Today at the playground with my kids, I decided I don’t really care if they walk, run, or crawl up the slide instead of sliding down it. I’m tired of enforcing that “you only slide DOWN the slide” rule.
Both my kids are extremely agile, and regardless, they could injure themselves just as easily climbing up the stairs, ladders, or rock walls to get to the top of the slide.
I’m not going to waste my time or energy even pretending to care. Who made up that stupid rule anyway? When dozens of kids are going buck wild climbing on every possible surface, racing, swinging, and screaming with abandon, how is limiting them to only sliding down the ding dong slide going to improve anyone’s life?
As soon as I made this decision, I felt liberated, free from some old timey rule I no longer needed to enforce.
I felt inspired.
I’ve decided I feel fine allowing my kids to watch TV and snack while I make dinner. By the time we actually make it to dinner-prep, we are all exhausted, hungry, and surly. Jack has sat in a classroom for six hours, done homework, then run out all his remaining energy on the playground. Emily has had a day full of enrichment, either home with me or at her daycare, so how is it harming them to watch a half hour of TV while I bustle around the kitchen?
I’ve always beat myself up for using the TV as the “electronic babysitter,” but I’ve chosen not to feel bad about it any longer. My exhausted little boy does not want to do play doh, color, or build with legos after his long day. He wants to watch a show. I’ve decided I’m fine with that.
My guilt is simply a waste of energy.
Furthermore, if they want to snack while they watch TV, I’m cool with that too. While we try to eat dinner together at least three or four times per week (our busy schedules don’t allow for much more), I simply no longer believe in the notion that all nutrition has to take place at the dining room table. They can munch on grapes, cheese and crackers, apple slices, or carrot sticks and I can add those bites into their overall dietary intake for the day. If they eat a little less at the table, so what?
Look. I’m not living in the world my husband and I grew up in. Times have changed radically. Kids are treated and behave differently. Both the roles of women and men have evolved. As a working mom there is no way I am going to be able to accomplish the white picket American Dream of yesteryear. It would be nice, but it’s not going to happen.
My life is in a constant state of falling apart-ness. And that’s fine. That’s just our life “as it is” to quote Pema Chodron. Accepting where we are, and our limits is far more productive, in my humble opinion, than constantly exerting the energy it takes to swim upstream.
I don’t think any of these conscious choices to make my life easier make me a crappy parent. Maybe they make me a little bit of a renegade. Picking my battles doesn’t make me bad; it makes me badass. At the end of the day, I can live with that.
What renegade choices do you make? How are you badass at parenting?