Day 5: Sometimes you have to Compromise

Nope, this isn’t what you think. Specifically what I thought of in this context was when Iwas little. We lived in a tiny little rental on a corner just a few blocks from my parents’ current home. It had three bedrooms–if you counted that the “family room” was converted into a bedroom for the girls. And the little closet-sized room off the laundry had been converted into a bedroom for my brother and the baby. Yeah, did I mention it was tiny? Luckily it came with a large yard, trees to climb, an empty pasture nearby that we could explore with friends, and a swing under the pear tree.

I know now that my mom was ready to tear her hair out most of the time we lived there–she had 5 kids, and gave birth to #6 while we lived there, after all. She encouraged us to play outside as much as possible, and when we went to the store with her we had a big yard to play in out back (which sadly lacked trees, but boasted a garden, swing set and sand box). I remember often (probably most of the time) after she sent us to bed my sisters and I would get up and run around the room. We thought we were being sneaky as we giggled and bed hopped.

Mom was not left in the dark. She could have made us all miserable–especially herself–by coming in and forcing us to get back into our own beds and get to sleep. And sometimes she did, but I know a lot of the time she sat in the living room too tired from a long day of work (and wrangling us there), and coming home to do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, mediate fights, etc. Often she just let us giggle and think we were fooling her.

Why do I write about this? Because sometimes parents have to let the little things go for their own sanity. We may have been a bit tired the next morning because we stayed up too late, but there was no serious harm, and we all grew up well adjusted enough. Sometimes moms have to take a break. We don’t hve to be super mom all of the time (and let’s face it, even trying for a few hours can be exahusting!). As long as we kept the noise down and stayed in our room, there were many nights she let it go while she worked through the details that kept the house running, then settled down to relax for ten minutes before heading to bed to start it all over again at 5 the next morning.

As a foster parent there were plenty of times when I had to just let the little behaviors go. Sometimes I had to take a time out so that I could be a good parent and deal with the day-to-day things that popped up. Her example helped me accept some things aren’t worth worrying over and focusing on those that are.