my new parenting mantra.

“misery is optional.”

some friends of ours have adopted this as their means of surviving life overseas, but i think it fits for parenting, as well.  especially on those weekends without dad.  which is where we are now.

bryan took some BEST club dudes to.. somewhere (perhaps this would be good information for me to have in the future), to hike and camp.  we came home from our friday viewing of the deathly hallows – part two around 12:30a, went to bed around 1, and although bryan’s phone alarm was supposed to go off at 4, i woke up at 5 to feed harper and he was still in bed.  he rushed around downstairs to meet the 5:30a departure time. ez woke up at 5:45, needing water, and jones woke up for the day around 6:30. i spent the morning in regret over our late bedtime.

my new mantra, however, is helping me turn those would-be tired and stressful days alone with three kids into manageable and even super FUN days. (do i sound like an infomercial?)

crazy boys annoying me all morning with requests for movies while i say “no” for the hundredth time OR watching a movie, even though its only 10a?  MISERY IS OPTIONAL.

staying home to make something healthy that leaves me with a messy kitchen and no one to help clean it when i’m super tired at night OR a dinner from mcdonald’s that leaves much to be desired in the health department but makes my kiddos (and me) super happy?  MISERY IS OPTIONAL.

refusing a million requests for snacks and juice OR giving them a day where they can eat when they ask? MISERY IS OPTIONAL.

spend the day as personal playmate every minute OR just going somewhere that’s super fun but doesn’t really facilitate the optimal parent-child interaction?  MISERY IS OPTIONAL.

make them clean up all the toys before bedtime, though it usually requires a lot of reminders and guiding help OR close the doors on the playroom and think about it tomorrow? MISERY IS OPTIONAL.

how easy and enjoyable these days without dad have been has lead me, of course, to seriously debate whether my rules when he’s home have much merit at all.  however, i’m not a glutton for punishment — i know that if i let my super-sensitive kid and his little brother watch movies all day, eat tons of sugar-crammed snacks, never clean up their toys, and stay cooped up inside when its beautiful out, i’ll have some serious issues to deal with later.  but i have started wondering why i say ‘no’ sometimes when ‘yes’ would be a perfectly acceptable answer.  so i think i’d like to say ‘yes’ more often, and make us all a little happier.

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4 thoughts on “my new parenting mantra.

  1. Oh, friend. This could not have come at a better time — J is headed out of town next week, and I have been so, so nervous about it. This will help. Love you.

    • the more you do it, the easier it gets! letting go of rules really helps.. and it has been really good and fun for me to have really focused time with the kiddos — when dad’s around, i’m kind of half there, know what i mean? you’ll do great, renae!!!

  2. dude amen and amen and amen! i’m so with you on this one! we just talked about this last night! we had a new friend over who has grown kids- so they are about my parents age, maybe a lil younger. but they just adopted a little guy from ethiopia.. now he is about 4. I asked the dad, so what do you do different- he said, i am way more chill.. and we play more.. we play for hours with trains etc etc. I don’t care as much about the little things. He has a grandchild that is the same age.. how crazy is that! 🙂
    but I just thought- man i need to loosen up for sure!
    love ya friend

  3. Thanks for your post. So agree. We all need to lighten up, let go of our pride and how our kids “should be” and what they “should do” and enjoy parenting. There is peace when we finally accept our limitations (whether that be culture, number of kids, whatever) and say that how I parent/what my kids eat/do is not my ideal of what I hoped for but it is what works for us and keeps us sane. I do believe my kids will be better off with watching a little more tv and having a mother who doesn’t yell than me trying to “do” great things with them which ends in me being frustrated or yelling at them all day for not watching tv (or whatever the vice may be). As you say, of course this comes in moderation and full understanding that they can’t sit and watch tv all day and only eat sweets but both of these throughout the day isn’t going to kill them. Thanks for your reflections. Even though I’ve come to these conclusions before and been at peace, insecurity always creeps back and I feel bad for how things are going. Thankful to be reminded that misery is in fact optional.

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