Pandering a.k.a Picking my battles
When you have a small person who has particular (often irrational) requirements do you stand your ground and watch the situation unravel or pander: go with it whist silently rolling eyes, and save your energy for another time aka pick your battles? Who cares what you call it, if the end result is the same, they are the same.
I prefer to call it picking my battles.
Yesterday morning when a nutella sandwich was made incorrectly (by placing two separate pieces of bread together in what any normal person would call a sandwich) a meltdown ensued. It wasn’t just your usual leg wobble, pout, stomp, fake cry but a real gut-wrenching, sobbing, snot-flowing meltdown.
Faced with the before-school meltdown (yes it was a breakfast of champions) do I:
a) I get cross, refuse to do as requested (make sandwich again using only one slice of bread, folded into a sandwich); or
b) go with it and re-make the sandwich as per his requirements
What would you have done?
Generally I don’t have the energy for battles over tiring trivial issues and try hard not to get caught up in them. However, being honest, I often fail and lose my rag over the minutiae then berate myself for being a raging mother. In an ideal world I’d always keep my self together and "pander" to all the weird and wonderful requests, saving my resolve for when the behaviour is outrageous or when they are purposefully disobedient.
This alludes to my parenting style – yes, I am quite strict: the children will use good manners, speak to others with respect, behave in public, they won’t hit or be physical with other children and generally will be pleasant to be around - anything else is just not OK. I don’t have rules but I do have expectations of them.
So, if I have to choose I go for option a) – remake that nutella sandwich and hope that everyone is the happier for it. Nutella sandwichgate over, I'm a little fraught but nobody is crying and more importantly I have full arsenal of parenting tactics for the remainder of the day.
If I retell this story another day, over another similarly trivial issue, the outcome may well be different but today, it was good.
4 year old: 1. Me: also 1.
Everyone’s a winner!