Eight years into this parenting thing, and I’ve been noticing that there are things my children do that I *automatically* tell them not to do. And then I think, “Why do I bother telling them to stop doing that? They aren’t going to stop.”
So, I’m going to try to stop telling my kids to stop doing certain things.
1. Walking in the snow. Regardless of what kind of footgear they are in, my kids HAVE TO put their feet in the snow. I ask them not to because I don’t want snow all over my rugs or the inside my car. But what does it matter? The sensation I refer to as wetsock isn’t exactly the greatest, and they’re going to complain about their cold, wet feet, but so what? Dirt washes, snow melts, feet warm up.
2. Tilting the kitchen chair backwards. My brother used to do this all the time, and it drove my parents nuts. Dr. Sis and I sat on a bench at the kitchen table (perhaps to prevent this very thing. Hm). It’s futile to tell the girls to not tilt their chairs backwards. I’ve tried to give it up. If they fall backwards, it’s going to hurt. Actions have consequences.
3. JUMPING ON THE BED. Why oh why do children jump on the bed? Is it *because* it drives adults mad? For that matter, why does it drive adults mad (or at least me and Dan)? I want to not care about jumping on the beds. I guess it’s a complicated matrix: expensive furniture that may break, someone may fall and get hurt, the noise.
I have gotten better about a few things:
If my kids want to eat three yogurts, or five cheese sticks, or thirteen raw carrots (that would be Flora), I let them. I try to only limit chocolate and other sweets. You want three cut up apples? In a row? Before dinner? Have at it. (I have to cut M off from clementines, understandably.)
The giggling. Giggling sounds harmless, I know, and in general, giggling is good (so much better than bickering). But giggling when Flora is supposed to be doing her homework — irritates me. Also, giggling when they are supposed to be going to bed. Or eating dinner. Giggling when I wish they were getting a move on with other business — irritates me. I’m trying to get better.
Potty talk. *pshaw* Whatever. As long as they aren’t actually swearing, they can talk about butts, farts, pee, poop all they want. I ask them not to do it in public (loudly, at least); my ILs have a zero-tolerance policy on potty talk at family dinners; and I draw a line at name calling (i.e. poopy head).
There are some parenting things I need to lighten up on. Flora recently asked if I would get upset if she didn’t get married. I thought about it, and I told her that no, if she decided not to marry when she was a grown up, that wouldn’t make me mad at all.
Kate piped up, “But if you don’t get married, you can’t have children.” (I know, but just roll with it.)
Flora murmured, “I don’t know if I want kids.”
I was quiet for a long moment. (This was a “car talk,” by the way. Car talks are the best.) Then I said, “I make being a mommy look really hard, don’t I?”
Flora said, “Yes. It just seems like a lot of work!”
I decided then and there that it was important for me to make my experience of parenthood more fun. I have to laugh more and stop sweating the little stuff. I have to stop yelling (so much).
I have to stop caring about jumping on the bed.
What do you have to stop caring about?