Picking my battles {Living Arrows #1}

There is something that you learn very quickly when you’re a parent to a toddler: you must pick your battles. Spending your whole day saying a variation of the following phrases “No”, “Stop that, please”, “Get down from there” and “Don’t lick that!” is exhausting. Some days I am bored of my own whiny voice by 10am.

In order to get through the day, without having some sort of breakdown, I am learning to choose my battles. If Jasmine is doing something I think she probably shouldn’t be doing, I pause, and I ask myself “Is this dangerous?” and then “How dangerous?” Because if it’s a situation that’s not immediately life threatening, I then have to decide if it is a battle worth picking.

For example, yesterday we were out for a walk and Jasmine decided she wanted to hug a lamppost that every dog on our estate has probably peed up against. Because, you know, when you’re 16 months old, lampposts are splendiferous. Do I tell her to “Stop that!” and pull her away, resulting in a meltdown for the next 20 minutes and a very long and painful journey home? Enter stage right, my inner monologue “Is this dangerous? No, it’s ruddy gross, but it’s not dangerous. Then let her hug the lamppost, she can have a bath when we get home.” Battle avoided. Mum happy. Toddler happy (and a now a bit smelly).

I mean, listen, I don’t want to end up being a pushover. Ultimately, I am still in charge, I’m calling the shots. I’m the one choosing my battles, not Jasmine.

Here’s another example: Jasmine appears to be part-mountain yak and wants to climb on everything. Including the coffee table. And this is where I think people will probably start rolling their eyes and shaking their heads… Because on this occasion, I let her do it.

I know not every parent would allow their child to climb on the coffee table but I asked myself “Is this dangerous?” and “and if so, how dangerous?” and the answers were “yes” and “not very”. So instead of pulling Jasmine off of this particular piece of furniture (and subsequently turning it into a fun game for her), I picked up the camera and snapped a photo of her gorgeous smile. I wasn’t going to pick this battle. I’m saving those up for when she’s breaking into the cleaning cupboard or trying to run into the road. When I choose my battles, I want Jasmine to know that I’m serious, I’m stopping her from doing something because I have to.

And, after this picture was taken? Jasmine realised that actually, sitting on the coffee table wasn’t as fun as she thought it would be. If anything, it was a little boring (it turns out that you can’t cause a whole lotta mischief from sat on top of a coffee table). So she got down of her own accord and hasn’t climbed on it since.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

 photo sugnatrue_zps37c179db.jpg

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  1. Avatar August 9, 2015 / 10:26 am

    Oh jenna. Not only is this super cute but so funny.
    You are totally right of course – there comes a point when you could literally spend all day telling a toddler not to do things.
    Letting your child explore is not being a push over :-)

    • Jenna August 10, 2015 / 11:09 am

      Exactly, it can just become completely draining if you let it.

      I want to allow Jasmine explore and take risks (and learn about the consequences).

      I’m glad you don’t think I’m being a pushover. I suppose we all parent different ways, and this is what works for me. xx

  2. Avatar August 9, 2015 / 2:15 pm

    You are so right you really do have to pick your battles otherwise you will never have any fun. I’m the same. Sick to death of my own voice some days!

    • Jenna August 10, 2015 / 11:19 am

      Absolutely, Karen – it’s no fun being ‘the bad guy’ ALL of the time. xx

  3. Avatar August 10, 2015 / 10:58 am

    I came over to have a look at yours after your comment Jenna and it looks GORGEOUS! You must be so proud of it! It’s so nice when you get them looking how you want isn’t it? xx

    • Jenna August 10, 2015 / 11:20 am

      Thank you so much, Katie! :)

      I have tried so many things over the last year or so but nothing has been quite right and I’ve always been left feeling a bit ‘meh’ about my blog’s appearance. However, I am super happy with it now. A few tweaks here and there and it should be good. xx

  4. Avatar August 11, 2015 / 9:34 am

    Oh bless her! It’s the lure of the ‘unfamiliar’ that pulls them in every time – Kitty and Ozzy are the same still and they are 6 & 7!

    • Jenna August 11, 2015 / 12:44 pm

      Absolutely, it’s what kids do. I sometimes have to remind myself that she doesn’t do these things to push my buttons, she’s simply exploring the world around her. xx

  5. Avatar August 11, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    Gorgeous photo! I know exactly what you mean. Eating crayons? Oh OK. Eating snails? No, yuck, take it out of your mouth. That’s my parenting strategy at the moment!

    • Jenna August 11, 2015 / 5:14 pm

      Pahaha, love it. Glad it’s not just me. :) xx

  6. Avatar August 11, 2015 / 11:08 pm

    Gorgeous photo.

    I do the same, although N is a kitchen table climber. Drives me insane and although he’s never shown signs of falling off, it’s not something I want him doing. But he does get away with it. I’m hoping he’ll just grow out of it, or I’ll use starting school as a cut off point for no more doing it.

    • Jenna August 11, 2015 / 11:27 pm

      Thanks, Emma.

      I can totally understand that you wouldn’t want him doing that. At least at school age you can use the “Big boys don’t climb on tables” line. At 16 months there is no reasoning with Jasmine, she just doesn’t understand why I’m saying no. x

  7. Avatar August 13, 2015 / 8:02 am

    Everytime my boys “play up” or want to do something I do say to myself “pick your battles”. So often I snap or say no and actually, there is no reason for it.
    You sound really sensible. And she is so cute!
    Thank you for linking up to Living Arrows x

    • Jenna August 13, 2015 / 2:27 pm

      Thank you, Lauren. :)

      I think it’s a good motto to have when it comes to this parenting malarkey. xx

  8. Avatar August 13, 2015 / 11:14 am

    Firstly – AMAZING picture, what a cutie pie and secondly YES and AMEN! I so do this. I basically get sick of the sound of my own voice and battling with two crazies daily. This did make howl muchly. Genius post and I am sure most mums WILL relate. xxxx

    • Jenna August 13, 2015 / 2:29 pm

      Aw, thank you so much Kat. :)

      I was a bit hesitant about posting this at first because I know some people are quite, erm, opinionated about different parenting styles. But this is mine, and it suits me, so that’s what I do. I’m glad you can relate. xx

  9. Avatar August 13, 2015 / 4:43 pm

    Love this photo of her, that cheeky grin, it’s worth letting her do it just to get the super cute photo! I have learnt to pick my battles, especially after having three boys. I’m sure some parents look at me and think I’m far to relaxed but it just isn’t worth my effort to breathe down their necks for every little thing! Also they know when I do say no, I mean business! xx

    • Jenna August 13, 2015 / 10:04 pm

      I know, right?! I just love her cheeky grin so much.

      Heh, I get what you mean about other parents looking at you and thinking you’re far too relaxed. But hey, you have to look after those 3 boys day-in and day-out so YOU are the one who gets to decided how to parent them. xx

  10. Avatar August 14, 2015 / 8:04 pm

    Oh I get this but unfortunately it isn’t just toddlers that you have to do it with ;) I don’t think it gets any better, just the circumstances change ha! However, she is so cute it must be difficult to keep a straight face sometimes. Gorgeous pictures as always x

    • Jenna August 14, 2015 / 10:39 pm

      Oh no Lisa, don’t tell me that!! ;)

      You’re right, it is very hard to keep a straight face at times, she is just so cheeky!! xx

  11. Avatar August 16, 2015 / 11:29 am

    I love this post, I agree with picking your battles a lot. At this age they can’t be reasoned with especially when they are so smiley with it! #mycapturedmoment

    • Jenna August 16, 2015 / 4:37 pm

      Thanks, Julie.

      Exactly that, she is far too young to try and reason with, I’d be wasting my breath. xx

  12. Avatar August 16, 2015 / 8:43 pm

    Your post (and picture) really made me smile. It really is hard, when to say “no” and when to just ignore things. I am also giving my daughter a lot more freedom lately (within reason obviously) and have often experienced the same as you did – she quickly bores of doing something silly and will just stop on her own accord – no tantrums and lesson learnt I suppose :-)

    • Jenna August 16, 2015 / 10:02 pm

      Thank you, Heidi – so lovely to hear that this post made you smile and I’m glad you can relate.

      I think in some cases, saying no or trying to stop a toddler from doing something gives them even more reason to do it!

      If I think it’s behaviour that’s safe enough to ignore, more often than not, I will. xx

  13. Avatar August 17, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    Love this, you really do have to pick your battles at this age! Bless her though, she looks so chuffed to be up there and ‘getting away with it’. Great pictures Jenna, they’re just perfect. Also, your blog is looking really good at the moment!! Thank you so much for linking up to #MyCapturedMoment xxx

    • Jenna August 17, 2015 / 9:21 pm

      She does look pretty pleased with herself, doesn’t she?!

      Thank you for the kind comment about my blog too – I’m FINALLY really happy with it. :) xx

  14. Avatar August 17, 2015 / 11:23 pm

    A brilliant post lovely. I know I’ve said it before but Jasmine is a cutie. And that photo of her on the coffee table is gorgeous. I have to do exactly the same thing with Little Miss H. She is into climbing everything. So I have to judge what I’ll let her climb and what is Everest in scale to a toddler. She has also started running up to trees, wrapping her arms around the trunks and giving them a big smooch. Not to sure what to do about that one! It is part adorable. Part yucky. Hugs Mrs H xxxx #MyCapturedMoment

    • Jenna August 18, 2015 / 10:26 am

      Thank you so much, Lucy.

      It’s tough trying to find the balance of letting them explore (and also learn about risks!) and not letting them injure themselves! I love that you have a little tree hugger. I’m not sure what to do about that either, though?! :) xx

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