For some of you, thats a “no shit”, for some its a “no way!”.
This just brings me to this mornings read. I have to admit something though, I bought another magazine. I cant help it, I saw it, was totally enticing, I even was in line, walked OUT of line (while the cashier was ringing me up), just to slip into an aisle that had the current issue of Real Simple.
What made me get it? It says “Let it Go” on the cover. I saw it while walking across the store to get to the creamer. After reading it, my thoughts kept bouncing around from “I wonder what their New Years New You BS is..” to singing “Let it go, Let it go, Cant hold it back anymore” (My 5 year old is a princess obsessed singing maniac. I know all the words not because I have seen the movie Frozen a million times but because she has sung that song a BILLION times <— With hand movements, flicking of hair (did I tell you she cut her own hair to give herself bangs like Queen Elsa?), and the twirling of a dress she isn’t wearing).
Back to Real Simple… I have been a reader for years. Its one of the prettiest cover magazines, with nothing behind it. Yep, they get me with the cover, but they keep it too simple with absolutely worthless content. I’ll give them some credit, they have gotten better, and some issues are better than others. Though sometimes what can make a magazine worth the purchase is just ONE picture or ONE paragraph.
This time they got me with their article “How to Raise a DIY Kid”. What does it say? Let your kids do shit for themselves. Yep, we live in an age of indulgence and baby the crap out of our kids. There are so many times that I get so frustrated with how ungrateful they can be, but they just don’t know any other way. My parents didn’t do 85% of the things I bend over backwards to do just to please a 5 & 6 year old. Its stupid. Its mind blowing.
Had a friend give me a really good piece of advice once. We had walked to the park, all I wanted to do was sit down, chat with friend, but the kids wanted someone to play with (though they have each other). They wanted someone to push them on the swing, or go down the slide, or do this or that… It was hot, and I remember being so frustrated. “GO PLAY! PLEASE! Stop interrupting the adults! IF YOU DONT GO PLAY, WE ARE LEAVING!“, I think they saw red in my eyes and scattered, but only for a moment. Then my friend said “Hey, relax, its not YOUR job to entertain them.“. What? Wait. Your right. It ISNT my job. We then reminisced on how we couldn’t wait to run away from parents once we got to the park as children. How you did everything to avoid them, and NOT bother them so you could stay and play as long as you wanted. Though I believe we should play and interact with our children, I don’t believe in being a slave to their wants and needs.
Another point made in the article is, well, “Think about whether your child has the necessary skills-enough dexterity and balance or simply adequate sleep and snack. Yes? Then back away from the shoe laces.” I do everything for those kids. Main reason, because its easier and faster for me to do it. Are they going to learn though? No way.
Just last week I was pouring their cereal, making breakfast, checking their backpacks to make sure everything was there, writing teachers notes, making checks for extracurricular activities, all that… I couldn’t think, and asked Mark to carry his bowl of cereal to the table. Normally I do this. I do it all. I get bowl, spoon, milk, cereal, tell them to sit down, then pour milk into bowl, pour cereal, hand them bowl, hand them spoon, hand them napkin, all the while doing what I said above… But this time I just simply asked him to walk his bowl to the table…He did, but right as he made it to the table he knocked his elbow on the chair every so slightly and spilled cheerios & milk EVERYWHERE. He automatically was shocked, upset then turned to me and said…
“MOM! Look what you made me do!”
What I made you do? What the shit? BOY! He blamed me because I gave him a simple thing to do, to feed himself, while I was getting things done for him. I wanted to freak out. I was filled with rage. That little shit. He continued to look at me with a face of putting all blame on me…
“Oh I don’t think so homeslice. You walk your arse straight into that kitchen, get a paper towel, DONT YOU PULL OUT TOO MANY, then walk back over there and clean that up!! NOW! Then don’t you EVER blame me for something like that again. Did I knock your elbow? NO I DIDNT. Take responsibility for your OWN actions, MARK HEBERT! DONT EVER PUT THE BLAME ON SOMEONE ELSE! And you know what, no cereal for you. Have a granola bar.”
Who knows if I handled that situation as a proper parent. What I DO know is, that if I said that to my parents, they wouldn’t have said a WORD, but would have walked up to me and slapped me upside the head. First, you don’t talk to parents (adults) that way, second you did it yourself.
What came out of that situation? Mark now carries both his and Chloes’ bowl to the table. SUPER CAREFUL. Even screams “GET AWAY CHLOE!” so she doesn’t cause him to spill. Then once he has the bowls secure on the table, he looks up at me and smiles. Inside I am smiling, but I give him a stern thats-right face. Though its not the nicest of my faces, he knows me well enough to know, that I am happy he handled the situation and did that for his sister.
Also I am now remembering an instance where I slept in one weekend. When I woke up, I came to the kitchen saw them watching netflix (they know how to turn this on, on the big tv), I asked if they wanted some cereal, Chloe replies “No thank you Mama. We already had some.“, I was a tad confused, looked over at the table, I saw some split milk, but no bowls. Chloe sees me looking and says “I put them on the counter because I couldn’t put them in the sink, Im too little.” Hmm. Ok. Apparently if hungry enough they can feed themselves, and put away their dishes.
Never underestimate your child. I underestimate them all the time. I can work on that though. Tomorrow I am going to set everything out, and have them prepare their own bowls, then after Christmas break have them start making their own sandwiches for school. The biggest test for me here, is not letting them do it, but having the patience to let them take the reins and do it for themselves.
I guess it takes a reminder via a magazine article that our children need to learn in order to grow, and even though it can be hard for them (and for my patience), well, the hard is what makes it worth it, and they CAN do hard things.