1.having been beaten in a battle or other contest.
I was walking home with another mother after dropping my daughter off at school ad we got chatting about our kids. Now this mom has four boys and two of them are 2-year-old twins, so of course I asked her the question that I am sure she hears several times a week, “How do you do it?” She gave me a smile, and said, “The same way you do it, I just do it. But I am not going to lie, I feel defeated a lot.”
That has stuck with me now for weeks now. Probably because I often feel the same way and it’s nice to be reminded that for the most part, parents all go though a lot of the same struggles. Most days seem be made up of a series of mini battles. Either Mommy is going to come out victorious or the children will win. Honestly, it is usually me pulling out the white flag, giving in to defeat and letting those little children have their way. Yep, because it’s true you gotta pick your battles, and sometimes it’s just not worth the fight. And I have learned, I am not prepared to hold my breath, lie on the floor and kick and scream, or throw whatever happens to be nearby – My kids are much for prepared when it comes to these battle techniques.
A couple of things I don’t bother to battle about anymore:
- If my 4 yr old wants to wear the same clothes all weekend, I will let her. She knows if it gets really dirty or we are going somewhere special, like a birthday party, she has to change. Other than that, wear away! Cuts back on some laundry anyway and really, it’s just not a big deal.
- Making them eat their entire meal. This use to be a big battle mostly at dinner. I made the food they felt needed to eat it. I would stand my ground, or at least try to. It was exhausting. Now as long as there is food in the house, I figure the kids aren’t going to starve themselves. At dinner time I tell them if they don’t eat dinner it is their last chance to eat until breakfast. And let it be. This might sound awful, but on nights when they are being particularly picky and not even eating food I know they like, I often will get a dessert out for my husband and I. Nine times out of ten, they quickly eat whats on their plate and ask if they can have dessert too.
Obviously, there are somethings I can’t just give in to and the battle ensues. Anyone who has kids or has been around them knows what they are.
- no swinging scissors around (where did you get those scissors anyway?!?)
- yes you have to go bed
- no hitting your siblings
- no climbing on the counter
- you need to be buckled in your carseat
- put on your shoes to go outside
- sorry your ponytail isn’t right
and the list goes on…
I will tell you though, it’s when I’m not sure what the battle is even about is when it’s really tough. When there is no rational reason for the crying, the tears and the screeching and nothing offered seems to make the situation better. No matter what, mommy isn’t winning this one. Exhausting. I know the almost 3 year old is “entitled” to go though a tantrum stage, but it doesn’t make it easier Even though I know mommy is really the boss, the four year old is going through her I am the boss stage. Yes, I know it is a stage and hopefully not a long one but knowing the stages and phases doesn’t make motherhood any less tiring. It doesn’t make those high pitched, glass shattering screams any quieter and it especially doesn’t take away the feelings of defeat. From what I’ve been told, I have a suspicion this feeling doesn’t go away just because the kids get older…
The best though are those mommy (parent) victories… the meals that were eaten without a fuss, the child that finally takes the nap even if it is in your arms, when the kids help put the toys away, they get dressed with fighting over which socks to wear and they go a day without hitting each other. Better yet are the rewards that children give. You don’t have to be a parent to melt when you get that first uncoaxed hug from a toddler or you catch that first kiss blown to you. When a child just wants to snuggle on the couch and listen to a story or gives you a big kiss just because. Some days those feeling may be few and far between but they are so sweet that they can take through the next round of struggles. There may be battles but it doesn’t always have to be a war.
Everyone needs a strategy. Somedays, I am taking more time outs then my kids are. I need them. To breathe, to maintain my sanity, chill out and just rethink my battle plan. Of course, moms love being with their kids, but everyone needs a break sometimes. Even the person who loves their work away from home job loves the weekend! Sometimes, after a particularly hard day, that glass of wine when the kids are in bed , has never tasted better. That glass of wine, a trip to the grocery store sans kids, waiting at the doctors office, these are the moments that basically count as the “weekend” for a stay at home mom.
So far I am having a peaceful day and I hope you are too.