To Idolize or Prioritize?
Written by: Trish Moser
What is the line between prioritizing my kids, and idolizing them?
Fellow parents, we need to figure it out.
The other day I went to the store and decided to observe the other parents there. In the hour that it took to get through the store with my 3 monkeys, I observed that there are basically three kinds of parents; those who are in survival mode, those who idolize, and those who prioritize.
Let’s break it down…
This doesn’t take much explanation, because if you’re a parent then you’ve been here. In case you don’t remember, think back to yesteryear with me…
You’re at the store with at least one kid, but you can’t really remember driving here. To be quite honest, you’re not even sure if this baby is really yours… because he looks just like the potatoes in the produce section and did I produce a potato or a baby?!.... You find yourself aimlessly wandering the aisles, and you look down to see that your potato baby has chewed through the packaging of the hotdogs and three of those dogs are missing. When you finally make it to the checkout line, you have a big decision to make…do you take your lookalike-potato-hotdog-chewer through the line, knowing that you are going to get stuck right next to the candy and Potato will scream for the next hour, or do you just abandon the cart and go home?
Survival Mode Parent…those years are ROUGH.
And this is where this post gets touchy, because no one wants to be this parent.
No one wants to read this and realize that they are idolizing their kids, but it is a necessary conversation we need to have, folks.
I’ve been in this situation too…
I’m at the grocery store, and I’m totally focused on my beautiful, perfect child who definitely does not resemble a potato in any way. We will avoid the lobster tank because she will scream if we go over there, and we will go by the cookie counter because she will scream if we don’t. I will buy the bread with the cinnamon swirls in it because it’s the only kind she likes, and I will make sure I buy the can of chocolate milk powder with the bunny on it, because heaven help us if I choose the off brand. I’ll try to sneak a few things in the cart that she doesn’t love, but if I don’t hide them then I’ll be regretting it! We go get in line, and I will let her pick out a candy bar while we wait in line, but I won’t give it to her right away! I will use it to bribe her behavior. I do all of this so that she knows I love her, but also because I don’t want her to throw a fit and let people know that we don’t have it all together.
Idolizing our kids is easier for us in the short-term, but it doesn’t help me or my daughter in the long run.
This is how we do the grocery store now…
I don’t put my kids in the cart with the car on the bottom. Not because I’m prioritizing them, but because I hate that cart and I’m prioritizing ME.
Sometimes we go to the cookie counter for the free cookie, and sometimes we don’t. It honestly depends on if my kids’ attitudes have earned them or not, but mainly whether or not I feel like going over there… because you know if there are some clearance cupcakes I’m for sure going to buy them…for ME.
My kids have learned not to throw tantrums in the grocery store because I have never let them win. My kids know that yelling at me will get them nowhere, and I can find a corner for them to stand in ANYWHERE. (If you don’t believe me, ask the clerks at the shoe store next to the grocery store. I think I traumatized the poor clerks.) My kids have stopped demanding that I buy them the things they like, for they know that without a polite question the answer will always be “NO,” but with politeness comes the CHANCE that I will say yes. If the foods they love are on sale, I may buy them. If I say no to what my kids want at the store, they now simply say, “Ok mom, maybe next time.”
My kids aren’t perfect, and I’m not a perfect parent, but when I stopped idolizing my children they became decent human beings. When I stopped making them the center of my world, they stopped believing that they were the most important person in the world. When I taught them that kindness trumps control, they began to make friends with kids and adults everywhere we go.
It’s easy to slump back into idolizing our kids, because we love them like crazy, ya know! But we have to keep in mind that idolizing them only gives them a false sense of what is most important in life.
So please join me in this quest to stop idolizing and start prioritizing.
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