People always say to choose your battles; in relationships, in parenting, at work, choose what is most worth arguing over because you just can’t fight over everything.
In parenting, it is wise to know that you will be faced with choosing these battles on the spot, in the heat of the moment, no less than eleventy times a day, and all while your kids are watching.
Here are five of the arguments we’ve chosen to walk away from in our parenting journey so much so that I don’t even notice when they happen anymore.
Seriously, friend, it is freeing. Pour yourself some wine straight from the box and lean in close because you’re going to want to take notes.
What My Kids Wear.
I have very clear memories of my mom sending me to my second week of kindergarten with a note for my teacher explaining that she wasn’t a bad mom but she simply refused to argue with me every morning over what I wore.
She had tried to wrestle me into lace-trimmed floral dresses since birth and, friend, I strutted to Mrs. Pelligrin to hand that note to her sporting yellow corderoy overalls (in August), a Smurfette belt, AND my little brother’s Batman suspenders. No one could’ve convinced me that I didn’t look like a BOSS!
So, as I now parent, we have gone to the grocery store and to popular parents’ birthday parties in everything from superhero costumes, rain boots and short shorts, and entire head-to-toe varying colored camo. And, mark my words, “I DO NOT CARE.”
If my kids want to look like wild hobos in a Halloween parade, I will let them rock out while telling them confidently that they look freaking amazing because, guess what!? They do! They got up, dressed themselves, and feel good about their choices. That, my friends, is a parenting win!
When My Kids Curse.
I’m not talking about going on an f-bomb rant here, but as a teacher and a parent I feel like we need to chill out over some ways our kids act out.
Our kids are three and seven and our older son has behavioral diagnoses so we are very careful about how we respond to most everything he does. We don’t cuss in front of our kids because they are both chronic repeaters, but that doesn’t mean we put ear plugs in their ears when they aren’t at home.
They hear things, y’all. But if our kid drops something and naturally says, “Shit!” We are more inclined to hide our smiles and remind them that isn’t a nice word and keep the convo moving.
If we have a mach 5 freak out, giving a ton of time and attention to a moment of verbal diarrhea from our kids, we are giving that word power.
Comparing Ourselves to Other Parents.
There is no way to make this one easy for you so I’ll speak up for those in the back. YOU are the absolute best parent for your child. Anyone could’ve parented your kids, but God chose you.
We aren’t Suzy’s mom with her perfect crafts and holiday themed snacks. We aren’t Charlie’s mom with her magazine makeup and beautifully highlighted hair. We aren’t Jamie’s mom with her ability to run marathons while pushing a stroller. We aren’t ANYONE else.
So whether you feel your best in make up and a freshly showered bod, or you are rocking some stained yoga pants from three days ago, be you. You are who is best for your kids exactly how you are right now.
This one alone may bring you more peace than anything.
When our son was two he went to a pretty prestigious preschool. It was one of those half day programs for people who could afford not to work a full day. (This was not us. I was trying too hard.)
Somehow I ended up being assigned classroom snack the week of Easter.
Too. Much. Pressure.
My dad came over and laughed at me way more than he helped as I desperately tried to make perfectly egg-shaped Rice krispie treats that were gluten free, dye free, and organic.
Friends, it was a CLASSIC Pinterest fail moment. I was elbow deep in sticky marshmallow goo and the treats looked like misshapen blobs.
Here’s the thing. Kids don’t remember that crap so who are we really doing it for if not ourselves? Unless you get great joy out of making Mickey Mouse pancakes in the morning, STOP! Because, if we are being really honest, that crap is to impress other parents and try and trick the teacher into thinking we have our lives together, but we don’t.
None of us do!
So, if my kids have to take snack to soccer now or bring stuffed eggs for an Easter egg hunt, I don’t fuss over baking handmade goods because baking just isn’t my gig.
I do what makes us all happy instead of wasting valuable time, money, energy, and worry over something literally no one will remember by next week. Not. Worth. It.
Yelling at Our Kids.
If you are about to go full-blown internet troll Karen on me, save it for someone who reads the comments! Let’s just call it what it is. Everyone…ev-er-y-one…has lost their temper while parenting at some point in their lives.
I get it. Yelling, as typical responsive reactions to our child’s behavior, is bad for business. But when my kid hasn’t stopped talking long enough to come up for air in 30 minutes and he hits his sister for the third time today, I might be inclined to lose my Jesus.
This is not something about which I am proud or that I try and make a habit out of, but it is a battle I stopped fighting with myself. This means that if my kids take me to that level of crazy and I yell, and I do sometimes because I’m a normal freaking human person, I take a breath, I get down on their level, and I own how I messed up.
I explain to them what I did and why it was wrong and I ask for their forgiveness.
And here’s why I think that’s pretty great: I no longer have to make myself feel like the worst parent on Earth and I’m also teaching my kids that I’m a real person who makes real mistakes and THAT’S OKAY! I don’t want my kids to think that I have it all together and they should too because I most definitely do NOT and there will be times when they won’t either.
Friends, I love my kids fiercely and I will throat punch a Karen to protect them, but I’m also done holding myself to other people’s ideas of what motherhood should look like, how snacks should be presented at school, or how many days in a row is acceptable to wear yoga pants when never actually wearing them to a yoga class. Nope. No more.
We choose our battles so that we are happier, more joyful, and more free to be intentional with our time and fill our planners with people and things we love.
Free yourself, mama. Be who YOU are and I promise it will be the best decision for your sanity and for your kiddos’ happiness.
This post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page.
I totally hear you on the school snack thing. You are so right, we try to do fancy stupid things for the adults involved, not the kids. They don’t care! I was so excited when my new stepdaughter’s birthday came around to whip out my apron & play super mom. When she said all she wanted was a particular brand of chips & capri suns sent to her class, I thought she was crazy! You don’t want me to stay up all night baking a clever masterpiece that’s going to be destroyed by 20 germy kids that could care less?! What will your teacher think of me?! I was a little miffed, but I sent the chips & the juice. Daughter came back to report that all her classmates thought it was the best bday snacks they’d had all year. Who knew?! Only every junk food company, ever. Of course 5th graders like chips! Duh!