Finding fairness

baby with frozen dollsProud to share another post published by Kveller!

As the sun set outside and bedtime encroached inside, I found myself sitting on the carpet in our living room, hugging a singing Elsa doll (when will “Let It Go” just go away?!). I was playing referee between my daughters, who were arguing–again–about whose turn it was to play with her.

Never mind that an identical Elsa doll (minus her clothes and crown) had been discarded in their bedroom minutes earlier. At this point, the Elsa doll in question sat in my lap–neutral territory–while my 2-year-old cried and my 4-year-old claimed that if her sister had the doll, it just wouldn’t be fair. And there I sat, reasoning with my girls about taking turns, sharing, and understanding each other’s feelings.

umbrellas“That’s not fair to me,” is a phrase I hear a lot from my older daughter. Whether it’s about how many toys she has versus how many her friend has, or how much one-on-one time she is getting with mommy versus her sister, my 4-year-old daughter has developed a keen sense of fairness. When she perceives something to be unfair, her eyes fill with tears, her little chin quivers, and her already squeaky voice goes up an octave or two as she exclaims, “But that’s not fair to me!”

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Finding the strength to let “it” go

Let it go. LET IT GO. These three simple words have swept Disneynation off its feet and given Adele Dazeem (yep, still funny) the best publicity of her career. For those without kids (or without movie watching kids, or living under a rock) “Let It Go” is one of the signature songs from the hit movie Frozen. But it’s also a good mantra for motherhood.

Babe with her favorite new Frozen dolls

Babe with her favorite new Frozen dolls

Before having kids, I was a great mom. Like, really great. That’s not to say I don’t try to achieve greatness (most days) now with two little ones. But, I’m a different mom now than I was then. Back then, I believed my kids would never order off a kids menu (ha!), they wouldn’t subsist for weeks at a time (despite my best efforts) on chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches (haha!), and that they wouldn’t watch TV as a distraction so I could get things done or take a fiver (ha… you see where this is going). But, that was then and this is now. And I have to let it go.

The truth is, I had those beliefs without living the reality. When belief and reality collided, my parenting philosophies got flipped upside down. Though I’ve tried to maintain the expectations my husband and I set for our selves and our future children all those years ago, I’ve also had to find the space to forgive myself when those, and plenty of other beliefs, got thrown out the window. Last week when our oldest daughter was home sick all week and we were watching Annie multiple times a day for 5 days, we had to let it go. When she asked for grilled cheese for dinner AGAIN tonight, we had to let it go. And this week, while I’m sick with a virus, pink eye and an ear infection (a mommy trifecta), my husband is doing the best he can to keep his head above water while I lay in bed wishing I could help, and I have to let it go.

Motherhood feels like a daily exercise in letting “it” go. The “it” changes depending on the circumstance but the message remains. It’s a good reminder that when that “perfect” Pinterest project goes horribly wrong… Let it go. Or when the well-planned afternoon outing gets stalled at the front door… Let it go. Or when whatever expectation we’ve constructed for ourselves, or let others construct for us, does a 180… Let it go. After all, at the end of the day raising kids isn’t about the “it.” Rather, it’s about laying a foundation of values, encompassed by love with a safety net close enough to provide comfort but wide enough to allow imaginations to soar. It’s about creating memories wherein the details may eventually become hazy but the emotions remain. It’s about letting “it” go and being all the better for it.

What’s an example of how you’ve let “it” go?

PS: You’re welcome for getting the song (back) in your head.