Thursday, May 24, 2012

Time to Enjoy

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.

enjoying toys

meal time

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!

3 comments :

Julia said...

This is so what I needed to hear today. Thank you!! I nag my daughter too much, I know. I need to just let go and be a bit more relaxed. If she does not want to eat dinner than that is her choice. You are right, she will just have to wait and eat a big breakfast the next morning. I totally need to stop wasting time sweating all this silly small stuff because all it does is make me super stressed. Thanks for this reminder!

Melissa M said...

Eden really started "self limiting" her food at that age and really never ate. I think at one point we were at macaroni and cheese, just plain macaroni, bread bananas and rice. It was so very difficult to stop worrying about it, but I did it. I recently heard someone suggest that if your child is "self limiting" food (choosing not to eat it) that they have a rule. The kid states they don't like or doesn't want the food and then they have to eat a "No thank you bite". This is a revolutionary idea and I think it will work if you start doing it just as your child starts "self limiting" their foods. When a child starts to "sl" foods they rarely get them back without a fight, and that's what makes this something to start sooner rather than later. In our case it usually only takes one bite for her to realize she really wants to eat it.

alicia said...

yay! we did the same thing with eating a while back, it's just so not worth the battle. ivy eats when she is hungry and she snacks on healthy things all day, so I just stopped worrying. ayla eats EVERYTHING but I know one day she will stop too, its just a thing they go through i think :) picking your battles, such a wise parenting move!

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