sometimes one will sneak onto the dinner table, typically to snap a picture of Isla with food all over her face. All too often, we see families at restaurants with their teenagers’ faces buried into their phones, not paying attention to their surroundings at all. It seriously petrifies me. So we will forever make a point to keep the phones away from the table to try to prevent this bad behavior now at an early age. Again, I’m a very inexperienced mom, so I know I’ll have to cross the teenager-phone bridge when I get there!
I want to make sure that the ‘no phone’ policy isn’t just for meal times. As I mentioned in my 2015 resolutions, I am working on being more in the moment, which really means putting my phone away. I do not want Isla growing up with a mom who is constantly on her phone texting, talking or playing on social media. I want us both to enjoy the moment and to life each second to its fullest, which normally will mean putting the phone away (one of the biggest lessons I want to come from ‘Do as I say and as I do’). As you’ll see from all of the pictures in this post, Isla loves my Rifle Paper Co.-clad iPhone more than any other toy, and it’s sad because she probably adores it because she sees me using it so often. I’m ready for that to change! Like I said in the January 1 post, I may not text back immediately and may totally miss a social media post, but that’s a sacrifice I have to make for my family.
Another related issue is texting and talking on the phone while driving. According to a recent survey, a scary percentage of adolescents have witnessed their parents take risks like these while on the road. Of the teenage participants, a stunning 91 percent responded that their parents talk on a cell phone while driving; 88 percent reported that their parents speed, and 59 percent indicated that they text message from behind the wheel (source). What’s sad is that the reports also demonstrated that parents are teens’ primary driving influence. Sasha nagged me for ages to use Bluetooth while on the road if I need to talk, and once Isla was born, I did it immediately. Having such precious cargo means I am more than fine to wait until I’m stopped to respond to any urgent texts – doing so while driving is just not acceptable. I know I’m 15+ years away, but letting Isla get behind the wheel on her own frightens me so badly, and I want to make sure that I walk the walk and talk the talk with appropriate driving safety so that she follows my instructions.
I know that as a parent, there are a million more lessons to be learned, but this is my focus for the moment. Do you have any advice for how to help implement ‘Do as I say and as I do?’ Does any of this relate to your family as well?