Sunday, June 14, 2009

Decisions, decisions

One of the things I struggle with as a mom is when to let the kids handle things themselves and when to jump in. When do I let them make their own choices and when do I pull the mom card. When is it okay to override their decisions and force my own and when is it worth it.

A prime example would be last week. Curly was going to our local clubhouse pool with some friends. She has the cutest tankini with a tassel hanging off the faux belt. She was looking desperately for some other bathing suit to wear, but they were all being laundered or missing a top. I said "Just wear this one" several times but she was frantically looking for the magical clean suit. It finally boiled down to this:

"The other girls will laugh at me. I don't want them to laugh at me. They'll think this is weird." She got watery eyes as she flicked at the tassel.

Ah. So what do I do? As an adult I know the girls will not laugh. It's in her head. But as a previously quite insecure girl, I know the torture this is for her. I thought for a moment and said "Well, I could cut it off. Would that work?"

A huge smile was my answer so I grabbed the scissors and cut away. To me it looked worse, leaving a little nub of fabric where the tassel had been, but to her it was better and she went happily to swim with her friends.

Could I have over ridden her choice? Sure. Could I have said "It's fine. Just wear it, or don't go"? Yup. But I didn't. I remember being young and afraid of what others would think and worried I didn't look quite right. She won and went to the pool with confidence and happiness. And although I think everything would have been fine had I forced my will upon her, her self confidence was better for letting her have her own choice and that is a priceless thing.

Today I had another "Do I push or let it go?" moment when StinkyMan came downstairs dressed for the day in this outfit:

(He's hiding in this picture because he didn't want me to take it. Little did he know I wanted to blog it and didn't want his face in it anyway. A fine example of forcing my will upon him. HA!)

So it doesn't exactly match and he was supposed to go to a lunch over at his aunt and uncle's house. Do I say "Oh, Buddy, nice try!" and get him to change one or the other? Or do I let it go and just be happy he decided to take the initiative to get dressed on his own?

For the record, I let it go. My husband's family is nothing if not super kid friendly and well aware of how these things go. And although it took everything in me not to try to get him to change, it is better to let them have the small victories, right? Some battles are worth it, but this wasn't one of them.

I try very hard to allow my children to find their own way. Sometimes it is hard, often times I fail. All I can do is be here for them for successes and failures. I hope they always know that whatever their choices, or whatever choices I make for them, I love and support and want the best for them always.

I never knew thinking about their wardrobe choices could be so humbling or philosophical.

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