Sometimes you need advice from a more experienced parent. This weekend my stepmother was staying with us, and she’s experienced mother of two boys and long-time journalist on family issues, among other talents. So when she gave me some parental advice on Sunday I decided to listen.
We were all getting ready to go to the beach and Toddler Harbat wanted to wear her vampire cape. She marches down the front walk in her cape and I tell her,” The cape is only for wearing inside. You need to take it off so we can go.”
“No, Babbo! I wanna wear it!”
My stepmother touches my arm and says, “Some battles aren’t worth fighting.”
Every have those moment where a lightbulb flickers on in some cobwebbed corner of your brain? She was right, it wasn’t worth fighting, and what would it really hurt if she wanted to wear her cape to the beach? That morning as she ran across the sand with her cape fluttering like bat wings behind her, I realized I’m too strict in my interpretation of what should be done. I may have ideas about when and where Halloween costumes should be worn, but Toddler Harbat has her own plans, and they don’t need to be in sync with mine. Since that morning, I’ve found more instances where letting go of some trivial battle yields several results: A)she is happy; B)she’s more willing to do something for me later since I let her do what she wanted; C)I’m happy because we’re not having a pitched battle over something insignificant; D)I’m better able to handle confrontations when I haven’t been debating with her all day.
Let it go, Babbo. Let her wear her cape at the beach.