Lately, when things have gotten chaotic around here I notice that I get very snappy and annoyed at the kids. I start to sweat the small stuff when I know better. It's easy to slip into that negative mode, isn't it? When the days can wear you down and you just want a break or breather. A little more space to enjoy. I want to enjoy my kids while they are little. I want to sit down to a meal and not yell through half of it over one thing or another.
When we choose to let certain things go; to decide they are not really a big deal after all, a space for joy opens up. For a little while, dinner time had started to become a real pain. Paige would whine and fuss about her food, or she'd take an hour to eat (and only pick at her food), or she'd just not eat and would complain instead. I was constantly on her case..."you need to eat!" "a few more bites!" "Hurry it up, dinner is almost over!" "Paige! Stop playing with your elbow and eat!" "Do you hear me?" "Are you listening?" and so forth.
I finally decided that I want to enjoy my meals and stop getting stomach aches during dinner. So, I made the choice to stop caring whether Paige ate her dinner or not. I had to act like I could care less. And you know what? I started having more fun at dinner and it became enjoyable again. If she didn't eat, she just ate a bigger breakfast the next morning. By not nagging, she began to stop complaining and whining as much and it makes dinner time so much more enjoyable. It can be easy to nag, nag, nag and I have to catch myself often. But it's worth it to just "let it go." I want to enjoy our time together; to savor the little moments .
We now all eat dinner together in peace. Paige will say funny things or she will answer our questions about preschool that day. We laugh together and she's learning all about proper table manners. Even Noah is now sitting with us in his high chair, even if he's not eating. He'll check out his toys and he seems to enjoy just being with us. It's nice. I'm glad I gave up the food battle. Ironically, she eats better now. Of course.
There are other ways in our lives with little ones that we could perhaps let things go a bit for the sake of our stress levels...for example: potty training struggles (we aren't pressing it), toy cleanup issues (we only leave some out, and the rest are easy for her to clean thanks to baskets), mess-making (we only do messy activities under close supervision when she can get my full attention), etc. Even without children, there are always areas of life where we can choose joy over fretting. Is there an area in your life that would be much happier and simpler if you just "let go?" Stop asking "Why do I do this to myself?" and just stop. You'll be glad you did!