I'm not big on following rules. When I was in high school, my parent's rules were simple:
"Don't do anything immoral."
"Don't do anything illegal."
"If I'm asleep (mom), don't wake me up unless you are dying."
Pretty straight forward and not a lot of room for loop holes. (My brother was the king of finding loop holes, still is actually....hence the straight forwardness of said rules.) When I went to college my mother KNEW I'd have a hard time with FC's strict set of rules. So she told me this "Just don't do anything that will cost me extra money." I may have left FC with 17 demerits but I never ONCE failed room inspection and got a fine for it. ;)
I don't really buy into any sets of "rules" for parenting. I rather enjoy breaking the social norms society has set for mothers.
"Don't breastfeed in public." - This is hands down my favorite one to break. Modestly of course but, my kid needs to eat so, he's going to eat.
"Don't put your kid in bed with you." - That whole idea that they'll never leave. Um, who's the parent again? It may not be strictly AP but if your child is old enough/mature enough/ready for their own bed...it's time to put your foot down as a parent and say so. I would never advise a parent to let a child of any age CIO but, you can make the transition to their own bed pretty easy. That being said....Andrew left our bed for naps around six months and left around 12-13 months for nighttime. He was ready and made it clear he wanted his own space. Not really forever. And the whole danger situation --- more kids die in cribs every year than they do in their parents beds. And it is estimated that 90% of the world practices co-sleeping.
"Don't hold your baby too much." This is another stupid rule. You can't spoil a child from holding them too much. What you CAN do however is give them security and let them know you are there for them. And that's when they learn independence.
I could go on with those....but, hey....that's not really the point.
I do have one rule about parenting that I really refuse to break though. It's my own, I made it for myself....but I would try to urge other moms to take it on.
"Don't engage in housework/chores while your child(ren) nap."
For the first 2-3 months of his life, Andrew got in all his sleeping at once. He went to bed around 9pm and didn't budge till after noon the next day. I learned quickly how to do chores, housework and cook while he was awake.
When he did start napping, I became this furious cleaning monster. I could clean our entire apartment in an hour...but boy, I was exhausted. And then Andrew would wake up and want to nurse every 30-45 minutes and that wore me out even more.
After a month of trying that...I gave up. I began learning how to clean, cook and take care of the home while my son was awake. When he went down for his naps...I had mommy time. I read, blogged, scrapbooked, watched a TV show, ate a snack, showered or slept. I became a much happier mommy because I was getting regular down time everyday.
Around the time I figured this out (Andrew was 7 months) was beginning to become interested in what I was doing. He wanted to push the buttons on the washer and dryer. So as I loaded the washer, I sat him beside it on top of the dryer and let him "help". It took him the same amount of time to throw in two socks that it would for me to throw in the entire load...but he was so happy. I didn't mind that it took ten minutes just to load the washer. I did the same with the dryer.
When he started walking, he wanted to help vacuum. My living room isn't that big...but it takes about 20 minutes to vacuum because Andrew is helping. He likes to help cook (when we aren't quite to the point of using heat yet)...he will stir and throw in ingredients. He likes to help with laundry. He doesn't quite understand the concept of folding clothes but he knows which drawers they go in. He also can open and shut those drawers. He helps me dust. I have a special dust rag for him and he gets to do the coffee table while I dust the living room. He really only wipes off maybe 1/5 of the entire table but he is SO happy to help. I am on the look out for a kid-size broom for him....as he now wants to help with sweeping!
It fills up our morning too. I have my housework broken up into daily chores and weekly chores. I vacuum, sweep, wash dishes and make beds daily. On Monday and Fridays I do bathrooms, on Tuesdays I mop, on Wednesdays I dust and Thursdays and Saturdays are laundry days.
He's learning valuable lessons. And I'm happy to have a helper.
He's down to one 2-2.5 hour nap a day and during that time, I relax. Like right now...I do something I enjoy.
As wives and mothers, we know our priorities are our husbands and children. I love that I get to spend my day serving my family. But I also know for me, I am a much happier wife when I take a little bit of time for myself.
Most women I know and admire look at the woman of Proverbs 31 as their guide. But I imagine that even she took time to do things that she enjoyed. A lot of times those things are still in service to others. I love to bake....and it can be something I do while Andrew naps and then later I can share it with family, friends or neighbors. I just now getting into card making and I know that is another way I can serve others and still do something I enjoy.
But don't feel guilty if your "me" time is a glass of water and your favorite TV show. Recharge those batteries and enjoy your quiet time. :)