Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Decide What You Can Live With

This week I received one of the best pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever heard. It was from a writer I met several years ago named Jenny Herman, who writes on a parenting blog called Many Hats Mommy. She even kindly invited me to guest post one time. It’s been several months since I had time to swing by Many Hats Mommy, but this week was a good one. 

This week, I read a post she wrote on cleaning your children’srooms. The best advice there? 

Decide what you can live with.

Sure, this applies to keeping a clean room. More about that in a later post I’ve got coming down the pipe. More importantly, however, it applies to parenting as a whole. As parents, we want our kids to succeed. We want to put them on the path to success, and we want to guide them to make sure they do everything right.

But they won’t. They’re going to make mistakes. They’re going to struggle for independence. They’re going to push against the mold and force themselves in another direction. They’re going to break the rules. They’re going to do things their way.
As parents, we have to decide what we can live with. 

Sometimes, You Have to Let Them Do It Their Way

Just because it’s not your way doesn’t make it wrong. Sometimes, you have to let kids take the reins and do it their way. Sometimes that might mean letting them fail a test because they didn’t want to study. Or letting them walk to school because they were goofing around and dragging their feet and they missed the bus. Sometimes it means biting your tongue and letting them do the dishes themselves because they don’t want to do it with their brother.

Sometimes it’s smaller than that. Sometimes it means letting them keep a pile of books on the floor by their bed, or having a mess on the top of their dresser, just because they like it that way. Sometimes it means letting them wear pajamas to the store, or having a turkey sandwich for breakfast.

Many days, it means taking a deep breath and reminding yourself that if they’re happy and healthy and nobody’s bleeding, it’s good enough.