On Saturday we went as a family to see Iron Man 2 in the theatre. That’s right I took my 4 year old to see a PG-13 movie. It wasn’t his first, and it won’t be his last.
It’s completely age inappropriate, and if you had asked me when I just had one child if I would have allowed my kids to even see the film at all I would have said HECK no. (What? This is a PG blog!)
Does that make me a “bad” mom?
I still struggle with being a “bad” mom. On one hand I know that he’s the 4th kid which means he has both the place in the family that gives him an easygoing personality, and he’s the youngest which means he gets exposed to things the other kids didn’t at his age simply because he has a 12 year old brother. But on the other hand does that make it right?
We still shield the kids from things we feel aren’t age appropriate, and there are plenty of things we say no to, but I feel a little bit of guilt thinking about the differences between my boys.
They are 8 years apart, but have reached a point where they love to play together. They have fun, play with many of the same toys, and the older one is a huge help with things like frustrating Lego pieces that I had to put together for him when he was 4. (so thankful I don’t have to do that anymore!)
How my boys were different at age 4:
- The oldest didn’t have chocolate or sugar until he was 2, the little one had it at 12 months.
- The oldest had a very limited amount of television, if any, until he was about 8. My little guy gets the maximum recommended for his age group some days.
- My oldest had one on one play with one parent or another for hours a day as a baby and toddler. My little guy was lucky to get 5 minutes with mom or dad without someone interrupting.
- My oldest had playdates, a fun filled schedule, and regular nap and bedtimes (that we tried to adhere to), while my little one gets playdates with the babysitter, a haphazard schedule, and interrupted naps and late bedtimes.
We were a bit of parenting overachievers in the beginning, but thankfully time and more kids have tempered that for the most part. So while I look at these differences, or think about the PG-13 movie I cringe, but then I realize that it’s just a part of being in a family. Not everyone is in the same place, and sometimes that means someone has to stretch or reach down to a place that’s not exactly perfect, but is a good compromise.
I think the 23 year old version of me would be appalled at some of my choices with the kids, but she was admittedly a stick in the mud about a lot of things. She also didn’t know that being a good mother couldn’t be judged by how many minutes you played on the floor with your kids.
My current 33 year old self still doesn’t get it all the time. Thankfully I have a husband who does, and can remind me if I need it, and I needed that this weekend when I was considering us all going to the movie.
I’m so glad we all went. It was action packed and violent at parts, but it was fun. It entertained us all, plus we have a little superhero loving boy who was thrilled to get to see his favorite superhero on the big screen.
What rules have changed in your house as your kids have grown? Do you allow your kids to do things that others might think are inappropriate?