Parenting

Ever make things harder on yourself than you really need to?

Amy writes about the importance of remembering what works best for our kids

Talia has a fun new interest — nail polish! And one of our favourite mom/daughter bonding activities involves me giving Tal an oh-so-professional manicure. (Don’t think I’ll quit my day job).

“Tal, you have a choice,” I told her on a recent home spa night. “Hot pink polish or blazing blue?” While the pink polish was a 30-seconds-to-dry type, the blue polish was the takes-forever-to-dry type. Guess which one our girl picked?

“Blue,” she said.

“You sure, Tal? This one will take a really long time to dry.”

Somehow, I couldn’t sway my girl. After artfully painting her nails, I said, “You have to sit absolutely still, OK?”

Yeah right. Two minutes later, she needed a bathroom break. When she returned, I had to re-do five smudged nails. Then another little fidget. I re-did three nails. Then she pulled at her belt loops since her pants were falling down. Reapplied polish on four nails that time. And so on …

Twenty minutes later and the darn polish still wasn’t hardened. Finally after a few more polish do-overs, I gave up. “That’s it, Tal. I can’t fix it anymore. Next time we’ll use the quick-dry type, OK?”

She nodded and smiled.

This little manicure mishap got me thinking. Sometimes, we make things harder on ourselves than we really need to. If I had simply chosen the quick dry polish, we would have had instant success, perfect nails and a happy kid. 

When Tal was five, we made a decision that complicated our lives. At the time we were piecing together early intervention consisting of some therapies and part-time daycare with a support worker. Talia was learning and changing. But we wanted the very best for her. So we decided to pull her out of daycare for two summer weeks to try a new (and expensive) therapeutic day camp promising skilled speech therapy. 

Did I mention the day camp was located one hour away? So driving her, coming home, picking her up, and driving home meant four hours of driving daily. Luckily, we found a friend to carpool with. So instead, we had a mere two hours of driving daily. Long story short — the therapeutic camp wasn’t what we had hoped for. Topped off with a long drive and huge expense, it just wasn’t worth it.

When it comes to choosing anything from nail polish to therapies, we have to remember what works for our kids and what is reasonable for us. After all, the pink polish would have been just as lovely! 

Do you ever make life harder on yourself than it needs to be? Ever shell out for a therapy that you regretted?