Not every single parenting decision is worth stressing over.
I’ve said before that parenting my boys who are now 7, 9, and 10 is so much easier than when they were babies and toddlers, assuming a big part of that is simply that they can do some things on their own and I no longer live in fear that one will dart in front of a passing car while I’m trying to fasten his brother into a car seat. They all sleep through the night and I’m not changing diapers and I can blink- they don’t need me to be there every second of their lives.
And while yes, that is a big part of it- how they’ve grown and are more independent- another huge factor is that I now realize not every single decision is one I need to agonize over.
When they were babies, it seemed like every small choice I’d make was one that WOULD AFFECT THEM FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.
When to introduce solids, should I let them cry it out, breast or bottle, playgroups, naps, whatever it was- it all fell on me to decide and it seemed like everywhere I turned, there was some other mom shouting that any mom not doing things her way was doing it wrong and would forever scar her child.
So I stressed over every little thing, making pro and cons lists, then second guessing myself later anyway. Sweating the small stuff and wanting to kick anyone who suggested I shouldn’t do that.
But then, my kids became their own people, with thoughts of their own on how some of these things should go.
They still have to listen to their mama when it comes to our family rules- which mainly have to do with keeping them safe and with being kind, decent human beings- they have a lot of choice.
They might not always make the choices I would, but I figure that’s how their whole lives will go, so why not start getting used to it now?
My boys don’t run the house- that’s MY job and they WILL be respectful to me (and their dad, too, of course)- they aren’t allowed to do whatever the hell they want. But if you look at the small stuff, the things that aren’t hurting anyone no matter what they choose- they can make that choice.
I can remember a fight practically breaking out in a moms’ group over whether or not a mom should pierce her baby girl’s ears. I had no dog in that fight, so I sat back and watched the madness. Everyone seemed to have an opinion and it’s one of those parenting decisions I would have agonized over back in baby days. And now, should one of my boys want his ears pierced, we’d have a conversation about it, making sure he knew what responsibilities he has and whatever else goes along with it, and then, if he still wanted to- sure, whatever.
Same goes for hairstyles, clothing choices, selecting activities, sleep schedules (when they don’t have something they HAVE to get up for the next day), food choices (as long as what they’re eating is healthy most of the time),maybe hair colors and tattoos when they’re a little older and so much more that are topics not worth me stressing out over.
Give me something that matters, that could cause harm to one of my kids or means that my child is being a disrespectful or mean jerk to other people- and oh, YES, I have not only an opinion on, but a rule I’ll lay down in my house that my boys will have to follow.
But, I’ve realized that not every issue is that important and not every battle is one I need to fight.