More words of wisdom

I told you last Wednesday how I had put out a call for help on Facebook for moms of grown or nearly grown children to offer advice and words of wisdom for moms still in the fray of child-rearing.  I got a dismal response.  Last week I shared the most touching response that came from my own mother.  Today I share the other nugget of wisdom I got from a mama with grown children.  I’m not sure whether I find it encouraging or discouraging today.  First, let me share it.  Then I’ll explain.

“Pick your battles carefully as your little ones become tweens and then teens. You don’t want to fight a lot of little battles and lose the war when it really counts.  Styles of clothes and hair will come and go.  So as long as they don’t compromise your child’s morality or integrity, you can let these choices be an area where your child is permitted to have some control over their lives.  Your condition would be as long as they do their very best in school, be in school, do their homework and study to make the best grades they can.  Does it really matter if your child has purple hair and wears green and orange outfits? Clothes and hair matter to kids.  As long as they keep themselves clean and always show respect to others it shouldn’t matter.  Hair will grow and color washes out, eventually, and no one wears the same outfits the following year! Give your kids control where you can and you will win when it really counts!” — JudyKay, mother of two ages 40 and 37, and grandmother of eight ages 13, six who are 9 and 7

It’s good advice to be sure.  My husband and I have actually talked about how we’ll handle it if our daughter wants to dye her hair a crazy color when she’s a teenager or something like that.  We came to the same conclusion as JudyKay, that we’re OK with it.  Of course, that’s super easy to say right now when she’s 2-1/2 and I’m mostly just waiting for her hair to grow in enough for pigtails.  Hair dye is far in her future, if at all.

At the same time, I’ve been thinking about this whole choose-your-battles-wisely advice today especially.  Lexiana had two days with my husband’s parents while I was sick.  She had such a great time that she didn’t really want to come home when we went to pick her up last evening.  That makes me happy.  But, she also wore herself out, I think.  Today she has been tired and cranky.  This translates into a whiny child who defies me at every turn in our day.  First she didn’t want to get dressed.  Then she didn’t want to walk from her bedroom into the dining room for breakfast.  Then she insisted she wasn’t hungry, even though I knew she was.  And that was just the first 20 minutes of our day (and only a few of the battles I encountered).  We’ve had countless battles since right up until nap time when I told her she needed to try and rest.  She insisted she wasn’t tired.  I closed her door, switched on the monitor and haven’t heard a peep from her in the 45 minutes since.  She is super tired.  I am super tired.  Along with getting over the flu, I’m also tired of battles.

So, I’ve been thinking about JudyKay’s advice today.  It’s some good words of wisdom.  At the same time I think, “Holy crap!  It gets worse than this?!”  I know it does.  I’ve heard moms of teenagers say they’d go back to newborn and toddler days instead.  I’m not sure if that’s true.  I do know that each phase of parenthood has its challenges.  Each stage has its battles.  Choosing them wisely is a good plan.  Today I’ve let some things slide, like when she burst into tears because I wouldn’t sit where she wanted me to.  Instead of getting mad, I just held her until she stopped crying and we started playing with her Goofy doll.  Or taking off her socks because she insisted she didn’t need them, even though my own feet are cold without socks on today.  She’ll survive, I’m sure.  Or letting her lie down for nap time without her blanket on because she said she didn’t want it (for the first time ever). And other things I’ve insisted on like feeding her breakfast (I also fed her lunch; we just didn’t battle over it), making her wear a jacket when we left the house and limiting access to her Easter candy.

These are my battles today. They will change tomorrow.  They will change next year.  They will change in 10 years.  They will constantly be changing.  I will be doing my best to pick them wisely — which means one of these days you may see my child with green hair or purple hair.  Just smile at her, nod in sympathy with me and move on.

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