“Fight? Why would my kids fight? No, they don’t fight.”
I kind of half smiled, sure it was a joke.
I was catching up with an old friend, a rare occasion considering where I live.
And like all good moms who catch up, we inevitably were talking about our kids.
And my comment about kids fighting obviously didn’t resonate with my dear friend.
It was a light comment, a mix of mommy frustration and some humor. Nothing major, the type of thing moms groan about good naturedly and move on. The type where all you are looking for is a friendly “Oh yeah, I know what you mean!”
But apparently, her kids didn’t fight.
And my kids did.
They fight. They argue. They take things away from each other. They yell at each other. They tell on each other. They even call each other names.
And just when things are heated and I finally intervene and send them to two far opposite corners of the house indefinitely, they put up a fuss that they want to play together!
Huh? Did I miss something? You guys were fighting! Remember, he wasn’t nice to you! What’s going on?
But they really do play so nicely together. They share their stuff with each other. They make wish lists together. They make shows together. They make plays together. They compliment each other. They cover for each other. They read each other books.
And I know they love each other. Only they express it differently at different times. Not always the way I would express it.
And in the rare occasion one isn’t home, the others kind of hang around, waiting for their missing sibling to return. They don’t want to start anything without each other.
But they do fight. And my friend’s kids don’t.
And then it struck me.
We’re all moms; we have a lot in common, but we sure have a lot of differences. Our kids are not all the same. Our schedules are not the same. Our stresses are not the same.
I thought about my life.
Given my homeschooling system, my kids are together 24/7.
Every day and every night.
They don’t each go off to their own classes each day, not see each other from 9-4.
They sit in the same room together even during school time. They have lunch together. They have recess together. They have snack together. They are ALWAYS together. They love it. And they have lots of opportunity to fight, too.
And my friend’s kids – they are away from each other from 8 – 5, and finally spend some time together from dinner to bedtime. Less hours, less fighting opportunity?
Either way, I learned an important lesson.
First, I established Mommy Survival Rule #3,721: Stop and think before starting a conversation with a fellow mom.
Think: Is this a good topic? Do I want validation or a different opinion? And if there’s a chance I won’t get what I need from the conversation, then switch topics before starting!
Don’t assume we all have the same approach! Don’t assume our kids are all the same!
And then I made a commitment.
A commitment to all my fellow moms out there: Before answering a question about kids, I will give a quick thought as to why the mom is asking it.
If she wants validation, I will find a way to give it! If she wants a different opinion, I’ll give it!
But I will not answer on a whim. It’s not always necessary to answer with what my kids do.
Like a recent conversation I had.
“My son is three, and he refuses to be toilet trained!”
Instinctive reaction: “Really? My kids were all toilet trained by two!” (Pat on the back supermom!)
After a moment’s thought: “It’s totally normal. I’ve heard of lots of kids who aren’t toilet trained till after 3!”
And if you’re kids don’t fight, well then, this post is not for you :).