A popular saying tells us, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” is the key to a happy life. Parents have a long list of worries, but sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and let it go.
Here are 10 small things parents shouldn’t let get in the way of their family relationships.
1. Creative outfits
Unless what they are wearing is inappropriate for the situation (like a wedding or a funeral) let your kids express themselves. They don’t need to be a mini you.
2. Picky eaters
As long as they use good manners, don’t make your kids clean the plate. Dinner should be a pleasant discussion, not a family fight. Everyone has foods they hate (including you.) You can’t please everyone all the time, so let the picky eaters skate by with just a couple bites of some things.
3. A little water
Kids get wet. They love it. They’ll dry. So will shoes, floors, couches and books. So will you.
4. Lost socks
The kids like them better mismatched anyway, so don’t drive yourself crazy looking through every nook and cranny of the house for mates. Just grab your basket of mismatches and make some fun pairs.
5. Perfectly coiffed hair
I remember my cousin screaming bloody murder as her mother immaculately French braided her hair. It all came out as we started crawling under the hedge. My son’s hair sticks up in back no matter how many times I wet it down. (He can’t keep still long enough for it to dry in place.) Keep it cared for, but keep it simple. Let your kids know their adventures are more important than their hairdo.
6. Scattered toys
Your child’s imagination is bigger than one small bedroom or toy room. Let her make the magic a part of the living — no matter where she wants to play.
7. Tight schedules
I often have to tell my tardy self, “We’ll get there when we get there.” Living with kids wreaks chaos on any schedule. Lost shoes, bathroom trips and spontaneous hide and seek tournaments can derail the best of plans. Getting angry and stressed does not stop time nor speed up your progress. In fact, it hinders it. So take time to smell the flowers, look at bugs, pick up rocks along the way or play a little longer before nap time. The fate of the world does not rest on your punctuality. You’re not going anywhere that important.
8. Lost and broken stuff
When my daughter was young she broke an antique vase my grandmother had given me. She still remembers how I yelled. In the following years, I’ve realized — it was just a vase. It wasn’t my grandma or my memories of her. My life has gone on pretty much the same since the incident. Things get lost. Things get broken. They’re just things.
Everyone (other parents, non-parents, even kids) thinks they know the best way to be a parent. They’re all full of it. Sometimes people may hurt our feelings thoughtlessly. Sometimes they hurt them on purpose. Just let those comments slide right off. When you hold onto hurt, you’re the one carrying it — it affects the offender very little. Do the best you can and remember, you’ve put your foot in your mouth before, as well.
Everyone makes them. I make them. My kids make them. My spouse makes them. We’re a family. Forgive and forget — even the big ones.