July 12, 2010

Is Blue Bad?

Choose your battles.
That's a phrase worth learning when it comes to maintaining just about any relationship under the sun:
~marriage
~co-workers
~friends
~relatives
~children

As my children have gotten older, I've realized just how important that little piece of sage advice is. Between the age of 1 and 5 most of the battles are about fundamental things, like safety and obedience. Around the age 6-7 it starts to get a little fuzzy. By 9 that phrase takes on a whole new meaning. At the pre-teen stage there are many topics that have to be weighed much more heavily than who gets the first piece of cake or how long they are going to stay in their cribs for nap time (ahh, the good ol' days).

The problem is that many of the "battles" involve more than right and wrong. Lots of times they involve preferences. My preferences don't always match up with her preferences. That's when I have to take a step back and decide if I am going to make it a battle or wait for something worth fighting for.

For example, I think my daughter's toes look adorable in Hot Spot Pink or Strawberry Delight. She prefers Caribbean Mist and Blue Lagoon. Who is right? The better question is: Is this a right/wrong issue? No. She knows my preference. But she is also growing into a young woman of her own. I want her to start making little (safe) choices. It's okay that we don't agree. One day we'll celebrate those differences and spur one another on.

For now, I'll hold my tongue and say yes to blue nail polish. Who knows, I might even find myself trying out Mint Breeze. If you can't beat 'em, join em. Right? Besides, I will have much more important things to say no to in the very near future.

Some things I ask myself before saying NO:
~ Is is morally wrong?
~ Is it age appropriate?
~ Does it lend itself to evil?
~ Is it offensive to others?

Conversely, many moms are a little too quick to say YES.
A few years ago I held off saying yes to Hannah Montana. Was she evil? No. Morally wrong? No. The "age appropriate" question stopped me from saying yes. I just didn't feel my girls were ready to be exposed to the sassy attitudes on the show. Did they miss out? No. Were they disappointed? For about a day. Now that Ms. Cyrus has shown us her racy side through the music video arena, I'm giving a big sigh of relief that I don't have to explain that to my girls.

Many moms of pre-teens are facing a dilemma regarding the Twilight series. Melissa at A Familiar Path wrote a thought provoking post that I highly recommend if you are considering saying yes. I think she and I would be great friends IRL.

Nail polish is just the tip of the iceberg (a blue iceberg according to my daughter). We as moms have many opportunities to don the boxing gloves. I don't want to remember the pre-teen years as a constant battleground. I need to carefully choose what is worth the tug-of-war. And when it's time, I'll dig my heels in and protect my babies like a mama-bear.



14 comments:

Amy said...

My toenails were blue last summer. :-) Nail polish is only temporary.

Carpool Queen said...

Well thought out, friend. In my house, I always ask, "Is this a hill upon which I want to die?"

Kellie said...

I agree one hundred percent. Mikayla is such a girly girl compared to me and I have learned that as long as she is modest and appropriate I don't mind that she likes more glitz and glamour... with a humble spirit. :)God has designed each of us different... we are not mold makers at birth, we are teaching our children to love the Lord in the way HE/SHE would worship Him through how the Lord made them!!!

Tracey said...

You nailed it! (no pun intended!)

Beautiful post...

..and if you need some green nail polish, just let me know!!

Sandy said...

You are doing a great job! Deciding which "battles" to pick is sometimes easy & sometimes very difficult. I remember those "eye rolls"... but like you said, my job was to try to do the best for you, not be your friend (that came later!)
Blue toenails... oh yeah, I painted mine blue a few weeks ago when she was over here. Actually, kind of liked them... It was a nice change.

Melissa Stover said...

this is so right on. i like your criteria for deciding. sometimes it's just a gut feeling for me and having a list like that would make it easier to explain to them and to myself.

Amber said...

Oy. How this hits home.

My oldest is going through the grow-the-hair-out thing. Ugh. But it looks RIDICULOUS when it's growing out. And I can't stand it. And I dragged him to the barber kicking and screaming the other day and got the haircut.

And as soon as I did it, I felt bad.

Because his long shaggy hair wasn't hurting a thing. It was just a piece of him trying to figure out who he is. And I feel like I squashed it.

So I've already decided to let the hair go this time around...

Just remind me that I said that in about 2 months, Mmmkay?

O Mom said...

Choosing battles here! My girls are so different from me in such different areas, and I often catch myself wanting them to act like, well me...but that's not how it works. Thanks for this honest and yet confirming post!

JCWillow99@gmail.com said...

I did mine blue, fingernails too.
It made me smile everytime I put on my rings..if it makes her happy let her have her blue polish.
Don't worry about the small stuff.

Joy for the Seasons said...

I'm right there with you. Thanks for the encouraging post!

Anonymous said...

YOu are a wise Mom! Your kind is described in James 3: 17-18 and I love seeing your applications. Love to you, Miss Dixie

anthonyandbeth said...

thanks for your post! love the checklist to help you decide no/yes. sometimes i have a tendency to say NO too quickly and then wonder why i really said no. i've been working on that and think this checklist could be helpful and helpful in explaining why i may say no...or yes. :) always LOVE your posts...

Anonymous said...

Wise words from a wise mama! Can't wait to get back in town and start walking again so I can soak up some of that!! (Well, as much as it's possible to soak in at 6am)
See you soon!
E

Gail said...

As a mother of four daughters, I appreciate this. Those days are gone for me, but I do remember them. I had the same philosophy about a little lip stick. Praise the Lord, all four girls are married to preachers! Guess they turned out ok! Enjoyed your blog. Gail