"Choose your battles"
You could say this about friendships.
About almost anything.
But I think it most accurately applies to children.
Because I'm an amateur parent,
(I.e. I'm in the midst of my first ever toddler experience)
there's still a lot of battles I choose.
I fight the battle of matching clothes.
I fight the battle of screen time.
I fight the battle on taking toys out of the house.
I'm well aware that Future Emily may fight less battles.
Probably my most passionate battle is the food battle.
From the beginning, I stood my ground on pickiness.
"If you don't like what's in front of you, that's fine.
You don't have to eat it. But you aren't getting anything else."
This has meant tantrums,
going to bed without supper,
and all sorts of other pleasantries.
Through all my battles, one of the lines that repeats over and over in my head: "Scientifically*, a child will not allow themselves to starve."
*see disclaimer below*
It really truly comes down to how much of a battle you're willing to fight.
And after all my fighting, I've been rewarded with a child who eats pretty much everything.
Aaron abandoning his PBJ for salad.
So what battles do I not fight?
Here's one that people raise an eyebrow at:
Picking up toys.
I very rarely make Aaron pick up his toys.
Like almost never.
Every now and then I'll throw out a
"you can't get [x] until you pick up Legos"
but that's pretty infrequent.
One of the many reasons I don't fight this battle is because I actually LIKE picking up toys myself.
I know WEIRD.
I like sorting them and putting them all away properly.
Additionally, thanks to our finished basement, where Aaron plays the most,
if I don't feel in the mood, I simply don't see it and it doesn't bother me.
But oh the social implications!!!
He won't learn responsibility!
He'll grow up to be a slob!
Bad, parent, bad!
Yeah maybe you're right.
But I don't feel like it's any more detrimental than your child's malnourished brain from eating a diet of processed chicken nuggets.
Let's agree to call it a wash, shall we?
The reason I write this post was witnessing this sharp contrast the other day.
We were out at a mutual friend's house.
The other visiting child refused dinner, only accepting frozen chicken nuggets (his whole diet in life is oatmeal, chicken nuggets, and applesauce),
while Aaron ate everything we ate (salad included!).
Me mentally: "ah look at that parenting win!"
Then the kids go play.
When done, the mom instructs her son to pick up and he does so without question,
neatly putting away every toy.
Aaron takes a look at the mess and promptly walks away.
Me mentally: "Well I guess now we're even."
This has spawned a lot of conversations with my mom friends about which battles we pick and which we don't.
It's fascinating really.
Even more interesting when battles change from one child to another.
Like fighting the food battle with one but not the other.
What battles do you pick or not care about?
*Just like every wide-sweeping statement, there are exceptions.
There are most definitely children who may have mental disabilities or eating disorders.
For these children, it is recommended to seek professional help.
Not just a casual "oh my kid doesn't eat" to the pediatrician,
but an actual meeting with a counselor who specializes in this.