I am 44, my son is 14, and my awesome mother (72) came over for dinner last week. My son was doing the dishes after dinner and was doing it in his normal teenager-lazyish-distracted way. Splashing water, washing the same spoon for 5 minutes, etc. I snapped at him a little when he banged two dishes together too loudly. (They didn’t break.)
My mom said to me: Honey, pick your battles
Me: After 14 years, I still don’t know which ones to pick.
Mom: If you weren’t here to see him doing it, would you be upset to find out about it later? If you weren’t home right now, you’d just come home later to see that he’d done the dishes. You’d be so happy, and you wouldn’t ask how long it took or whether he was distracted or played with the soap bubbles.
It was a real Ah-HA moment for me, and I’ve been checking my reactions to my kids all week. It’s been so nice for all of us. They are getting corrected much less often, and I’ve stopped worrying so much about the details of how they do something or how long it takes.
[I wish she would have told me that 14 years ago! But I think she just thought of it as well.]