As many as three times a week, I am tempted to argue with my kids. But in that particular setting, I know it won’t do any good. It would be to start an argument I cannot win.
We try always to eat dinner together as a family, even if I have an evening meeting. Then, when I do have a meeting, and I get ready to leave, nobody is happy. I would rather stay home; they would rather I stay home.
Sometimes one of them says something like
You’re always gone at meetings. You never stay home with us.
I know this isn’t true. I am home at least a couple of nights a week! And, what’s more, I know parents who aren’t able to come home for dinner with their families as often as I do. And I know parents who simply don’t come home, even if they are able.
But when my kids say those things, I don’t respond with reasons, or justification, or by attempting to prove to them that I am doing better than some parents. None of those things would help. None of those are arguments I could win.
Instead, I hug them again, tell them I love them, and encourage them to “make good choices” while I am gone. I think they understand when I have to go to a meeting, and I think I understand how they feel.
I am very sure arguing won’t make it any better. In fact, taking up a case against their wanting their dad to stay home would actually work against me. I don’t want to convince them that I should be going to meetings, and I especially don’t want to convince them that they shouldn’t miss me.
So I accept their love and offer mine in return. Which is probably almost always better than arguing.