Don’t sweat the small stuff

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Remember that book?  Great message.  It needs to be my new motto.

Lately I’ve been reminded of how much I tend to dwell on the little things, in many cases blowing them out of proportion.  It’s not new for me, but as time goes on it is becoming more of an obstacle in my life.  I just have to let go of some things.  I need to accept the fact that I cannot control everything.  There’s only so much I can do.

What I’ve learned lately:

I just have to do my best and then let go.  I can pack the things the kids need each day for camp.  I can remind them when I drop them off what it is that I packed for them that day.  After that, it’s up to them.  If they don’t pick up where I left off, and take a little responsibility for their own needs, there’s nothing more I can do.  I need to remember that eventually they’ll learn their lesson and will start to be more responsible. 

If I buy something or do something nice for the kids, they may or may not show their appreciation in the way I expect.  They may not even pay enough attention to ensure that the purchased item actually arrives at home safely.  Things will get lost.  It is not the end of the world.  Maybe a little sadness over a lost treat will help them remember to pay attention next time.

The kids will experience sadness and disappointment, and I can’t (shouldn’t) always make it go away.  Yes, it may be hard to watch them be so upset about something that they lost, but it is just a part of life.  This temporary pain they’re feeling will help to shape who they are.

When looking for lost treasures, always be sure to look up.  If I had been thorough in my searching for the aforementioned “lost thing”, things wouldn’t have been so ugly.

Noise caused by unsupervised children should be promptly investigated.  As the kids get bigger, their bickering and fighting is only getting more dramatic.  There’s more hitting, shoving and kicking…and it’s all getting stronger.  Last night’s family explosion could have been avoided if we had stopped what we were doing and gone down to see what was going on.

Glasses containing alcohol (or any other beverage) should not be left on the side tables next to the couch.  Especially in the evenings, the spats between the children tend to take place on the couch and are centered around personal space.  This personal space includes, but is not limited to the couch.  Arms and legs may protrude in odd directions.

On Tuesday, I dressed the kids in their swimwear and sent them out the door with everything they needed for the day.  When I picked them up, Anna was wearing pants (instead of the skorts she left the house in) because she didn’t pay attention to where she put them.  I was then informed that they both had bowled that afternoon with out socks because neither remembered/noticed that I had packed socks and gym shoes for them.  On Wednesday, I bought Tommy a small stuffed monster from a crafter at the Farmer’s Market.  He didn’t show nearly as much excitement as I had expected.  On the way home, he noticed it was missing and it was deemed lost after returning to the presumed scene of the crime and coming up empty handed.  This made for a miserable evening of me being angry, him being upset, and me feeling horrible watching him feel horrible.  Lost turned to found in the morning when the kids piled into the van and Tommy looked up to find his monster tucked securely in the handle above his seat. 

After spending the bulk of our holiday weekend painting Tommy’s bed and finishing up his new room, the children were left alone together watching TV.  When they started bickering, we didn’t drop what we were doing to go put an end to it.  So the bickering came to us, complete with the report that “Anna spilled something.”  The “something” that she spilled was Aaron’s full glass of beer.  After interrogation, it was determined that Anna came in contact with the glass, which caused it to tip.  She did so as a result of being kicked or hit by her brother.

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2 responses »

  1. I am a fan of letting the kids deal with natural consequences. Obviously my littlest, still being 2 gets some extra support in this area but I’m very much from the school of tough love. I go crazy when I see parents run back and buy a replacement because I kid lost something they didn’t even care about until they lost simply because they throw a big enough fit. Sure stuff gets lost, I lose stuff from time to time too and if it was a prized possession that got lost very innocently it’d be a different story. But often I tell the boys, I wouldn’t bring XYZ with you, you know you’ll lose it. When they don’t listen (assuming I didn’t make a direct order NOT to bring it, that would be a whole different issue) if it gets lost, they get a very matter of fact, well I’m very sorry its lost BUT I told you it wasn’t a good idea! and they can be upset but they aren’t allowed to be obnoxious about it or they get in trouble.

    as for the fighting…I haven’t tried it myself but a friend just posted on my facebook the other day that someone suggested to her to make her kids hug, outside somewhere public but hers are both boys and older, for 15 minutes each time they fight. then when they are just starting to fight you say “oh, do I see a hug coming on?”
    she said its working for her lol so far we’ve been lucky with a lack of “he’s touching me” sort of fighting. they still fight, A LOT but its over stuff or because one won’t do what the other wants.

    • I’ve always said that I’m in the tough love camp, and I know I am much more in it than some other parents I know. That being said though, it is getting more difficult as they get older. I think part of it is because they have more things and I have less control over what they do with those things. The other part, which I need to remedy, is that they’re learning how to play me. And yes, there are plenty of things that I strongly recommend (or sometimes mandate) never leave the house. That way, if they don’t turn up after a few days (or weeks) I can still say that “it’s here somehwere!”

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