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Pick Your Battles, Mom

Written by Kathy Glow

Written By:  Kathy Glow @ Kissing the Frog

I  filled the backpacks with brand new school supplies weeks ago. I  lined up the white uniform shirts next to the stiff blue uniform shorts. I filled envelopes with the Labels for Education that I had been collecting all summer long. I had written the boys’ names carefully on the back of each label as there was to be a contest. I made sure each one had an equal number of labels.

Hubby and I took the boys to buy new shoes on Saturday.  Jack and Colin easily found shoes they liked in their size, but of course our moody seven-year-old, Adam, couldn’t find a single pair he liked.

“Just pick some shoes,” Daddy said, “we’re not going to spend all weekend looking.”

As I tended to agree with Adam that none of the shoes were appealing (seriously, what is it with boys’ clothes and shoes?), I whispered in his ear that if he didn’t find anything he liked, I would be willing to take him to another store the next day.  After all, a special day calls for special shoes; but eventually he found some he liked.

At Open House, I made sure to introduce myself to all their teachers, and signed up to bring snacks and be a room party mom.

I made sure I set my alarm as not to oversleep and miss walking them into the school for their first day.

Yep, I had it all covered.

Monday morning, the boys were up and dressed with no reminders. Jack, who had been anxious about all the homework in third grade, was even excited.  He was singing some silly song he had made up about school finally being here.

The morning was going well, and Daddy said good-bye at the house before going to work.

The boys posed for their obligatory picture:

…and we were off to school.

The parking lot buzzed with activity as parents and children flooded into the school building.  Luckily, I found a spot up close to park the van. Then –

“Mom, what are you doing?! You’re not going to walk us in!” Adam cried.

I stopped short. “But all the other parents are,” I gestured to the families walking excitedly across the parking lot, cameras in hand.

“No, don’t walk us in.  We can walk ourselves in.” They were both protesting now and were rapidly opening the doors.

I jumped out and quickly unbuckled Baby Evan from his car seat.  All three boys were already out and headed to the crosswalk. This was not going according to plan.

“Don’t follow me, Mom!” Adam yelled at me in front of a group of parents and children waiting to cross the driveway. Jack was already running up the sidewalk into the school.

I stood there, dumbfounded, as my boys left with not a hug or kiss. After all my careful planning, the first day of school was ruined.

For me.

After all I had done for them, I was broken-hearted that my seven and eight-year-olds wouldn’t let me walk them in to school this one day. Words that Hubby had said after Open House the previous day rang in my head, “Now, Mommy, it’s not about you.”

I beg to differ. And I think any mom would feel the same way. I work so hard to make sure that everything is perfect for my kids – they have what they need and what they want. I make a celebration out of it so they feel special. Couldn’t they give me this one thing in return? Couldn’t they just go along with my plan?

At first, I had a hard time hiding my hurt feelings when I picked the boys up from school that afternoon. That quickly dissolved, however, when Adam told me that he had won the Labels for Education contest. And, he was sharing his prize, which was a gift card to Sonic, with his brothers.  He wanted to buy everyone lunch!

On the way to Sonic, I asked the boys why they didn’t want me to walk them in.  As I knew they would, they just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Because we can walk ourselves in.”

I let them know that they hurt my feelings, and left it at that.

But that’s when I realized that they had plans, too.  That they had been thinking about this day for a long time, too. They had remembered how good it felt to know where they were going and to get there on their own.

I was upset Monday because I felt like they hadn’t respected my feelings about something so simple; but I realized that I hadn’t respected their feelings about something so simple either.

Raising children can’t always be about neat piles and everything in rows and plans that always work out.  And since I tend to think that way, that’s very hard for me to accept.  But I’m trying to grasp that I will have to decide which battles are worth picking, and which to let roll off my back.

Besides, Jack gave me permission to walk him in the rest of the week, and I just may take him up on that.

How often do your kids “change” your plans? What battles do you think are worth picking and which can you let slide?

Feature photo source

About the author

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four lively boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. When she is not driving all over town in her mini-van or wiping “boy stuff” off the walls, she is writing about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at www.lifewiththefrog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.

5 Comments

  • Oh Kathy, My oldest held up the sign I made under his chin like he was taking a mug shot! He ran way ahead of me and acted like he did not know me. =) Little Nolan would only hold my pinky to the edge of the parking lot ….. such a bummer when it is no longer about “US” =)

  • I would have been a sad Mom too. We start school next week but Dad had to walk the two older ones into school while I take youngest. We’re at two campuses this year. Dad is going to have to take a whole lot of pictures to make this mom happy.

    • It’s definitely hard when they’re at two different places at the same time. I’m sure I’m going to have to face this soon with sports and activities as well.

  • Kathy,
    I struggle to remember that my kids have their own agendas. Thank you for reminding me of this. They are their own little people. Each day they grow more independent. That’s what we want, right?? Is it?? Ha!! Is it just me or do all moms actually just want to control their kids no matter how old they get? 🙂