As you know, I have two children- a boy, age 14, and a girl, age 11. It is at this age where independence rears it head (and not always an ugly one), yet I am constantly bombarded by younger parents telling me I'm too hard on my kids. I say 'young' parents for two reasons- One, they are younger than me, and Two, because they haven't realized what independence is for their kids.
Let me explain some of the situations that have occurred in the past year or two.
Why don't you carry your child's backpack for them? Because I won't risk throwing out my back because my kids overloaded them with stuff like books, bricks, and their latest science project. I saw one mother of five carrying all of her kid's backpacks, while they ran around free as birds. Sorry, I'm not their personal pack-mule- though I am as stubborn as one sometimes! The rule here is: If you pack it, you carry it. The only time I assisted was when they had a huge amount of things to take to school in the beginning of the year, or bring home at the end of the year. My son learned the hard way and now uses his locker for most of his books instead of carrying all of them in his backpack.
Why don't you pack their lunches for them? My kids have been self-sufficient in this area for two years. Why? Because I provide the stuff to make sandwiches, and they get to make them. When they make them, they eat them- but when I make them, they might get traded for something 'better' like junk food or candy or thrown to a stray dog. It doesn't matter how healthy I make these lunches either- the fruit doesn't get eaten (at least by my son), and I get complaints that I put too much/too little of whatever it is on their sandwich, making it completely inedible. I certainly tell them the choices they have, but they do the work themselves. If that makes me a bad mom, so be it- but I don't think so.
Why do you give them so many chores? Chores are a way of life- no house can run right without at least some chores going on! And why should I do it all myself, when they can help? What would take me an hour, can be done in twenty minutes(or less) with two extra sets of hands to help- and that gives us more time together having fun as a family. Besides, I want them to be responsible citizens and be able to care for themselves and others when they move out- and they will move out, eventually- or my husband and I will move instead. Either way they'll be on their own- especially if we move out of state so they can't ask me to do their laundry. Yep- I taught them how to do that too! That doesn't mean that they like to do it!
Why do you monitor everything they do? Don't you trust them? Yes, I trust them- but I don't want them exposed to every immoral thing in their environment either. I monitor what I can, talk to them about the things I can't monitor, and let them know why I do what I do, and why they can't always see the latest TV show, movie, or video game. I especially monitor the internet. And I watch myself as well, because I know they'll be looking over my shoulder when I'm on it. Even as careful as I am, those stupid little pop-ups and ads show up on my screen that I never intended for me to see, no less the kids. Stuff happens, and I deal with it right then and there, before they get the wrong ideas.
You actually have them make their own beds and clean their rooms? Yep! I have them change their own sheets too. If they made the mess, why should I always be the one to clean it up? I help them when they need it, but they do the bulk of the work. Just call me Coach- I don't make the plays, but I tell you the best ways to run them!
I cook, clean, pamper, have a good, hot breakfast made for everyone by 6:00 am. I declutter, nurse their pains, and discipline them when they get into trouble. I'm a taxi driver, card shark, and craft organizer as well as board game player and Frisbee tosser. It's hard work sometimes.
I am a Mom, and I wear a lot of hats- but a Maid isn't one of them.
A maid won't teach you to grow- she's hired to do her job, and do it well. A maid won't make sure you're fed right, clean, or bandaged when you fall. A maid won't hug you when you're sad, let you pet the kittens at the pet store, or wipe your nose.I'm not here to be your servant. I'm here to help you become an adult. So pick up your own clothes off the floor, sweetheart, because Momma ain't a Maid!
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