picking my battles

If there is one thing I’ve learned as a parent (and it’s debatable that I’ve learned anything) it’s to pick my battles. You really want to wear that blue & orange shirt with the red & black shorts? Knock yourself out. You think it’s acceptable to go to school in a t-shirt and no jacket in January? Just don’t tell me you’re cold later. You want to wear flip-flops to swim practice when there are inches of snow on the sidewalk? Go for it.

But sometimes even I have to draw the line. Take for example the pile of birthday presents, cards & books that was lying on the living room floor 10 days after the 10yo’s birthday. 10 days!!! I would drop subtle reminders… not so subtle reminders… suggestions on how to make it easier to clean up… all to no avail. So this week I insisted that she clean it up. Between the power struggle, the tantrum and the crying it took 45 minutes. Actual cleaning time: 4 minutes.


That same child has already thrown down the gauntlet again. The girls are of an age where they are now responsible for putting their own laundry away. For two weeks she has stubbornly taken the neatly folded clothes I lay on her bed and dumped them on the floor. She’s at the point where she has to hunt through the pile of clothes each morning for underwear. (go ahead laugh, it’s as funny looking as it sounds) Last night she told me that she will not put those clothes away no matter what. She was even so angry that when I told her good night she replied “well NOT a very good night to YOU.” She thinks she’s watching a movie tonight with a friend but when she asks me for permission, I’m going to remind her of what she said to me when I asked her to put her clothes away.


The oldest has had some extreme ups & downs in math class this year. We instituted a much-hated rule a couple months ago where she had to review each night’s homework with a parent before she went to bed. Believe me, this was a battle. The system worked well, so after two proven good test scores she requested we ease up. We obliged, after all some day this same child will go to college and I won’t be checking her work then. Next test score? Well, I won’t embarrass her by publishing it but let’s just say it wasn’t good. Her father has been strapping on the battle armor all week for this one.


I don’t have any battles for the youngest one right now. His biggest concern is making sure he doesn’t miss anything having to do with baseball and has time to ride his bike each and every day. I know he won’t always be this easy but for now it’s nice to let my battle guard down.


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