Sometimes parenting is so hard… so heartbreakingly hard.
But it doesn’t always have to be hard
Sometimes you can let it be easy.
Or at least easier, sometimes.
A few weeks ago my middle child went on strike when it came to walking to school. We only walk from preschool to school, 3 blocks, once a week, but for some reason he suddenly just didn’t want to do it.
I tried talking to him about it, but he wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me what was upsetting him.
I tried empathising and understanding, still no answers.
I tried making plans and changing routines but it didn’t change anything.
I tried compromises, and explaining, and rationalising, but it didn’t help.
I lost my cool and yelled at him, of course that didn’t help.
I stooped low and tried bribing him… zip.
I stooped even lower and, one morning, I quite literally dragged him those three blocks to school while he cried, dug his heels in, and tried his best not to go.
I was not proud of myself that morning.
Afterwards, as I chatted to a friend, I realised something… I could keep trying to force him to walk to school, upsetting us both, or I could make this one morning a week much, much, MUCH easier if I just drove him to school, like I did every other day.
So I did.
I let it be easy.
Easier on him, and certainly easier on me.
I kinda felt like I had ‘let him win’, but parenting is not a battle that one side must win and therefore the other must lose.
I kinda felt like I had ‘given up’, that I never worked out what the problem was and never ‘fixed it, but there is not always a reason, or at least not one that our children can articulate, and perhaps the fix is not to be found in me always getting what I want, or doing what I think is best, but in my child being happy and heading off to school with a smile?
Just by my changing my attitude, letting go of unimportant things, and picking my battles… I can let it be easy.
If can let go of needing a resolution, if I can give up on having to have a definitive answer, if I can quit the expectations, if I can accept that I won’t always understand or be ‘right’… then perhaps I will get better at letting it be easy.
What do you think? Are there situations you could simply ‘let it be easy’?
Inspired by this post and image and some really really crappy mornings.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
I think we all have them. I think to surrender our way is always the hardest. Why does it have to be so hard????
Oh I wish I knew Janet! And it’s always the things that I think should be no problem at all that end up being so difficult!
Being annoying :
Why only one day a week ?
Why choose this one ?
Sometimes easy means being consistent/setting a rule according to outside world :
if it rains or the temperature is below xxx -> car
if not we walk
We need to walk . You pick the day but walk.
It is esay for us : chose not to have a car. So we walk :)
Why do we only walk one day a week?
Because we live about 10kms from school, such is life in a rural area. We were driving to preschool and walking from there one day a week because that is the day my smallest child goes to preschool, which he has only started this year.
If we were able to walk every day things might be different, but we are not able to, and on this occasion consistency didn’t help so I chose to stop making it horrible and hard and simply change our routine.
I totally agree with you about picking your battles. We can choose to nitpick and fight with our children constantly, or we can stand firm on the most important issues and let the little issues be things we compromise on. This is even true when your children become teens, like mine! Thanks for the insight and honesty!
Yep. This is my lesson right now too.
Recently my 4-year old decided she didn’t want to do swimming lessons anymore. Just like that. One week it was all fine, the next week we showed up and she refused to get in the pool. And she did that for the next 3 sessions. It was out of the blue, with no warning, she’d always seemed to love it and was going so well. I was angry at first, it’s not easy to hold it together after all the effort it takes to get a child somewhere in the first place, to then have to walk straight out again. And she also wouldn’t talk to me about it or tell me why. For some reason I was really upset about her refusal, but now I’m starting to think, if she doesn’t want to do it then why force her? What’s to gain from that?
Sigh, parenting IS super hard.
That sounds so much like my boy and our troubles… out of the blue and without them being able to explain! I really think sometimes we just have to trust that there is a good reason for them to suddenly stop doing something and that backing off for a while is good for us all.
I am still hopeful that we will be able to try again with the walking to school… so hopefully you can try again with swimming too.
I think you’re right there. At their age they might not be able to explain why they don’t want to do something anymore. And just because I like her doing something, doesn’t necessarily mean she will like doing it! I’m hopeful she will take up swimming again one day. Good luck with your boy and the walking to school!