It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose. Well… Actually It Is!
Picking the right battle with your child
My youngest daughter inherited my thick hair gene, which is both good and bad. It is so thick, laden with knots most days and when we were in the South, the child had dreadlocks. She’s quite fastidious about her hair. We go through conditioner like wine in this house and unfortunately some days there’s just not enough of either. So, I offer to help her brush her hair. Again. And again. And again. This is an almost daily FUN event that usually ends up with her in tears and me putting another dollar in the curse jar. She metamorphosizes into a growling wildcat. This last time was enough. “I’m cutting your hair. Like it or not.” My little angel looked at me with those piercing blue eyes and that mass of entangled blonde hair. She then contorted her mouth. Then….did The Headroll. “Well YOU don’t brush YOUR hair.” She has a point.
“True. But I CREATED you. When YOU get to be a mommy, YOU can decide whether you want to brush your hair. For now, you’re eight. Scissors or brush?”
Little Angel 0
This is why we pick our battles: so that we’ll win. We have to assert our power in the right places so it looks like we know what we’re doing; that we planned this whole parent thing precisely and are ready for anything. (As Long as WE’VE HAD SOME SLEEP). They’re quite savvy with their premeditated bag of parental tricks. They gather them in the womb and hone them to precision the older and taller they get. Their timing is impeccable. Sometimes, no amount of books, Internet mommies, or conversations over Venti non-fat lattes can prepare us for some of the doozies that come our way.
We, as parents, share that secret handshake, and that tired, proud, confused, “I get it ’cause I’ve been there” look. We catch each other’s eyes in the grocery store when our children are like goats pulling items off the shelves or in a quiet restaurant when they choose to pull each other’s hair out over their toes accidentally touching under the table. Or, “that look” from friends who have teenagers that says simply “just you wait. It’s going to be rough.” Armed with our Google degree on Proud Parenting 101, age, and experience of, well, having been a child, we’re still all on a wing and a Hail Mary!
We want our offspring to be clean and neat, eat healthy, go to bed at a normal time, do their
homework, clean up, brush their teeth so they don’t rot out, love their friends, love each other, be respectful to everybody, be honest, be safe, work hard, and most of all love us! As romantic as this Hallmark moment is, it’s not reality. Knock just a couple off the list and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. We have to cut ourselves some slack and do our Girl Scout best to have a sense of humor. (And keep them away from Honey Boo Boo). The good always outweighs the bad. Just the other night I went to Back to School night and I read a story in my eight year old’s class about who her hero was. It was me.
Little Angel 1
I’ll leave you with a few morsels of insight.
*Laugh with them.
*As mad as you get, there’s a good chance they’re copying you.
*Get a curse jar not so much to remind you of your poor (but effective) word choice but to get a jump on your child’s college fund.
*May be cliche, but this too shall pass
*Last, it’s a good thing they’re cute.
Originally published at http://unwinedinmalibu.com on September 23, 2013.