That's a phrase worth learning when it comes to maintaining just about any relationship under the sun:
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.