On White Dining Room Chairs, and Striking a Balance
When my husband and I first got married, we ran out and purchased this gorgeous yet ill-advised dining room set, complete with white fabric-topped chairs. Everyone in our lives wasted no time letting us know just how very, very stupid this purchase was, for a number of reasons, one of which was "you're probably going to have kids one day, and these chairs are undoubtedly going to get destroyed." Being very young and very stupid - stupid enough to purchase white dining room chairs, clearly - we scoffed, and said something like "Oh, we'll just tell our kids not to go on the chairs."
Allow that to sink in for a moment, if you will: "We'll just tell our kids not to go on the chairs."
When I actually had my first kid a few years later, I had a similar attitude regarding feeding him: "Oh, we'll just only give him healthy things, and he won't even WANT to have candy! No sugar until he's ten, even!"
Fast forward a whole bunch of years, and I can tell you that I presently have dining room chairs that look as though they were rejected by a hobo camp, and not one but two kids who have totally eaten more than their fair share of candy. (And whose collective age doesn't even add up to ten.)
With the years come experience, is what I'm saying, and I am at a point now where I can look back and laugh -- hard -- at my ridiculous naiveté when it came to my kids/parenting. I have not given up entirely, though. No, far from it. What I've learned instead is how and when to pick my battles.
One of the battles I've chosen to "fight" is getting my kids to eat (fairly) healthfully. I have a full-time job, and so the time I get with my kids (especially during the week) is limited. I have worked pretty hard to ensure that this time isn't spent squaring off over platypus-shaped marshmallows, but at the same time, isn't a bleak existence of brown rice syrup-flavored gruel. (Does that even exist? Probably.) I do what I can to make eating well (again for the most part) a natural part of their lives, rather than me making a big deal of how healthfully they're eating.
Over the next few weeks I'm going to be writing here about some strategies I've found and implemented (after COPIOUS trial and error) to make doing this with my kids something that's effective, not too stressful (for any of us!), and - dare I say? - fun, all around.
(Even if we do sometimes still eat taffy. On those white dining room chairs, naturally.)
What about you? What are the battles that you've chosen, as a parent?