God, Zebra Stripes, and Control Issues

Pick your battles, they say.

Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill, they say.

I’m here to tell you that sometimes EVERYTHING about being a parent seems like a battle or a molehill.

Let me present to you, Exhibit A…

Oh…the iPod? Yeah. That’s another blog post. :)

This my middle. She’s a spunky one with a side of creativity that threatens to take us all over and hold us prisoner.

I mean that in the nicest possible way.

She did not want to wear the outfit I laid out for her for church that morning.

Okay…that’s fine. Pick something you DO like…there is a closet that has several cutesy little dresses and skirts and tops. Plenty to choose from. Go for it.

She is seven years old…and she changed THREE TIMES.

I need an overwhelming amount of carbs to deal with the drama around here sometimes. You really want to show me love? Bring me bread. Bread and butter and cheese.

And peanut butter M&M’s.

So here’s the thing: I let her wear whatever she ended up with.

Before you tell me how you could “never” let your child out of the house like that because you’re too neurotic about how they look, let me assure you…I’ve been on that side too.

So how did I make the jump from “Oh sweet mother of pearl! Where the heck is her matching hair bow!?” to “At least she’s wearing clothes. I’m pretty sure they’re clean…you know what? I should probably sniff-test them to make sure.”?

Well it was not an easy road, my friends.

I have/had a SLIGHT issue with control with my kids. I felt like I was the only one who knew what they needed and I needed to control all the elements of their lives.  What they ate and drank and wore and when they slept and…I kid you not, I used to have near panic attacks when they would get mud or some other stain-inducing substance on their clothes…I needed to get that thing off of them and Spray ‘n’ Washed immediately so the stain did not set and ruin that outfit. I carried around, IN MY PURSE, a bottle of Resolve or Shout or Spray ‘n’ Wash.

I die of shame.

And now…I  hardly check their clothes for stains. They are grease spots and pizza sauce and Sharpie marker embedded into, I would say, 3/4ths of their clothes.

It’s not because I don’t CARE how they look…I do own an iron and SOMETIMES I even USE IT, y’all…BUT, I’m just saying that I have other things that require a lot more of  my attention.

And this past Sunday, two of three of my kids wanted to wear their own selections from their wardrobe. And I let them.

Because I don’t think Jesus cares what my kids are wearing to church.

I could be wrong…but I don’t think multi-colored knee socks and a zebra print hoodie are matters that matter to God. 

And if it doesn’t concern Him, then it’s not my mountain to die on either.

Where once I did, I JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE what other people think of my parenting skills because of how my child/children are dressed.

Here’s the thing…it’s such a challenge to get three kids out of the door in the morning anyway, that I cannot waste my energy arguing over whether or not it’s okay for the boy child to wear his “I DOMINATE THE GAME” shirt as opposed to his nice, plaid button-down and khakis.

Because that happened the day the zebra hoodie happened too.

I used to fret over missing hair bows and ridiculously dirty lunch boxes because “What would people think?” And now, I let my Kindergartner out of the car with breakfast crumbs all over his little torso and a super serious cow-lick that would put Alfalfa to shame.

And even though my child owns a nice chevron print and monogrammed outfit, I kinda want to punch whoever invented the monogramming thing. (Oh my word. If that’s like, your great aunt, I’m totally kidding.)

I wish we could go back to the days of the kids going barefoot in the summer and only getting new shoes in the winter-time.

I need a friend to sing some Loretta Lynn with me, right now. 

Now, I have a seven year old that thinks she needs new shoes every time we walk into a store that sells more than just bread and eggs.

And sometimes I give in. Sometimes I say, “Who doesn’t need new shoes every once in awhile?! While we’re at it, let’s get lots of chocolate and ice cream too! GIRLS DAY!”

Cause that’s fun and spontaneous and I WANT my child to have The. Things.

But, sometimes I say, “No. Not today. We can’t get new shoes today. You have shoes that are perfectly good to wear ON YOUR FEET RIGHT NOW.”

Cause sometimes that’s life and we can’t ALWAYS have The. Things.

And I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I will never again try and convince my child to wear something that seems a little bit more easy on the eyes than a cheetah/zebra print combo, because I’ll be struggling with that need for control every now and again.

But, most of the time…when it comes to clothes at least, I will rise to the occasion of Battle Picker and yield to the neon prints and animal patterns.

And it’s OKAY if that’s not something you’re willing to let go of just yet. We can still be friends.

Embrace diversity, I say.

Also embrace smocking and chevron and monograms and zebra stripes…