That's right, sometimes it's okay to just give a "whatever" and let the kids do what they must. Don't think of it as surrendering, but instead as keeping your sanity before these monsters who are mostly cute, but also terrifying, overthrow you. We all have those days where nothing has gone quite right, where all we can really do is slump on the couch after a too-long day, and relax.
Of course it is plenty true that letting things slide, or allowing your kids to pretty much do whatever they want, is a terrible idea. Ice cream for dinner and school ditch days, anyone? Yeah, that's not so good. But if you've had a long day, or you're all immersed in the family Christmas party, or you're just tired of the back and forth that has been going on all summer break, then yes, allow them a pass. And, as a result, allow yourself a little pass.
We're never "off" as parents, as it's pretty much a fulltime, around-the-clock gig, but there is nothing wrong with the occasional bouts of much needed laziness to recharge and give your kids some special freedom in the process. Because even as parents, we sometimes need to just turn our minds off. Or, at the very least, let our minds switch to a picture-in-picture screen, allowing ourselves a bit of time for ourselves.
9 When You've Had The Longest Day Ever
We've all been there. Your day at the office ran a bit over than the usual five o'clock cutoff. Your boss has done well in bringing out several four letter words from you. All of which she'll never hear, of course. And when you get home, the first thing you want to see are the smiling, excited faces of your little ones. The last thing you want, though, is to have a million and one questions fired at you, all at the same time.
It could be your children's excitement at simply seeing you, mixed with their need to gain your permission for whatever seemingly important thing, but all you really want is to plop down on the couch and settle into a nice slouch for a good 20 minutes or so.
After a long day it's nice to give yourself a minute or two of silence
So feel free to give in to the demands of these little negotiators. No, you won't be spoiling them, and no, they won't be forever changed for the worse. Instead, they'll enjoy the cookies or video games or whatever other contraband they'd requested, and you'll get that lazy few moments to yourself.
8 When Little One Is a Course of Destruction
Anyone with a toddler can attest to the fact that some days, no matter how much you reason and how hard you try, that stubborn little guy or girl just will not cooperate. Partly because they're toddlers and, well, programmed to disobey and do whatever they want. And partly because they probably possess some of their parent's stubborn qualities.
But that doesn’t change the fact that after giving your tot dinner options, pleading with them to finish a veggie for a treat afterward, and putting their squirming body onto their miniature potty, you will come to the conclusion that today is not your toddler's day. For whatever reason, they're intent on doing whatever they want, and nothing else. The nerve, right?
There's no negotiating with an upset toddler
We can't blame them, of course. They're just starting to get a grasp on this whole parents-in-charge notion and the reward system you've been trying to impart on them with a pocket full of fruit snack pouches. But after all of this sort of behavior, we truly don’t blame you for just wanting to take a step back and give in. Or, at the very least, allow them to throw their fit on the floor of the hallway and step out of the way.
Trust us when we say that your little one will be better for it. And so will your sanity.
7 When There's A Family Gathering
Kids, as a rule, seem to know the exact moment you're distracted enough for them to slip in requests and get a quick, dismissive "yes" in response. When you're on the phone, for example. How many parents can say that their children, so calm and collected a moment before, don't suddenly start running around like wild animals as soon as you're engrossed in a phone conversation?
Likewise, family gatherings have this same effect. Your children see how distracted you are by other relatives and take advantage of that. But if you paid extra close attention to them, policing their every activity and snack at these sort of functions, you'd truly drive yourself mad. And them, too!
Family gatherings are the perfect excuse to let everyone relax
Reserve holidays and family gatherings for the situations where you won't stress too much about the kids eating all of their vegetables, or fruits before sweets. Chances are, they're going to sneak in the bad stuff anyway at these things. Who doesn't prefer creamy sweet cheesecake over stuffing, right?
And if you've got a little one, the excitement of everyone around them will likely prevent them from having anything very "real" in terms of their meal, but again, if you dwell on that, you'll be miserable the entire evening. So let them have at it, to an extent, and remind yourself that it's a special occasion, they can be wild if just for a little while.
6 When You've Already Done This Rodeo
As in, this isn’t your first kid. And while you have every intention of treating all of your children with equal parts love and affection, there's just something much more lax about parenthood the second time around. We aren't saying that you should let your youngest child run wild, but be a little lenient with the whole clothing thing - at least while they're still a toddler.
Don't be afraid to let some things slide because, as you should know by now, most of those things really don't matter in the grand scheme of things. That doesn’t mean you went wrong somewhere when you were a bit stricter with your eldest. It just means that now, as a seasoned veteran, you can safely refrain from sweating all of that stuff that really doesn't matter.
The second child usually enjoys the fruits of the labor the first child put into you
Don't slack off, but don't be too hard on yourself or the kiddos if this time around, you are entirely more relaxed and laid back when it comes to parenting. It's all about realizing the bigger picture.
5 When You're Sick
We all know that when we fall ill to some severe cold or virus, we turn into totally different people. That is, of the droopy-eyed, feet-shuffling, nasal variety. We don't feel much like doing anything when we're sick, and often can't even stay awake long enough to finish a rerun of your favorite '90s sitcom. Throw in your parental duties and it's really a struggle.
Especially now, don’t beat yourself up over the drowsy permission you're giving your kids to break out the paint and beads. Any other time, you may be all about urging them to do something a little more active and a little less messy, but if you can't even muster up the energy to care about that at this time, then this is definitely one battle to give into before it even remotely resembles one.
4 When They're Sick
There's nothing more heartbreaking than your little one - regardless of their age - laying on the couch or in bed, amid several overly stuffed animals, a permanent frown on their little face. Most of the time, all we can do as parents is keep the Tylenol close at hand and keep an eye on their fever. But the second they are able to ask for something, you'd better believe that now is the time to give in about it.
And we manage to find good excuses to do it, too. Oh, she's asking for ice cream? Her appetite is back, yay! He said he wants to go out to the living room to play video games? That must mean his energy is returning. And even if those things aren’t necessarily true, they're sick, and they're your kids, and giving them some semblance of happiness while they are miserably battling the flu, is one of the best things you can do for them, believe it or not.
And anyway, you do know that you're entitled to some of that ice cream too, right?
3 When Winter Break Is Only Half Over
The beginning of any break from school is always filled with a bit of excitement. Extra time to do some fun activities with the kiddos. By the end of the first week, though, they're already bored of your excursions and ready to do what they want. Which, a lot of the time, entails laziness from them. And it is at this point when you realize just how stir crazy they can make themselves. And once the commercials come on the TV, they're jumping off the couch to seek you out.
Can they go shopping? Can they each have three friends come over for the day? What about a sleepover? They don't want baked chicken, order pizza instead! Suddenly, these lazy layabouts are all about their opinions. And, wouldn’t you know it, each one has a different idea.
During vacation times your kids will be extra restless
And at this point, understandably so, you're pretty much spent as far as their requests go. And it's gently easier to say "yes" so some of these things. And you will get no judgment here. Sometimes, the easiest thing isn't the best thing for children. But other times, the easiest thing will simply have to do. And in those instances, it's the best thing for mom or dad.
2 When You Can't Come Up With A Good Reason As To Why Not
That's right, they've stumped you. And while some parents are totally okay with giving the requisite reason of "Because I said so!", you can always opt for a sheepish grin and the admittance that they've won this one. It may even enable you to share a laugh with them. Because the truth is, sometimes it's hard to come up with a legitimate reason as to why they can't have something or do something.
When you look at it and realize that giving in wouldn't hurt anyone or cause any negative long-term effects, you almost can't help but say an internal, "Screw it, why not?" Or, depending on your parenting style, an external one.
Sometimes giving in is more than just rewarding for your children
When you can't come up with a good reason to foil your kid's idea or plan, allow yourself to take a breather and let them have at it. If they try to bake that boxed cake and fail, then it's a lesson learned, and you can be sure to warn them of the extensive clean up you expect regardless. But there is always the chance that the cake will turn out amazing and suddenly you will realize that you may have landed on a gold mine for your taste buds.
1 When You're Outnumbered
Okay, okay, maybe this isn't the absolute best advice to toss at you. But let's set the scene. Your spouse is at work for the day or out with friends for the evening. You're all but surrounded by several needy toddlers, school-aged kids or even teenagers. And they all want the same thing. It could be a particularly bad-for-you snack, it could be permission to go out on a group date. Either way, there really is something to be said for their incessant begging and whining.
While you absolutely should not give in every time - or most times, for that matter - we all have out days where the odds are simply not in our favor. The kids have ganged up on us, so to speak, and instead of exhausting our vocal cords with more "no's" and "not now's", sometimes it's simply easiest to just give in to the gaggle of seemingly insane kids. If only to retain some semblance of your sanity.
Sometimes it's best to agree with your kids than deal with upset children in the house
Now, we don't condone this giving in method if said group of kids are particularly disrespectful or bordering on terrorizing, but if they're still at the pleading stage and you're on your own and pretty much spent, then you have our blessing.