As a mom, it feels like we face battles starting from the moment we wake up, to the moment we head back to sleep (and also often in the middle of the night as well). Part of being a person who cares means there will always be something that bugs you. With kids, that can literally be everything some days.
With every battle, you have to choose if you wish to be a part of it or not. There are situations where it is important for you to stand up and fight, like when the outcome actually matters. Kids have to wear seatbelts, listen to their teachers, and show respect to others. There are also times where fighting is a waste of time and energy. Your kid’s socks don’t match, so what.
The art of choosing battles wisely
If you’ve always tended to be far more reactive than you’d prefer, say, for instance, you have the drive to want to correct every misstep, even those of strangers, then you might find actively refusing to engage much harder. Taking a moment to assess the situation and decide a battle is worth fighting, takes thought and intention at first. However, once you’ve done it for a while, you’ll find your hair-trigger response will grow less demanding.
The goal is to take a moment and ask yourself if the battle is worth fighting. If it’s not, then drop it. Give yourself a phrase you can say to yourself that helps you. Something like, “Not my circus, not my monkeys,” or “I choose peace.” Ultimately, this will bring you and your home more peace. Choose wisely what you throw your energy into. You got this.
That time I thought I could be the perfect mom
So, yeah, there was a time that I believed that raising kids was more like programming software than herding cats. I firmly believed that I could change their dispositions and attitudes through my sheer force of will.
Needless to say, I was the one who got taught the big lesson. Yes, you can certainly set up systems to achieve success as a parent. Half of what makes a kid who he or she is, is learned by watching how the parents handle situations. The OTHER half, however, is entirely determined by genetic makeup. There is no perfect approach that works for every family and when you introduce neurodiversity into the equation, it makes everything that much more challenging.
I tried everything to be “perfect.” I read books, watched seminars, practiced role-playing, and ignored reality. I battled with every decision and every moment both with myself and with my kids. There’s only so long you can keep fighting. I got tired and instead of trying something a little gentler, I gave up. I went from “do it my way” to “do whatever” practically overnight when I was so burned out I could barely think.
The funny thing is, it was in this “do whatever” period that I finally found peace. I allowed myself to watch what the kiddos were doing and not bother with stepping in unless there was an obvious danger (I was burned out, not checked out – there’s a difference). Not only did the kiddos come up with some cool games on their own, but I found I had more energy to deal with the battles that had to be faced.