For example, before I was married, I lived on my own in a little garage apartment attached to an older woman's home. I had my set up just right. I knew how I liked to fold my laundry, where I liked to store away my dishes, and so on. When I got married, my husband had another whole set of rules he followed. IF the towels were folded, that was a good thing, who cared if they weren't tri-folded? IF the dishwasher was loaded, who cared if the plates weren't neatly stacked together and the bowls in the proper place? WELL I DID! Then I took a step back and realized:
- at least my husband was helping out around the house
- the towels weren't tri-folded but the towels were folded
- the dishwasher may not have been organized the way I liked it but the dishes were clean
I learned it was not necessarily important how it was done, as long as it was done. So I coined the phrase "pick your battles". It's so true! There's less arguing and more happy bantering when I don't nit-pick over every little thing. At the time, we were both working full-time outside the home, so it took teamwork to get things done around the house. Now that I'm staying at home with the kids, I do find I have lapsed back into my old ways of reorganizing the dishwasher if he has helped load it. But I don't say anything. I think back to the time when we were newlyweds and smile.
Now that I have children, I've learned this "pick your battles" thing can work for them too. If my daughter wants to parade around in a princess dress from sun-up to sun-down for 3 days straight, that's fine...at least she's got clothes on. If my son wants to play in a mud puddle and splash around in the water, that's fine too...he's washable and so are his clothes. If my daughter wants to have a ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast instead of cereal or french toast sticks, that's okay...at least she's eating something somewhat nutritious. However, I do draw the line at candy and sweets before lunchtime. My daughter will ask for a brownie at 7:30 in the morning. I'll suggest she have an apple or some grapes if she's still hungry, knowing she already had a bowl of cereal with a banana. The battle of the wills begin, but a compromise is reached when everyone gets a brownie for dessert after supper.
I hope you learn to pick your battles and enjoy the moments you have with your family. It works for us.
Do you argue over the little things?