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You pick your battles in life - and parenthood

As parents, we all know that there isn't enough energy in us to fight every single fight. So, we pick our battles. It's actually a lot like life itself. We pick and choose what is worth the fight. Sometimes, we get it wrong. Sometimes, we get it right.

This can be challenging when it comes to raising happy children. And yes, we all want happy children. Here's what I ask myself when deciding whether it's a "fight" or a "pass" or a "let her learn her own little lesson here":

  • Will it harm my child?
  • Will it harm anyone else?

If the answer to either question is yes - then my answer is no. For me, it's that simple. The truth is you have only a certain amount of time, patience and energy, and you can't afford to blow it on stuff that doesn't really matter.

Sometimes there is room for compromise. Like when my 5-year old, Emma - wanted to line the dogs up on the floor and see if she could jump over them. No, that can't happen. But, we can put stuffed animals there and give it a try. And no, if you make it, we cannot do the dogs next time.

Again, sometimes no is no.  Period. No, Emma you can not ride your bike just once without your helmet. And no, you can't ride in the front seat of the car just once. No.

Then, of course there are times when I shouldn't let her, but I do because she will learn a lesson. A life-lesson. Like when she didn't want to wear her hat outside. Sure. In ten degree weather it didn't last long. Lesson learned. Or as I like to call it - mom win!

What I don't ask:

  • What will other people think?
  • Will it make a mess?

Mainly because I don't care about either of those things, so they do not have an impact on my answer.

Emma dressed herself in a tutu to go shopping. (Mary Friona-Celani)

One good is example is when I asked Emma to get dressed so we could go shopping, she came down in a tutu and a headband. I was fine with that. It was not a battle I was picking. I was sure people would think we were a bit crazy, especially since it was chilly out (she wore her coat to the store, but not inside). She actually looked adorable. Asking her to change would have been a big deal. Plus, she was so proud of herself for getting dressed all on her own.

The reality of it is - we shouldn't sweat the small stuff. We all know that. Sometimes we just forget. Most of those little battles really add up to some pretty small stuff.

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