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What’s the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made as a Parent?

This question was posted on an parenting organization’s Facebook page recently. It generated over 150 honest and insightful comments. I’m not surprised because I think moms (I say moms because they represent the majority of the commenters) are coming to terms with the fact that the “do everything and be everything” ideal is crap. As parents we are human and we make mistakes.

One woman said, “I am by no means perfect, but I don’t think we’ve made any ‘mistakes’. There’s no real right way or wrong way to parent. We’ve done things that we learned from and tried to do better but I wouldn’t call them mistakes. We have made some of the ‘mistakes’ other people are listing though.”

I couldn’t agree more.

With that said, here is what I would call my biggest mistake so far: Letting Olivia engage in a power struggle with me over clothes choice and getting dressed. I dread this part of the morning every day. 75% of the time it ends in an argument which is not a fun way to kick off the morning. Now I know it’s important to allow children to exert their independence and there are many experts that say to allow children choices especially with clothes selections. I’m glad she has an opinion — most days. Some days I wish I could just lay out her clothes the night before and she’ll just put them on. Nope! Never does that happen!

The frustrating part is that she has a closet full of clothes (most of them hand me downs, thank goodness) that she never wears because they don’t fit the Olivia-criteria-of-the-moment.

Here is the latest: spaghetti strap dresses or shirts only (sleeves are pond muck), dresses or skirts with no leggings, sweatshirt only allowed for travel to school and then it hits the floor, flip-flops (though the emergence of “twinkle toe” sketchers yesterday from a shopping trip with daddy has changed the criteria already), and nothing in the hair…thank you very much.

She’s looking pretty cute though. So I’m learning (albeit slowly) that the power struggle is not worth it and now mostly have let her take over complete decision-making on this. I still provide guidance and rules when weather is a factor. Now if there were magic beans that would make her get dressed faster.

What’s your biggest mistake so far?

One comment

  1. Commuter Mom June 28, 2011 at 8:51 am

    We got a kids weather station for Christmas:–Wireless-Weather/dp/B0028WDYCE/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1309265116&sr=8-16 It has made the battle a lot easier – at least I know if she matches what the girl on her weather station is wearing she’ll wear the right clothes for the season. Matching or wearing occasion-appropriate attire is another story…and not a battle I’ll fight anymore.

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