Is it small stuff or big stuff?

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By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution

I remember a professor in college telling the class on the very first day, “If you put the same amount of attention into sharpening your pencil as into writing your thesis, you will only succeed in making yourself a nervous wreck.” As a parent, you must deal with a million details every single day of life. If you make everything equal on the scale of importance – from putting toys in the toy box to choosing the right school – you will end up stressing yourself out and robbing yourself of the joys of raising children. 

If you give the same amount of energy to all things, then you cannot control which things stick, and which fall. Keep this in mind as you raise children. Life with littles is complicated and things cannot possibly be perfect. If you approach every part of parenting with the same intensity  it can backfire. So, in response to your intense expectations on all fronts, your child might master putting his toys in the toy box when he’s done playing, but push his baby sister over and step on the dog on his way to get there. 

Starting right from babyhood you’ll have to make choices, because you simply cannot do everything, be everything and fix everything. If you try to be SuperParent something’s gotta give, so instead of letting life happen, take control of your choices. 

If you can, truly manage to give the small things small attention and give the big stuff big attention. If you do this, you will not only be happier and calmer – you children will likely be happier, calmer and better behaved. Why? Children (and all human beings) have a limited amount of capacity. If your child is attempting to master and respond to an endless amount of parental expectations, then most certainly some will fall through the cracks.

If you give the same amount of energy to all things, then you cannot control which things stick, and which fall. So, in response to your intense expectations on all fronts, your child might master putting his toys in the toy box when he’s done playing, but push his baby sister over and step on the dog on his way to get there. 

As you move through your days with your child, know that everything cannot be perfect. Your baby will cry, your toddler will hit, your child will not obey all the rules. So make choices. Let the little stuff go for later (or for good) and choose your “big stuff” wisely.

Elizabeth Pantley is a mother of four, grandmother, and author of the bestselling book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns plus 8 other books in the No-Cry Solution Series, which helps Moms and Dads through all key stages of parenting.  Visit her at nocrysolution.com

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