Battlefield Home

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I was contemplating today the term, “you need to pick your battles”. There is quite a bit of wisdom in this, but it got me to thinking about how my home sometimes feels like a battlefield and what that really means. This may be a bit rambling, as my thoughts are all over the place, but I’ll try not to seem to ADD as I explain my (squirrel!) thoughts.
First is the phrase itself. I think overall it’s a good thing to remember. Too often, we have these preconceived ideas about what our children should be like. What they’re behaviors will be, what their personalities should be molded into, etc. Not just with the first kid…after the first one, we think we know what to do. We try to raise the second one the same way (or differently if we think we’ve learned from all those mistakes with the first one). But there comes a point where you realize some things just aren’t that important. I’m not just talking about letting your kid go grocery shopping in her Jessie costume from Halloween in July. There are always those small battles we automatically let go of, because they are superficial. But I am talking about taking some basic ideas of what you thought kids should be like and be willing to change those ideas sometimes. Any parent who said, “I will always” or “I will never”, is going to be in a whole lot of trouble. (yes, yes, some things we will be unbending on. Don’t run into the street, don’t talk to strangers, don’t shove random objects into the DVD player. I’m talking about parenting styles. Cosleeping, cry it out, all the awesome mommy blog catch phrases) We need to take time getting to know our children and what makes them tick. For example, I have a lifelong friend whom I respect greatly who is going to have her oldest son tested for autism. I must say, for any parent who goes through this, you are awesome! You have taken preconceived ideas, chucked them out the window,and said “I want to know and love and help my child, not change them.” After battling and battling with her son when he would melt down at seemingly meaningless things (a tear in his bread, something not lined up just right) she came to realize he isn’t defiant. He just sees things differently. How wonderful for this little boy to have a mom who will take another look and love him for who he is. Discipline and parenting styles come and go…every child is different. So picking your battles, to me, means that we know our children and adjust accordingly.
I hate the term battle, as it implies two enemies, battling it out. I think of those moments in action movies where all hell breaks loose and suddenly you find the hero(ine) hiding out of line of sight, trying to figure out their next move. While I admit that I have felt like that a lot this weekend (and the past four and a half years really), what bothers me is my children are not the enemy. That being said, I am responsible for them. For teaching them, shaping them, guiding them into the adults God wants them to be. This leads to conflict. What makes it so hard is how much I love them. I love them so much that things that wouldn’t hurt me from others cut me to the quick with them. I want to be a good mom, for everyone to always be happy. I want us to sing kumbaya around a camp fire, while we constantly tell each other how great we are and no one ever is injured, fails, or is spiteful. But unfortunately we live in reality of a fallen world, and their mother is me, a fallen human. I overreact. They push back. I yell and punish. They cry and get mad. So battles ensue.
After a long stretch of children refusing to nap we’ve had a battlefield for a home the past few days. King Toot is teething, badly. Sir Smiley has been stuck working a lot. By the end of the last from days, it has become the age old question: which came first, the chicken or the egg? A they cranky because I am, or am I cranky because they have been? Who knows. But I have come to a few conclusions. I love my kids and they love me. I need to apologize when I realize that I overreacted to their small rebellions. Basically, sometimes I chose the wrong battle…some things aren’t as important as you think at first. I need to eat some humble pie and let my kids see. Maybe it’s okay to let Sasquatch pick up her toys using the small arms of her T-Rex doll. Sure it takes an extra hour since he drops every toy five times before it makes it to its spot. But at least she’s picking up! Every day is a new day, a chance to start fresh. But if you are about to drop a nuke to wipe out the entire population of your household because you are that close to a mental break, 6 pm is a perfectly reasonable bedtime to help speed up the approach to that new day.

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2 thoughts on “Battlefield Home

  1. Ash

    So true and wise! I’ve had Proverbs 14:1 taped on my cupboard because the last few days I have felt as though I’m fighting against my children (and for all the wrong reasons) and I need to remember that “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish woman tears hers down.”

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