The Art of War for Moms

My 3 year old locked himself inside a cubicle in the men’s bathroom. I can’t tell you how many times I said “do NOT lock that door” to him before he took the plunge and locked himself inside.


Why he was alone in the men’s room when he usually wees in the ladies’ one is a story for another day. One which includes “power struggle” as the predominant theme.


Actually, I think all he heard was “please lock the door to test your mother” when he committed the crime. And, I was adamant that he was going to “pay”.


Until I looked to my left and saw his 7 year old bodyguard with her arms folded, staring me down. They were united by a common enemy. Their army was looking strong.


I quickly tried to think back to The Art of War, to figure out my strategy while the men in blue overalls tried to knock the door down to rescue the felon. But, I drew a blank.


As soon as he was free, they both started crying like long reunited family on parole day. He was crying because he knew he had messed up. She was crying because she was overcome with stress about the situation.


I was just frustrated and exhausted. It was a crap day at Mama (Pty) Limited.


As I turned into the parking lot of their favourite restaurant, I saw my daughter in my rearview mirror “Ha Ha Ha! Shhhhh, she’s forgotten…” she laughed pointing forward towards my head. (I had threatened to go straight home after the fiasco but the lord knows that I needed the wine, so I played along and pretended I had forgotten my threat.)


That’s when I remembered The Art of War’s best quote “Appear weak when you are strong”. So, like a boss, I marched into the sushi spot and proceeded to use their pocket money to pay for the sushi (and wine).


Aluta continua, as they say.  All is indeed considered FAIR in love and in war.


© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016



P.S. Here are some more quotes from The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

Yes, I agree, many of them do apply to my little war too 🙂  Shhhh….

  • “Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him”
  • “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”
  • “All warfare is based on deception”
  • “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”
  • “The wise warrior avoids the battle”

Pick Your Battles (A story about standing up)

It was lunchtime and I was hungry. I was rushing past the two Manchester United T-Shirts and the whiff from their cigarettes seemed to add to my hunger. One guy said “what are we chowing brother?”  The other responded “I wanna chow that…nice and juicy!”


They both laughed as they watched me walk down a longggggggggggg, dark passage that seemed to go on forever.


I knew what they were trying to do. I hadn’t been in a situation like that for a long time, but I certainly had not forgotten my old friend “harassment”.


I could have turned around.

I could have confronted them.

I could have humiliated them.

I could have humiliated myself too, actually. 


But I was hungry.

So, I kept walking.



After paying my bill, a young woman’s red shoes caught my attention.  I also noticed the two Manchester United T-Shirts vying for her attention.


She turned around.

She took their compliments to heart.

They invited her to join them and together, they had a lovely time knocking back blue shooters.


As the waitress brought my bill, one of the men tapped a cleaner on her shoulder saying “excuse me, do you like big or small bananas?”

“Bananas?” she asked, genuinely missing their crudeness.

The girl with the hot bum laughed loud, further adding to the cleaner’s embarrassment. The cleaner was an old woman, with her head covered, wearing a church badge I recognised.


I turned around.

I confronted them.

I humiliated them.

I humiliated myself too, actually.


But there could have been no other way.


So I kept walking.



…but completely assured that yes we need to pick our battles, but some battles pick us and give us zero choice but to engage.


© A Heart Full of Stories, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lee-Ann Mayimele and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.