Marla Smart: Playing fair or getting even? | Moms

As a child, I always wanted things to be fair. The way I saw it, if one got to do something, everyone got to do it. As a mommy, those beliefs remained strong for a long time. My husband used to laugh at me, sometimes with frustration, over my fairness issues. I would beat myself up trying to make everything fair between my children, which meant counting and measuring and letting all of my compulsive tendencies flare wildly around us. It was very stressful for everyone.

What I’ve come to realize is that what I thought was “fair” was actually “even,” which is a totally different thing. And when I started looking at things the way my husband did, life became so much less stressful. His attitude has always been that everything is not always fair to everyone at the same time, but it pretty much evens out over the long run. This has made my life much easier as a mom.

Fairness has little to do with even. I saw a sign the other day that read, “Fair isn’t everybody getting the same thing...Fair is everybody getting what they need in order to be successful.” I think this conveys very well how we need to look at parenting. Fair isn’t always even, as I used to feel. Fair is making sure people have what they need at that moment.

That really was a hard concept for me to grasp, but once I had it, life was so much easier. Being a parent is hard to do. You are trying to make the right decisions for your children. And those decisions will not be the same for each child. These little people are created uniquely and each one will require unique decisions. They will not thrive when everything is done exactly the same as the time before, because each time is different.

I may still measure out goodies evenly, or count and make sure everyone has the same number of gifts under the Christmas tree, but I won’t stress about it. It’ll work out over time. The kids know we love them and are rooting for their success. They are depending on us to help them by giving them what they need when they need it. I think I can do that.

Marla Smart is married with three teenagers. Read her Thursdays on Douglas County Moms. Also check out her personal blog here.


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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:22PM Published Sep 4, 2013 08:35AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.