You would think that by now, with our youngest approaching 2 1/2, we would have taken down most of our baby gates.
But you would be mistaken.
You see, we love our baby gates. I wish all houses that would contain boys would come with built-in ones at every passageway, especially across all entry points into the kitchen (plus alarms on the refrigerator).
In the past, they’ve given us more than just peace of mind. They’ve kept certain areas of the house clean, limiting the potential of clutter to a hallway or child’s room. When our early risers are clamoring for oatmeal and wondering if I might have forgotten how they like it after I’ve made it a couple of hundred times, they can be confined to their rooms until breakfast is ready.
Today was kind of a tough day. I haven’t been eating well dietarily, and it affects me pretty quickly – moody, tired (no, I’m not pregnant!), and I was pretty grumpy most of the morning. As I was trying to be creative and make “egg pizzas” for lunch, the 2 year old cracked an egg on the counter and the 5 year old flipped out because I had to start over when I realized the frying pan hadn’t been washed from the night before after I had put some eggs in it.
“YOU SHOULD REMEMBER TO WASH THE PANS BEFORE YOU COOK!” he screamed.
And with that, a time-out was instilled and up went the baby gate at their doorway for all three of them after lunch.
You might think I’m mean to do that, but you know what? All three boys are in their room right now, with a boundary that they can not cross, and they are actually playing happily now. I threw (I mean, lovingly selected) some toys for them to play with while they were in there, and they have done well so far.
It reminded me of how important boundaries are for children, but also for moms. I think every now and then when life feels overwhelming, I need a baby gate, not just for those times when I need to keep kids out, but when I need to dial it down a little and do less myself. Too many choices can be exhausting, even in your own home.