”You really need to speak to her about her dishes. And punish her. Or she will just keep doing it.”
”I know. I’ll talk to her on Friday.”
”But that’s four days away!!!”
”I know. But I need to not only choose my battles with her, I need to also carefully choose my timing as well.”
My teenage daughter’s bedroom is a war zone on its own, quite regularly. Apparently her cupboards and drawers are just for show 😛 and half my kitchen is regularly invited to live in there!
I refuse to play pickup though, and so it’s a regular battle in my house.
I know it’s not a battle that I fight alone – it happens in other houses too. I do find some comfort in that 😉
In the last few years, I have managed to apply the ‘choose my battles’ statement a little better in general.
For some reason, I have found myself regularly stopping and thinking : how important is this really in the ‘grand scheme of things’?
I’ve come to appreciate that my time on this earth is indeed limited : tomorrow is not promised, today – this moment – is all I have.
Is this (whatever it is) worth the time that arguing about it will take; is it worth the energy I will expend?
This past year, I have thrown more questions into the mix.
Will this person even be receptive if I bring it up? Or is this going to be a win/lose battle – exactly how important is this? and..
Is this really the right time?
Now please don’t get me wrong – all of the above cannot be applied to every battle we face. And sometimes we get dragged into battles that we hadn’t even considered; never even knew were brewing!
We can’t control everything – and we definitely can’t control other people’s behaviours, actions, words – but we CAN control ourselves!
Referring back to my introduction – a conversation that regularly happens with my son. Ha ha!
Any time I mention the ‘teenage bedroom disaster’, I get plenty of opinions from the people I am talking to. We all have the right to an opinion. We do not have the right to force it on another, and treat them like they are less if they don’t agree with us.
There should also be some respect for the fact that what works for me, might not work for you, and vice versa.
We should also always at least TRY to understand the bigger picture, even when it’s unclear.
In the case of the bedroom (enter Miss Sherlock, sans the hat and pipe 😛 ), here’s what I know : when she has a free weekend, or school holidays, her room is tidy. She even wipes down her shelves, repacks her cupboards and vacuums her carpet! Kitchenware is returned to the kitchen shortly after it has been used.
I am slightly unclear about her bigger picture, because if she just ‘maintained’ every day, her room wouldn’t get so bad that it would require a full day’s work.
Her ‘regular’ schedule is ‘busy’. She leaves for school at 6:30am. Comes home just before 3pm. Leaves home again at about 5pm, to go to the dance studio. Returns from there at about 8pm. Climbs into bed exhausted at 9:30pm.
In her awake time, Monday to Thursday, she has only three and a half hours at home, as ‘free time’.
But is it free time? She has homework, assignments, tests to study for. Which often spills into her weekends. She needs to eat, and shower.
Do I really need to fight with her about her bedroom now? Where is she at time-wise? How much school work does she have this week? What does next week look like? Will she need to work over the weekend?
Is her messy bedroom more important than the other areas of her life that she is committed to and diligent in? Is this really worth arguing about now, destroying our peace, distracting her from the things she really needs to do?
And in this case, my conclusion is always : it can wait.
You might disagree – you might even be right! Ha ha!
For me, this has actually become a very easy battle – and neither of us end up too wounded! 😉 I suspect it will continue to be a regular one, but she’ll move out… one day 😉 (And I will probably miss arguing with her about her bedroom!)
When I explained my ‘it can wait’ attitude to my son, as I have outlined above, his response was, ”I didn’t really think about it like that. It makes sense. But she doesn’t make sense because it really doesn’t need to get like this. I do sort of understand better now though. I suppose if that was my schedule, I’d end up being the same way.”
Choosing our battles goes so much deeper than just ‘avoiding conflict and protecting our peace’.
I have found that taking all things into consideration can also be quite taxing on my energy, and time : is this really the right time; am I able to just offer thoughts and opinions, or am I going to be forceful – am I open to discussion; how important is this; am I even trying to understand the bigger picture; and (depending on the situation) can I see a win-win result… if not, am I prepared to lose/concede to save the relationship – or is it that important to me that I am willing to lose the person, instead of the battle?
Whew! Just typing those questions was tiring!
In my personal experience though, if I manage to pause long enough to take it all into consideration, most times there is very little bloodshed 😉
(Once again, depending on the battle, and the other party – I can only be responsible for me.)
I’ve said a lot in this blog post, ha ha!
One more thing before I go though….
A very special friend has been teaching me this past year (possibly without even knowing it) the value of this :
‘’We interpret things from where we are. One person, using their window to the world will see it/you as this, and another will view it/you completely differently.’’
And I find myself wondering if that is actually the key to unlocking every door in my mind and my heart!
Because this post has been about ME – my personal experiences and MY window to MY world.
MY world tells me that true power lies in sitting back, thoughtfully considering, and then trying to apply logic as well, and practising restraint!
Somebody else’s window will see me as ‘avoiding conflict’, and in the example I have given about my daughter, ‘bad parenting’.
I am going to repeat my friend’s statement…
’’We interpret things from where we are. One person, using their window to the world will see it/you as this, and another will view it/you completely differently.’’
… because another door it has unlocked has brought me a little bit more inner peace.
Being accused of being a bad parent, even for silly things that I know are not true reflections of my parenting skills, used to really upset me. Because it would bring back unpleasant things from the past.
By making the choice to ‘learn’ the statement above, I am finding it a lot easier to accept that that is their view, and quite possibly has nothing to do with me!
And so this is a very helpful tool when I go to battle too 😉
Have a great week, everyone! Here’s to making good choices 😉