As I prepare to leave the house on a 90+ degree day with a kid wearing a long-sleeved track suit, winter gloves, villain mask and dress shoes, I wonder: Will I be judged for my child’s appearance? The short answer is probably yes, but do I really care? NOPE! Knowing what battles to choose when it comes to your kids is a big step in the direction of making life easier for everyone. As parents, we are faced with these decisions every day and we have to know which wars are worth waging. I wish I could give you a definitive list of what is and isn’t, but I haven’t fully sorted that out myself, and to be honest it really just depends on the day, the battle, and the moods of my roommates. Some of the most common examples in my home are:
Battle Ground 1: Male Fashionista!
Me: Please get yourself dressed we’re going to the store.
4-year-old: Can I wear my belt (always worn over clothes), sweater (even though it’s summer) and light-up shoes.
Me: I would prefer if you would just wear a t-shirt and shorts.
4-year-old: But I like to be cozy, and people like my shoes. I’ll wear underwear.
Me: [Insert face palm] Fine, if you hurry.
Battle Ground 2: Let’s Make a Deal Meal
Me: Would you like a chicken quesadilla or tacos for dinner?
4-year-old: I want white pasta (a/k/a Pastaroni)
Me: I am sorry, that wasn’t a choice tonight.
4-year-old: I will eat an apple and cucumbers with it.
Battle Ground 3: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD, GIVE IT TO HIM!
1-year-old: [Incessant wailing, pointing, and the occasional “MINE”]
Me: Please let your brother have that car/guy/lego/straw/animal/cat toy!
4-year-old: But I was playing with it first!!!
Me: Wouldn’t you rather let him see it for those 30 seconds and let him lose interest rather than listening to him scream? (As if rationalization ever works)
4-year-old: BUT I HAD IT FIRST!!!
Me: Just give it to him and you can have an extra 20 minutes of Minecraft
4-year-old: HERE!! [As toy hits brother in the face]
1-year-old: [Screaming ceases and smug smile commences]
While I realize that negotiating with terrorists is never advisable, it is often necessary. The saddest part of the above exchanges is that I negotiate business deals for a living and those adversaries have got nothing on the two toddlers living under my roof! There will always be things that we can’t waiver on. In my house it is generally safety, manners, kindness towards others, and bed time, but let’s be honest, even those are open for discussion at times.
I think what it really breaks down to is doing what is manageable in your daily routine, while still maintaining your sanity (priority 1), allowing your kids to have fun, and making sure that they are learning the life skills they will need to apply when they are away from you.
So if you can balance all of this and still get through your day without the judging stares of strangers, then YOU are a ROCKSTAR! For the rest of us, we know it’s worth the compromises over the meltdowns just about any day of the week.