As parents, we’re all going to face the ups and downs and challenges of our kids. We’re supposed to be here to guide them in making the right choices. We’re supposed to expect them to respect our wishes and demands. We’re supposed to enforce our beliefs. It’s a lot we’re supposed to do.
And while I try hard to be consistent and direct with my expectations, I’ve also learned to pick my battles. There are things to expect, and there are things to expect.
After battling with Little all winter and, really, since 2011, about what to wear each morning, a few weeks ago (right around the time I returned from Disney with my more relaxed #DisneySide), I decided to let one of the battles go. Our mornings are so routine. When everyone gets along and works together, they’re almost calm and easy. But on the days Little wanted to wear something different than we selected the night before, or wear mismatched shoes or a t-shirt on a cold day, our mornings were stressful and harsh. Everyone was on edge.
So, I made a deal. She can pick her own outfits, and I’ll smile about it each morning. She’s agreeing she’ll be dressed in time for breakfast, and I get to take a picture to memorialize her style.
For the past two weeks, our mornings are easier, she’s happy in the clothes she wants to wear, and everyone is happily getting out the door on time for school.
She’s also a ham, taking selfie after selfie, so it’s been decided that we’ll have a little fun. As a part of our agreement that I’ll take a picture of her every day, I’m collecting these photos on Instagram, using my own hashtag #DailyLittle. After about 2 weeks, she’s now reminding me that I have to take and post her picture–finding the spot and striking the pose. (The first #DailyLittle Instagram included a description: Selecting her own style since 2011.) Eventually, I plan to gather all of the photos and create a Shutterfly memoir for the two of us to share–curating her style and growth through the years.
She’s actually becoming quite talented–but no modeling or stylist contracts just yet.
And, Whoa. The confidence
You have to be a confident kid to pick out your outfit and pose with attitude. A friend, seeing her latest picture on Facebook, commented:
She is not absent of confidence—girl power.
That may be one of my favorite comments of all time (thanks, Jamie!) It’s true. As I look at her pictures, at the determination in her eyes and her sense of pride in each shot, she’s emulating a strength. Confidence, not all children have. A confidence that I pray so very hard she won’t let go as she matures and faces life.
I see her every day, this little bundle of sunshine who never hesitates to say what she’s thinking. A child who takes in all of her surroundings (to the point that teachers have asked if something is wrong — she almost slips into a trance while experiencing something she’s trying to understand) and then turns to repeat it, word for word, motion by motion. She has a sweet giggle and a hearty laugh. She can balance outspoken comments with soft-spoken thoughts. She’ll care about others, putting her arm around a friend, but also is the first to make sure she’s included where she wants to be. She’ll stick up for herself. She’ll show you who the boss is. Her playful spirit makes new friends every day. She skips through her young life with little concern.
How do we, as parents, help her remain a confident young lady? How do we help her to remember that she should shine every day? I celebrate her strength, but I worry that like so many girls in middle school do, she may lose it, it may lessen.
Will she always remain this strong, independent, focused child? Will she continue to be strong-willed yet concerned?
I don’t plan to blog about #DailyLittle often, but you can always peek at my Instagram feed in the footer of my blog or follow me on Instagram.
Have you chosen your battles with your kids? Which aren’t worth battling anymore?