I’ve been focused on contentment, giving, and self-care lately (you can see a glimpse of this in my last post). I’m working to find contentment in each stage of life and to be thankful that I am here another day. God didn’t create us to be miserable complainers, so I am working on finding joy vs. finding things to criticize.
Part of that journey means assessing some of the bickering and arguing that goes on in my house. In five years, is it going to matter that the cereal bag wasn’t closed correctly? Is it going to stick out in my head that my husband forgot to put a bag in the trash? Am I going to be scarred for life replaying all the times I picked up clutter that probably didn’t result from me…? No, not really.
So, I’ve decided to give up on a few arguments with my kids that seem pretty pointless. As a first time mom, I harped on these over and over. Now that I am on kid #3, I’ve become a lot more laid back.
Here are five arguments that, going forward, I refused to have with my kids.
“You will eat what everyone else is eating.” On paper, it’s a great concept: Stand your ground and eventually, they’ll eat what’s put in front of them. Except they stand their ground and they refuse to eat…and I am not a strong enough mother to say “well I guess you don’t eat.” You want a peanut butter sandwich and chips for every meal? Great! Five packs of fruit snacks per day as a snack? Sure; why not — it’s got the word “fruit” in it! Not so sure about eating the 48 waffles I prepped and want artificially dyed “mermaid cereal” instead? Well, be my guest, child.
“No coloring on that toy.” Nothing drives me crazier than when I buy a new toy (Barbie, car, really anything) and the first thing my kids want to do is color all over it with markers. I realllllly want to jump out of my skin and say “I just bought you this and you want to ruin it…NOPE!” Side note: A kid drawing on a toy is not an art form to me; it’s the ruination of probably the one clean toy in the house at the time. But guess what — it’s their toy. If they want to color all over it to fit their fancy, fine. Color all over it. Just don’t ask me to clean it (you color it, you clean it…).
“Leave the clothes on the dolls.” The time between getting the doll out of the box and finding its clothes on the floor is about 2.3 seconds. As SOON as my daughter gets a new Barbie or a new doll, the clothes come off and are likely never on the doll again. I don’t get it. What is the point of having so many naked baby and Barbie dolls around the house? What fun is a doll if you’re not dressing it up in different outfits? Again — whatever. Don’t ask me for more doll or Barbie clothes when they’re lost; you’r the only who decided that your dolls are part of a nudist colony.
“Make sure the water stays in the tub.” Ha. This one usually comes in tiers: “Keep the water in the tub. Don’t splash so hard. Thanks, but splash in a different direction. OH MY GOD STOP SPLASHING!” I’ve given up. Now, I put a towel on the floor and let the fun ensue. Who cares, really? The bathroom is a mess to begin with, and a little water never hurt anyone. It used to drive me nuts when a seemingly innocent bath turned into a pool party, but again — it’s just water. Pick your battles.
“It’s not my job to clean up your stuff.” Joke is on me with that one. Perhaps it shouldn’t be my job, but I will gladly pick up stuffed animals over another freaking argument. Ideally, the kids would pick stuff up and put it back before they took out the next thing, but the fact is that mine don’t do that. They take out all the things. They leave out all the things. I clean up all the things. Plus, let’s be real here: I hire someone to pick up the shit I left out (thank god for Miss Betty — or my house would be a combination of a restaurant that was shut down after health inspection and Hurricane Katrina).
Ah, it feels great to be honest, doesn’t it? What are you planning to let go of as you move through parenthood?