Do you know what an accommodation is for me?
It’s me driving farther down the parking lot, away from the entrance of the store, because I suck at parking. I “accommodate” my poor parking skills to provide safety and comfort for myself (and the other cars around me – you’re welcome). I alleviate a lot of stress by finding a really wide-berthed parking space.
I also accommodate my husband (not officially married, but heart married. Does that make sense? I hope so. :)). He likes to wander and not have plans . . . even though we have three children with our combined family. We have kids that need to be front-loaded (I’ll write more on this soon). They need to know what, where, when, how, and why.
I prefer to know what, where, when, how, and why as well, but when we have a weekend without the kids, I make sure to work wandering time into our schedule with absolutely no plans. This is a loving and kind accommodation I’m happy to share with him.
I accommodate my younger son by having full-size carrots. He doesn’t like the little ones.
I know someone who only goes into the even numbered lines at Target.
I know someone who microwaves the milk for her coffee for fifteen seconds exactly, whether it needs it or not. Every time.
I know a man who drives a different way home from work every day.
I know you do something that is helpful for you. We work adjustments into everything we do. We work hard to feel better, feel safer, have more comfort, and we do this by “accommodating” or “adjusting” to our preferences.
Accommodate: to fit in with the wishes or needs of. That feels like such a kind definition, doesn’t it?
Why I Get Mad Sometimes
Why are we intent on forcing our children to do so many things that are absolutely difficult for them, if not impossible? Yes, they need to brush their teeth. That’s a non-negotiable. Yes, they need to be kind and not hit, but this might require many, many reminders and acts of separating from others.
But if my son freaks out because he needs to get his shoes on first, why would I force all of us to suffer by putting my shoes on first, while he screams and flails and threatens me? Might I force this issue because of power? Could it be that he needs to learn these life lessons? For what purpose would I put him through that if getting my shoes on first doesn’t matter? Here’s a hint: it doesn’t matter.
I find so often, and from so many different people and avenues, that we constantly want to change and update how our children do things, things that are incredibly difficult for them, simply for the sake of power. I’m baffled by it for sure. Why does it matter to me who gets their shoes on first? If he works hard to get his shoes on in a timely manner and we stay on schedule, why would I care if it will help him have a better day? Or better yet, why wouldn’t I do that for him?
I don’t have anything to prove here. I have a son that needs to be cared for. I have a need to avoid screaming and crying. I don’t really care who gets their shoes on first.
Truly, what does it matter?
I’m completely okay and welcome “accommodations”, in fact, but with a few caveats.
- He must be respectful of me and the people around him.
- He must understand if I forget. When I do forget, I always apologize. Please note that this has been a real process and looks different at every stage. One stage: he refuses to put his shoes on regardless of my apology. Another stage: he “lets me” take my shoes off so he can put his on first. Right now, he can almost get through it without incident if I forget.
- If any accommodation changes, he needs to make sure to tell me. So if shoes is an issue one day, but socks is an issue the next day, I ask that he give me time to adjust as soon as he knows it’s an issue.
- If one accommodation requires a change on my part, he has to choose another one to drop.
- As an add-on to #4, there are times when difficult events happen and he has to add more “accommodations” while he works through different struggles. For example, summer vacation starts, school starts, I travel away from him, we move, etc. These extra accommodations are okay and necessary for his well-being and all of our well-beings. I’m willing to help him and offer more accommodations during difficult times so long as the ultimate goal is to help each other.
An Accommodation Makes You Feel Better
Accommodations are to be honored and respected and given in abundance. If your son wants to throw the ball three more times, then by all means, allow him to throw the ball three more times. He’s sure to feel more loved if he is heard.
If your daughter doesn’t like the color green, then buy her a red pencil. If you buy yourself something, do you buy something that you hate? If you do, you have permission to buy what you really want.
An accommodation is something that makes you happy. It’s something that helps you feel more calm and peaceful. It’s something that we do for each other that helps the world be a better place to live.
Thank you for helping yourself and your child feel safer, calmer, and happier. It’s important work we’re doing.
With love always,
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