I’m not perfect (gasp!), but since my oldest is rounding the corner to her teenage years, with my son soon following suit, I thought I would pass on a few words of wisdom.
As parents we have got to do a better job of picking an choosing our battles. I have read so many articles (and have written some as well), about how frustrating motherhood and parenting is, how the plight of a SAHM is harder because your with your kids 24/7; and honestly, it always the same things. My kid won’t eat, they follow me to the bathroom, they won’t put on a jacket to go outside.
In the grand scheme of things, is any of this really important enough to stress over? No, it’s not. Obviously if your kid is doing something dangerous then yes, by all means, freak the hell out. But don’t make daily battles of small things.
A lot of this is things that I have the privilege of saying from hindsight. However, even with that being the case, I have been able to practice it with my younger children as well. Is every day perfect? No. Most days I want to run out the house screaming and leave them there. But I don’t and I won’t. I just suck it up and move on.
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So if you are feeling frustrated and a bit of daily burnout, here are a few things that you can start relaxing about as a parent.
1. Putting on a jacket to go outside.
We live in the south, the weather gets cold but not deathly cold. My husband is originally from Chicago, so he knows cold weather. My grandmother would always say “put on socks before you get the ‘pleurisis” (which I am assuming she meant pleurisy, that my sister did catch in her 20’s). All of those years of running around the house and outside with no socks or shoes, or even putting a jacket in 40-degree weather did I ever catch the flu.
My son wears a jack in 90-degree weather, whereas my 12, 4 and 2-year-old daughters prefer to not wear them. So instead of chasing my two-year-old around the house, or holding her down to put the jacket on, I let her forgo it. Of course, I keep one with me, just in case she changes her mind.
75% of the time she does. In which case, she then puts on the jacket. And we didn’t even have to fight about it.
2. Not eating dinner.
I have three of the best finicky eaters ever. Meaning they will eat whatever you put in front of them, but they aren’t always hungry. We have one rule, take three bites and if you don’t want anymore, you can leave the table. I know that if they are hungry they will eat. The one thing I hate is seeing kids being forced to sit at a table and made to finish their plates.
An unfinished plate of food isn’t going to cause them to starve to death.
3. Not making the playing time on the team.
If your child is 4 years old playing soccer (or t-ball, basketball, etc;), if the coach pulls them out and they sit a good chunk of the game, it’s not the end of the world. I guarantee there is not a NBA contract on the line if Bobby sits down for a few minutes (or even half the game) at your local park. They will survive. More than likely they will only show emotion if you are super emotionally about it.
4. TV for more than 1 hour a day.
I’m pretty strict with television and electronics. But there are days that I’m just like screw it, and yes I will plop them in front of BabyfirstTV or re-runs of the Berenstein Bears until I properly adult.Which usually is after a couple of hours.
Their brains don’t mush. My older children about both honor students and in my mind little geniuses.
5. Bedtime routine.
Now if you read my previous post about the importance of a routine, you may think that I am a hypocrite. But I’m not. If bedtime is causing you and your child too much stress and anxiety at night, then don’t fight with them. My kids are in bed no later than 6:15 (sometimes 6:30, if I just can’t), but that wasn’t an easy feat, nor did it happen over night. There were plenty days where they just wouldn’t lay down, or if they did, they would be up every five minutes asking for me to put on their blanket.
Don’t let a routine consume your life. Routines are great and I am all for them, but not at the expense of my sanity or my kids.