Parents, Pick Your Battles

Parents, Pick Your Battles
By Michelle Ghilotti Mandel

Whoever invented “Pick your Battles” was sage-arific. I love the phrase and connect whole-heartedly with the sentiment. I imagine someone that looks like my Macarena-dancing Oma or Buddha saying it and following it with Enjoy. Do fun more often. Realize that the big picture is really where happiness lies. 

It might very well be the most important advice in parenting.

We, too, can practice being sage-arific and it lies in repeating the following action and making it a habit:

Take yourself less seriously. What’s there to lose? The serious, strict face? What’s there to gain? A better relationship with your children? More laughter (which can only improve the health you’ve been complaining about lately)?


A habit is started by practicing something new for 21 days straight. Do you dare take yourself less seriously starting now? You know what taking yourself less serious means for you, for each of us it’s a little or a lot different but, overall, just remember that just because we’re parents and have bills to pay doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.

When I want to start something “new” this is how I start – at Day 1.

I keep a post it or paper to the side of my computer and literally note a 1 for each day I’ve completed what I’ve set out to do. When I have 21 hash marks I celebrate. Again, it’s never fool-proof but that’s not the point. The point is to attempt every day at least once to live out loud, to be more playful and kid-like in your approach with your children. They really do learn best when you talk their fun language. (not to mention, in their eyes, they will feel so loved)

Last month my 21 days and 21 hash marks had to do with smiling and taking time for a genuine hello to my husband when we first saw each other after our day apart. The month before that was no cellphone during after school hours until bedtime so I could be more emotionally available for my son (no distraction with facebook or texts).

How to be a walking Momtra™/Dadtra: Rush; take yourself less seriously.

Time IS a finite commodity…don’t worry, be happy now!

Your kids will not remember all the “important”, serious things you had to do but they will remember you saying you didn’t have time or how often you made that serious face about fun things like jumping on the bed or getting mud or grass stains on their nice, party clothes.

Enjoy and in joy…until next time.


Filed Under: Blogs


About the Author: Michelle Ghilotti Mandel is a writer, certified yoga teacher and graphic designer running her own heartful design and branding studio, ghilotti ink, for over 10 years. Michelle is writing the how to be a walking Momtra book (blog: and is a guest blogger for Happiness Series, the Elephant Journal, and the When she’s not grooving with any of the above, she is running (usually to yoga), sleeping on the Great Wall of China, becoming an expert in expat living and, surprisingly, not making many other plans. She keeps a 5 x 4 foot canvas entitled “The Things that Make Me Happy,” which she is happy to announce will never be finished. She lives in Los Angeles with her five year old son and husband. Michelle’s blogging for Happiness Series about Happiness, Motherhood, finding a balance in life, and having fun!

%d bloggers like this: