I don’t know if it’s just my personality or if this is totally a mom thing. (Since I’ve seen plenty of laid-back moms, I’m guessing it’s more my own issues.)
Sometimes I feel that my approach to parenting is simply to move from one small crisis to the next, getting worked up over whatever needs to be taken care of in the moment. Or, if there’s actually nothing I need to be addressing in the present, I’m probably worrying about what the next issue will be!
I think it’s the worst with the oldest child. As my parents would say, she’s the “learner child.” Working through problems with her is typically a brand new process for me. With just two children, I guess my youngest is the only one who will benefit from my (hopefully!) learning from my mistakes.
Essentially, I find that I sometimes make EVERYTHING a big deal. I’m writing these words today to remind myself to take deep breath, followed by a step back, and remember this advice.
Only make things that really are a BIG DEAL a big deal. Let the little stuff go. Not every battle is worth fighting, especially if winning is going to drive a long-lasting wedge into the relationship I have with my child.
Let the BIG DEAL stuff be my big deal, not someone else’s. To me, eating to a certain level of healthiness and getting enough sleep most nights are a big deal. Yes, we have PopTarts® in the pantry and chocolate yogurt in the fridge. But the girls get fruit in their lunch box every day. Several times a week, I try to serve a vegetable they at least tolerate enough to eat. And as for getting enough sleep, that’s to benefit me as much as them, ’cause nobody likes to deal with a sleep-deprived, emotional teenage girl! Someone else’s big deal stuff may be totally different than mine, and that’s okay!
Remain calm and let the drama flow around you. I can get sucked in to whatever the current issue is…I lost my homework! My friend won’t play with/talk to me! My favorite outfit is still in the dirty clothes hamper! Guess what? There will be a new drama tomorrow. But if I get drawn into it, I can’t give good advice or help them see past the problem and come up with a solution. (Honestly, this is what my husband’s for, too! He’s much better at remaining calm through it all.)
Hitting milestones ahead of time is fine…but so is letting my child develop at her own pace. Everything doesn’t have to be a race to be first. I can encourage my child to excel whenever she can. But if her ability in a certain area is average, that’s okay. If she can improve by working hard, great. But if average is her best in that area, I can deal with that.
Focus on what’s really going to matter when my kids are 30. That’s their walk with God, their character, their generosity, and their relationships with others. If I want to be hyped up about something, I should focus on what I can do to grow my children in those areas.
If I’d mastered all this as a mom, I wouldn’t be writing about it!! I’m sure today will be a challenge in one of these areas, so I’d better print this out and hang it on my refrigerator!
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