Pick Your Battles

The best relationship advice I ever received was from my aunt, who cautioned me to choose my battles wisely. It took me years to understand what she meant, and a few more years to put her advice into practice. Sometimes, though, especially when I am tired and sick, I choose my battles poorly.

Last night for instance, at 10:30, after both kids were tucked in bed and lights were out, when Aidan decided he needed his night light. I can't stand night lights. For one, they are a huge waste of electricity - they work their magic, keeping monsters at bay for the ten to twenty minutes it takes children to fall asleep, then become monsters themselves; little vampires, sucking energy all night long. Second of all, I don't sleep well unless the house is completely dark. And third, I had no idea where to find Aidan's night light, or "moon" as he cried and whined from his top bunk.


The night light should have been in his room, but our children are notorious for relocating household items to random places. I had no idea where to begin looking for the moon. I was tired, and sick, and dying to fall asleep in a completely dark house where very little electricity was being wasted. So I yelled at Aidan to stop crying about the moon and go to sleep.

If you have never yelled at your child, you are a saint of the highest order. Pass Go and collect everlasting glory. I am no saint. I yell at innocent victims of night light relocation. Poor Aidan. His cry became a whimper. Then he had an idea - "Mom, I think my night light is on the back porch." I looked, to no avail, but as I was coming back into the house I spied a white cord sticking out from under George's night stand. The moon was found.

tired happy boy

The boy was happy.

The mom apologized.

The boy fell asleep.

The mom sneaked into his room and turned off the night light, because some battles are worth fighting. Like the battle to save electricity. But I'll save that story for later.


  1. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    methinks you need one of these :^)


  2. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    It so time consuming being the perfect non yelling mama...why go to therapy if you have nothing to talk about?

  3. I love the picture of Aidan. Sweet boy.

    And it's so hard to not yell at your kids when your tired and all you want to do is sleep. Me? I had a latte this afternoon ;)

  4. oh, i'm a yeller. and i completely blame my mom because she is a yeller, too. i also turn the night lights off every night, too. they drive me crazy!

  5. Nice to know I'm in such excellent company as a yeller....I too blame it on my mama and her's before that! I'm pretty sure there is a genetic component.
    I tell myself that as a way to manage my guilt!

  6. AnonymousMay 08, 2008

    Poor baby - both of you - sorry you're still not feeling well! It's always the small things that seem to put Moms over the edge sometimes! The good thing is when Aidan is grown he won't even remember this little experience. There are things you and Robert don't have any recollection of that I will always have guilt about. That's just part of the Mom experience. Love you!

  7. Glad it all turned out well in the end!

  8. Such a sweet story. Alas, I don't get the Monopoly money, either. The therapist he will see when he is grown will. Oh well.

  9. Awww, the apology is the most important part -- and I use it more often than I wish I needed it. Being tired is my biggest culpret (and my mom was a huge yeller, it must be a generation thing. She's an awesome grandma however -- whew).

  10. I wasn't a yeller but I have yelled. I know just how you felt. You handled it very well, which is hard to do when you're tired. I hope you have a better day today.

  11. I love what your mom said. My mom remembers some of the bad things, too, and is amazed that I don't remember that. She was a once-in-a-while spanker and feels terrible about that. I can only remember one time getting spanked by her, and I was truly being a terror that day.

    I pray my own kids don't remember the yelling moments.

    Hope you feel better soon, and then you can whip up some sweeties for the sweets to make up for it!

  12. AnonymousMay 11, 2008

    I doubt there are many who get to pass Go and collect their $200; I know I am not one of them. One day at a time.

  13. I lose my patience way too easily sometimes. I yell. I apologize. You are such a good mommy, and I really, really appreciate you sharing this little story here. It's good for me to know I'm not the only one to lose it sometimes.
    I hope you're feeling better, soon. It's hard to be mom and sick at the same time!
    I'm off to check on Lori's link...

    Remind me to tell you my aunt's philosophy on nightlights and early puberty.. :)

  14. That battle is really worth fighting! I don't think I would have kept myself up long enough to turn it off, but I would have felt guilty about it.


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