... and other catchy stuff that publishes well.
"Pick your battles" fits nicely into that one too. I think I tend to parent in keeping with these trains of thought. Party because I'm lazy, party because I hate fighting, and largely because I don't want to be tangled up in a lot of disagreements about very little.
And I think its having the desired effect. If I DO dig my heels in, I generally get their full attention, and I generally DO "win" the battle. This is good when its -32 and I insist on a jacket being worn. This is good when I insist on sweatery teeth being brushed, and dread locks being combed out of hair. On the other hand, if you want french braids, or long hair, or one pony tail coming out of your forehead, I'm good with that too. Just so long as you can manage it, and you don't have a cow when it doesn't turn out the way you'd imagined.
Here's the down side. My children's bedrooms are a sight to behold. Instead of a closet door, there is a self (child) made fabric curtain, made by ripping a straight sheet in half and tied back with push pins. There may be a trail of cedar shavings from the hamster cage which must be cleaned by its owner. There is a closet (see above) but its purely cosmetic. A chair does nicely for clothes, and keeps them well within reach for the five times a morning they will be changed before finally deciding on the same pair of jeans and the same grey sweater that have been worn since September the third. Stuffed animals are overcrowded on the full wall length shelf and four doll cribs that consume the floor space. Six pillows and two quilts on a single bed make for a cozy nest at bed time. No less than 24 posters of kittens crookedly mac tacked to the wall hide the one part that I did properly- the pink painted wall with the pale green and yellow flowers adorning it.
Let me tell you, there are days when I want to kiss the kids out the door, and run upstairs with garbage bags. I'd like to stuff them with: those three bean bag chairs with 90% of the beads missing, a couple thousand army men with their arms and heads nail-clippered off in a recent battle, twelve or thirteen robots and animal creatures made out of the recycling, ello, bits of plastic lattice fashioned into weapons, and those stupid little Polly Pocket shoes. And that's just some of the small stuff.
Then I could make them neat duvet covers and sets of pillows to plump up at the heads of their beads. I could set up a little table under the window with a miniature real china tea set on it. There might be a pretty little old rocking chair in the corner with the Raggedy Anne doll I made for Christmas last year resting proudly on it. I could run the vacuum without fear of Polly losing her wardrobe, or me losing my vaccuum suction.
Yeah, that'd be pretty.
But then I'd have to insist on them having my taste. They'd have to throw out their milk carton boats right away because they'd not fit the theme. The posters would have to come down. I'd have to rethink the whole idea of small pets, and the sense of responsibility that comes with learning to care for them. And maybe my standards would have to come up as well. Maybe I'd have to look down my nose on some birthday gifts they'd bring home. What if it didn't "go" with their room? And maybe I'd have to be more diligent with the boring stuff- like changing their sheets every week.
Nah. This is starting to sound like a lot of work.
Maybe there's something to all this talk about not sweating when you're in battle... or whatever it is that they say.
It's published afterall.