“Pick your battles, Cassie.” It’s one of those nuggets of parenting advice I’ve heard from my mom many times over the last 8 years. I used to think it wasn’t very good advice and that I didn’t need advice from my mother, however, life as a parent has a way of teaching you that you really should listen to at least SOME of the advice your parents give you. I’m not saying all the advice you get is good advice, but this particular piece is one I wish I had listened too a lot sooner.
After reading an article on Huffington Post Parents about picking battles with your toddlers I started thinking about what battles I have given up on over the years. It isn’t always easy to concede, but it can seriously improve your sanity. There are days when I still have trouble letting go and those are the days when I doubt myself as a parent and everyone ends up frustrated. I use these moments to take the time to remind myself that it’s not worth the fight no matter how worth it it feels in the moment and I try real hard to let go. Sometimes I succeed and other days I don’t. Don’t judge me, I’m not perfect but I’m working on it.
Letting go is an exercise in patience and love. Sometimes it’s also extremely difficult, especially if you like to be in charge of everything. These are four battles with the kids that I am working on letting go of.
Let them wear what makes them happy not what makes everyone else happy.
All of my kids have their own sense of style. Hell, a lot of the time they look like hobos in their extremely mismatched, inside out and sometimes off season choices. My daughter will put on every single pink piece of clothing she can find and then she’ll throw on her grey and blue Frozen boots and call it an outfit. Silas prefers to wear his shirts inside out and backwards and doesn’t care if his shoes match. Merrick hates brushing his LONG hair and can’t match colors to save his life.
Some days I feel the need to mention that they dressed themselves, others I care less about what people think. As time passes the caring less is taking precedent over feeling the need to make apologies for my kids personal style. If wearing a crazy mix of stuff is what makes them happy and feel good about themselves than I am proud and happy for them. Learning to make ourselves happy is a pretty important life skill, after all.
No amount of getting mad is going to make them fall asleep any faster.
This is a battle I’m still working on letting go of. My kids are the worst about going to sleep. Silas and November are night owls and that drives me crazy. Post bedtime is my time to unwind and spend time with Netflix and the husband. I thoroughly enjoy this time and get pretty frustrated on the nights that my kids just won’t sleep. Those are most nights by the way. I’ve learned over the last 3 years or so that no amount of me getting mad is going to make them fall asleep any faster. No bribe is going to work either. I’ve resigned to just being happy if they are relatively quite in their room and stay in the bed. November will generally stay in her bed if she has a few toys to play with, we often find her passed out with several Barbies and her princess castle in the bed with her.
As someone who struggles with falling asleep, I totally understand how hard it can be. Once I really sat and thought about it that way is when things started to change at bedtime. Our new plan of action is to only go in and say something to them if they start acting wild as hell or if it’s 11:00 pm and we are ready to go to bed. They don’t usually make it that late but every now and then it does happen. At that point at least one of the boys is usually asleep so we put November in our bed and everyone is asleep within 10 minutes. It works for us and the stress of bedtime has been reduced.
Their room doesn’t have to perfect, I just need to be able to get to their beds to kiss them goodnight.
My kid’s room is usually a nightmare. After years of fighting about keeping it clean I have finally resigned to only requiring it be clean enough that I can walk to the bed and back out without suffering a painful Lego to the foot type of injury. I usually have them ‘clean’ it once a week or so but their version of clean is still pretty damn messy. Admittedly, I occasionally can’t deal with it anymore and go in there and pull out all the crap that is shoved in every nook and cranny and make them put it away. That doesn’t happen often though, because I just don’t have time to sit there and dictate where every little thing goes. I have better things to do with my time, seriously.
My room was always a mess when I was a kid and it used to drive my mom crazy. This is one of those things that I can choose to let go of in order to keep my sanity.
They aren’t going to eat that, give it up.
We used to have a rule that the kids had to try at least one bit of everything we made. This is because Merrick refuses to eat pretty much anything that isn’t processed junk. After so many nights of hysterical fits over that one bite we finally decided it wasn’t worth it. It was doing nothing but traumatizing all of us. The rule changed to “eat or you don’t get snacks between meals”. The rule doesn’t always get them to eat what they don’t want, but sometimes, if there are things like cookies for dessert, it does. I figure a 20% success rate is better than the maddening experience that was dinner time prior to the rule change.
Leave a comment below and let me know what battles you choose NOT to pick with your kids.