Two years ago my daughter was a newborn. We snuggled, we laughed, we loved. And then she turned two. Life began to change. The days where we could browse Target at my pace became a distant memory. This is when the battles began.
The grocery cart.
Putting shoes on.
Keeping a diaper on.
Think of the simplest task to ask someone to complete and add it to the list. You get the point.
One day my husband witnessed my daughter playing with the remote control. He asked, “why are you letting her play with that?” My response, “because that battle is not even worth it.”
When these battles began, I learned very quickly what is worth it and what isn’t. Battles worth fighting: it puts someone in danger. Battles not worth fighting: most anything else.
Case in point: last week my daughter wanted to wear snow boots while we ran errands (yeah, we watched Frozen once, or 12 times…). I offered her two pairs of sandals. She cried. She yelled. Okay, snow boots it is.
But here’s why I didn’t fight that — when you wear furry snow boots during a Tennessee summer your feet are going to sweat. How in the world do I explain that to an irrational two year old? I let her wear them, packed sandals, and then waited until she realized it was a terrible idea. Lesson learned without a fight.
Here are some battles that other moms didn’t fight.
We met our realtor today to look at three houses. My son wore flip flops and boxers. My boyfriend looked at us like we were on every drug in the world when we got out of the car (he met us there from work) and I immediately put my hand up and said ‘I’m not fighting it today.’ So that’s how we looked at houses all afternoon.
I don’t argue with my kids about food anymore. I offer them healthy food 3 meals a day. Nobody likes to eat breakfast (my husband and me included), so I quit pushing that. The 4-year-old is in a phase of only wanting to eat gummies for breakfast. Whatever. I ask what they want for lunch, but they all get the same thing and it has to at least include a couple healthy/natural ingredients (such as a piece of fruit or cheese, not just hot dogs and chips). Dinner is whatever I decide to make, kid friendly or not. All food groups are represented, and they are encouraged to eat it all. If they don’t, I don’t beg or punish or force them. They just won’t eat. If they’re hungry, they will eventually come back to the table and finish!
We let art time end up messy at our house. It’s good for Owen’s imagination and he builds confidence in doing things for himself. Sometimes it’s not even worth the battle of saying ‘you have to do it this way.’ The big mess ends up being big fun and big time learning!!!!
And yes — he’s in his underwear cause the kid would rather be nude…and underwear is a step up from that….and yet another battle that I chose to not have.
I know I sound like a bad mom, but I don’t brush P’s hair most days. It’s not worth the screaming or the tears. I’ve tried everything…she has a perpetual rat’s nest and that’s just gonna have to be ok.
I let my kids dress themselves as soon as they were physically able. As long as what they wear is seasonally appropriate (i.e. no flip flops when it’s snowing) and we’re not going someplace special, I don’t argue with them. I also let them wear costumes in public, because why not? Everyone loves seeing princesses and tiny firemen at the grocery store.
Oh I don’t fight this either.
I let my son dip everything in ketchup…if he asks for it and it gets him to eat fruits or veggies, even though it seems gross to me, I don’t care as long as he’s eating them.
Some days the battles make me want to cry. Some days the battles make me laugh. I don’t want to always tell my daughter no, but instead let her realize her ideas are good or bad (again, dangerous situations should be and are always addressed). I want her to be imaginative, creative, and independent.
So, if you see a little girl in a Cinderella dress at Target who is refusing to get in the cart and the mom looks like she’s about to lose her mind, smile and say hi. Tell the little girl how cool her dress is. Because, battles in public are the worst. Give that mom a reason to smile and reaffirm that we’ve all been there. It’s going to be okay.
Choose your battles, mama. And give a head nod and smile to all those moms battling. We’ve got your back.
What are some battles you have chosen not to fight? Let us know in the comments!