19 October 2009

Pick your battles


I'm not the type of person to face conflict easily. I would much rather let an issue die of it's own accord than try and remedy it on my own. Not to say that I'm completely spineless, but I would much rather choose my battles that try and take up every one that comes along.

This is not a new motto for me. When I started working and had to deal with douchey co-workers/bosses my dad told me to, "Pick your battles, why extend all of your energy on something that doesn't mean that much to you?" It was just something that kind of stuck. It made sense to me. My time and energy is precious, I don't have enough to go around fighting for every little thing that bothers me. Really, it made me evaluate what I believed in, what I was willing to fight for and helped me define who I was as an adult.

After I got married the "Pick your battles" mantra became even more important. Well, I should say after the Mr. and I moved in together. By that point we were both pretty sure that this was going to be a long-term thing and I for one didn't want to F-it up. So I quickly learned which habits of his I could live with and which truly set me off. Leaving his cereal bowl in the sink with milk in it? Not worth the hassle. Dropping his coat on the floor as soon as he came in the door? A battle I couldn't live with and more importantly, a battle I knew I could win.

That's the other beautiful part of this mantra. Learning to Pick Your Battles also helps you find solutions to problems. It teaches you to look for the fights that you can win, and in marriage this is generally a good thing. That doesn't mean that ALL of those other battles in life aren't worth pursuing because the going is going to be rough. It allowed me to weigh the issue and figure out if it was really worth a fight; while the milk in the cereal bowl thing annoys me to no end, it doesn't really take much effort on my part to empty it out and stick it in the dishwasher the same time that I stick in my bowl. Fight not worth having.

As LN grows up and becomes more and more independent I'm finding that I am repeating my mantra more and more times everyday. She's a smart little thing at eighteen months. She knows when she is doing something naughty and likes to see just how far she can go with it. She also has definite ideas of what she wants, when she wants it and how! Cake for lunch is a battle I'm willing to fight, but if she wants to only eat cottage cheese for a week straight...well I guess that's just a battle I'm willing to let go of.

I think keeping this saying in mind has made me the mellow, laid-back person that I (think,hope) I am. It certainly has taken much of the stress out of my life.

Which battles do you let others 'win'?
What can you just simply not let go?

2 comments:

  1. Mmm...Yes. Picking your battles. I let others win battles that mean nothing to me in the long run, even if I disagree with them. When it comes to battles that involve injustice or ignorance, it's hard for me to back off.

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  2. The battles I always insist on winning with Caitlin are the safety battles: no playing with knives, no going in the pool without an adult, no hitting/pushing/shoving other kids, no walking in the middle of the street...and the list could go on.
    Like you, I usually allow the food battles to be won by her as long as it is healthy food (such as 4 Apricot strips this morning).
    It really depends as to how it will effect me and others; same with battles with the hubby. Also yours is not the only one who leaves dishes in the sink (even when the dishwasher is completely empty!).

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