Recently a good friend shared the following encouragement:
Great advice, although not so easy to implement all the time. I mean, the love part we do well - we love our children all the time, never mind the situation, and perhaps that (plus a small dose of hedonism) is what makes it easy. To limit is every parent's good intention - we try to dose our children's poor nutrition, watching tv, and generally just getting away with whatever they want, so that they stay within acceptable levels - and regardless of our success rate, we keep trying because we know it'll make them good people. But the let them be, that's harder.
Or maybe that's just me? Perhaps it's because I have a son who is outspoken (in spite of his limited vocabulary), overly inquisitive, and doesn't sleep? I want him to discover things, to learn to be independent, to explore his surroundings and get to know himself. But how do I let him be when it may not be what people want to see?
So my latest lesson in Parenting 101 is this: Pick Your Battles
Safety is a non-negotiable, and I don't back down on that. When it comes to manners and good behaviour, I'm also in for the long run. The rest though, those things aren't all that important after all.
So, while I did wake up this morning with my bedroom floor covered in half a box worth of tissues that Zac had shredded during the night when I forcibly removed him from my head (yes, he was sitting there while I tried to sleep), and in doing so put an end to the drum solo he was banging out on my body, is it worth getting into a tizz over? Probably not.
I'm realising more and more that these are memories in the making. A bathroom flooded with bath water is the evidence of a little boy frantically kicking his little legs as he practices his swimming, or furiously shaking his growing locks as he tries to wash his own hair, or the overflow of water and laughter as he plays a game of splash with whoever is in the bath with him. With a quick mop the water and the moment is gone, sometimes too soon.
Our kids won't be little forever, and I know I don't want to look back on these early (often tiring and trying) days and wish that I'd been less uptight about the small things. I hope I'll see that (most of the time) I let them be.