No one who has actually had a child said that parenting is easy.
The key is to make it as easy as possible, though. As in most other areas of daily life, I find it much easier to not sweat the small stuff. I know it’s cliche, but it works. For me, one of the things I’ve done to make my life as a mom to 4 boys easier is I do not battle with the kids over clothing choices. I even let 13 year old, Dwight, wear athletic shorts to school every day for the past two years. He occasionally wore long pants when the weather was bitterly cold, but those days were few and far between. I know some other moms judged me for this parenting choice, but to me it was a matter of logical consequences. If he chose to wear shorts, he’d be cold, so, let him be cold. It wouldn’t harm him. He would just be uncomfortable. He is old enough to make these sorts of choices. He also never carried an umbrella because it wasn’t cool. I’m not sure how arriving at school soaking wet is cool, but I’m not a middle schooler, so what do I know?
Tomorrow is the first day of the boys’ new school and, for the first time, I struggled with whether or not I should insist that they wear collared shorts and nice shorts on the first day. I want them to make a good impression on their teachers. I really thought about this a lot and even posted the question on facebook for other people to weigh in on the question.
Despite my mild anxiety over this, I knew the right answer and yesterday I told them they could wear whatever they want on the first day, and every other day, of course. Their personalities and actions will speak for themselves. Their smiles and good attitudes will project more than their clothing. I’ve made peace with it.
Part of Bob’s character is he likes to have a military hair cut. I wanted him to go to school feeling confident and sure of himself, so, this morning, before orientation and meet the teacher day this afternoon, we trekked up the hill to the tucked away barber shop one of my neighbors had pointed out to me as where her husband and son go for hair cuts. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
We had to walk down the narrow stairwell to get to the barber shop and at the bottom, it looked like an unfinished basement with some chairs, where two old men sat, chatting and drinking tea. I told them I was looking for the hair place and they pointed to my left, where we found an actual, small, old school, barber shop, and barber, Augusta, reading the paper, waiting for customers. He looked genuinely happy to see us.
I showed him a picture of Bob with his hair the way he wanted it cut today and he said, “no problem,” and set to work. We chatted a little, in Mandarin, of course, but my Mandarin is a bit rusty, so after discussing Bob’s hair and the fact that he has 3 brothers and a Dad who will also come to him for hair cuts and that we just arrived in the area less than 4 weeks ago, and they start school tomorrow, I’d exhausted my useful vocabulary, so he worked quietly while I looked on and took photos on the sly.