On Picking Your Battles

Confession: My son has worn his Halloween costume to the grocery store (I’m not talking during the month of October).  Also, my daughter regularly wears her shoes on the wrong feet. And sometimes, the baby goes out of the house with her hair un-brushed (quite a sight, I promise you) because it wasn’t worth the fight.

But here’s something else you should know:

Picking my battles doesn’t mean my kids are spoiled or that I’m a pushover.

It doesn’t mean we don’t have rules or boundaries in our house and it certainly doesn’t mean my children aren’t held to appropriate standards.

Then what does it mean?

  • It means I’m teaching my children, though modeling, to be flexible and to be comfortable giving up control. Sometimes.
  • To prioritize and know how to figure out what is worth fighting for, and what simply isn’t.
  • That they are the boss of their own bodies and I trust them with that power.
  • That their opinions, feelings, and ideas count and are worth sharing.
  • That there is room for other people’s thoughts among your own and you can negotiation between those respectfully.

So, the next time you see a mom with a kid wearing his pajamas at Target, don’t think that she’s given up.  Instead, think of how much she is teaching her child.  The world will teach him that he probably shouldn’t wear his pjs to the grocery…that mom has plenty of other more important things to focus on.

10 thoughts on “On Picking Your Battles

  1. The other day I asked my three year old son to pick out a pair of shoes while I put his sister in the car. He was wearing his adorable red, white, and blue plaid shorts (patriotic!) and I figured he would get his blue crocs. He came outside and jumped into his car seat in my van. I had to laugh because he had grabbed his camouflage rain boots. They were on the wrong feet. The best part is they were new so they still had the price tag and the rubber string connecting them attached! He was SO PROUD of himself for picking out and putting on his own shoes… And I was so proud of him for doing so 🙂 It makes me smile when I see a kid wearing a princess dress or Halloween costume and they are out and about. As long as they are happy, fed, clothed and taken care of, who cares what they are wearing?!

  2. I think this is great advice. I just have a hard time implementing it. Sometimes I dig in on certain issues, and then I can’t back down, because I feel like that sends a bad message. But I am working on being more flexible…

  3. HSandler – sometimes I have to give my spouse reminders of the benefits as well. A constant work in progress this parenting thing!

  4. I LOVE this post. These are all wonderful lessons for our kids to learn. Says the mom whose daughter wore dragonfly rainboots with her lovely lavendar polka dot Easter dress. 🙂

  5. Thank for this post! I am the mom who lets her 4 year old wear his pj top to school eventhough it is not pajama day because there is enough going on in the morning I don’t need to fight with him!! That he will be alright going out to dinner at “the 9 9 store” with a facepainting smeared around and that when I tell my husband he should just pick his battles and it is not worth it. I can tell him that we are teaching him valuable lessons about being an individual even if the old lady at the resturant gives me a dirty look and mummbles under her breath. I still can smile and continue on knowing taht I am teaching him valuable lessons. Thank you

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