I like to think of myself as an easy-going parent. I’m not sure if it’s always true, but I try. I believe that as parents we need to keep our kids safe and teach them manners, but we don’t necessarily need to intervene constantly. Since my daughter Hannah was born 5 years ago, my experiences have mostly confirmed that belief. She learned to walk and talk and use the toilet basically on her own, and I had very little to do with it.
My son Jacob is 19 months old now and he is also figuring things out at his own pace and under his own steam. Again, I see that while my role is important, it’s mostly up to him. Usually, the best thing I can do is trust my kid to learn and grow as he needs to.
Of course, there are areas where I do actively intervene. When Jacob runs towards the street I run after him. In spite of his arching and angling I don’t let him walk in parking lots. And when Hannah hides in a store clothing rack I enforce hand-holding so that I know where she is. Both of my children need to be buckled into carseats in the car. These decisions are the no-brainers.
Few parenting issues are so clear. It’s not always obvious what is and isn’t worth getting worked up over. I know for sure that I don’t want to be constantly nagging my kids and micro-managing their lives. But I also know that I need to attend to their needs and my own, too. I might be easy-going, but that doesn’t mean that I can just sit back and watch all the time.
Mixed reactions to tasting chives
Most parenting falls into the in-between area, where no one’s life is at stake but your sanity just may be. Like when your kid wants to bring 3 stuffed animals to the park. But eventually that kid is going to lose interest in the stuffed animals, and you’ll to be left holding them. Only you won’t be able to, because you’ll be holding the other kid who skinned his knee. So you’re in your entryway, deciding if you want to have an argument now or an argument later, when the kid doesn’t want to deal with the stuffed animals and runs off in an effort to declare her autonomy when you say she has to.
I don’t want to spend my life engaged in stalemates over stuffed animals.
Running out of parental steam
These are the questions I rarely see answered in parenting books. They all say pick your battles, but they don’t all acknowledge that sometimes you are engaged in so many little battles at once that you can’t see straight. And sometimes, you cannot for the life of you deal with the inevitable fallout of a trivial decision and so you arbitrarily say no.
I love my kids, and I believe in them. I know that they are going to be OK if I’m not always consistent and I don’t have all the answers. I’ll seek answers anyway, and I’ll try to be easygoing, even if I don’t always know how to. Until I figure it out you’ll be able to spot me, because I’ll be the mom at the park holding a crying toddler and 3 stuffed animals.