Remember the scene from Sex and the City where Carrie and the gals talk about their secret single behaviors? And Carrie says she eats saltine crackers with jam standing up in her kitchen and Charlotte looks at her pores in a magnifying mirror?
It was one of those funny things from tv/pop-culture that has really stuck with me. We all have those weird things we only do when we’re alone. I can’t think of any of my own right now but I’m sure I have a hundred super weird ones.
Since becoming a parent I’ve realized – most parents have secret parenting behaviors too. Those things that you’re not super proud of but you do anyway and you’re pretty sure other parents might do too.
In starting a family you kind of create your own little unit, your little ecosystem with your partner and kid (and dog, obviously). Isn’t that the joy of immediate family? It’s the inside jokes, the impromptu duets, the words you’ve made up, and the easy ability to be exactly who you are in their presence. And sometimes it’s the things that only you know that you do at home.
Side note: I had never heard N sing until we had Ben. Now we’re basically broadway performers for him, doing full renditions of “A Whole New World” on a Saturday morning before 9am.
Because this post would be no fun without it, I’ll share one of my secret parenting behaviors.
I’m not a big drinker these days. I have one glass of wine maybe 2-3 nights a week.
When Ben was first born, I didn’t drink at all for at least a month. He was so teeny and ate so frequently that I basically couldn’t and I was terrified that even a tiny bit in his system would increase his SIDS risk (read more about life with a preemie here).
As time has gone on, I’ve relaxed a bit. I’ll have a glass of wine after he goes to bed and then I’ll pump before bed, usually 2-3 hours later. This pumping session is just for my comfort and to build up my freezer stash.
There is a ton of conflicting information out there about drinking and breastfeeding. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t breastfeed if you couldn’t drive a car. One study said moderate drinking and breastfeeding can cause motor development issues later. Another study contradicted that. I’ve talked to our pediatrician and the OBGYN, who both seemed pretty laid back about it. I’ve chosen to kind of go with my gut on this.
On occasion when I’ve gone out and had a few cocktails over a several hour period, or ordered two glasses of wine with dinner, etc. I’ll come home and do a little self-assessment. I’ll pump no matter what but if I feel like I’m just borderline and I’m not like two-sheets-to-the-wind or anything, I’ll do this…my secret parenting behavior…
The thought of dumping breast milk down the sink…I just can’t. So I take what I pumped (say, 100mL) and divide it up in to 5, 20mL bags and freeze them. Then I write on them “mix with other milk”. I’ve got all different quantities of milk frozen so when we do need to feed Ben if I’m away for a feeding, we have the option of mixing one of these small quantity bags with say a 75mL of “sober milk”.
By doing this way it would be a miniscule amount of alcohol in the bottle. Again, it’s not like I would ever feed him milk I pumped when I was trashed. I haven’t even been legitimately drunk since he was born. We’ve done our research and this is what we’re okay with.
No one has ever told me about doing this before. I’m in no way suggesting that you do it. I’m just sharing a parenting thing that might be frowned upon but I do anyway.
Will we use those little baggies? Maybe not. But they’re in my freezer just in case. Maybe mentally it will be easier for me to throw them away in 6 months than it was in the moment. I hate pumping and the thought of sitting there pumping and then washing all the pump parts (the real torture)…I just couldn’t do it for nothing.
I think we all have things like this that we do behind closed doors. I’ve seen lots of mamas confess to more screen time than they’d like, or that they spend too much time on their phones (I loved this post by Caitlin recently). I had zero sips of alcohol while pregnant but I did eat raw cookie dough numerous times. We’ve all got our stuff and no one is doing everything “perfectly” (whatever that means).
So when I’m adding to my frozen milk stash each night and I see those small “mix with other milk bags” I can’t help but wonder (bringing it back to the Carrie Bradshaw right there), what are other people’s secret parenting behaviors? Want to be brave and share one of yours?