Two weeks ago on a particularly crazed afternoon, I felt despair over the fact that, despite working non-stop all day, I wasn’t going to get through even half of my to do list. Our house was a mess. I had no idea what we were having for dinner. My daughter had a fifth grade essay that still needed to get done. I had three hours of work to finish after I put the kids to bed. I was drowning.
I texted my husband and said, “I need an assistant.” He replied, “You have three assistants. You’re just not effectively managing their work flow.” How annoying is that comment? And how annoying is it that he is right. Geez.
I do everything for my kids. I didn’t really intend for that to be the case but things have just kind of evolved to a place where I do, do, do instead of delegate, delegate, delegate.
The bottom line is that I’ve recently realized that I need to make my kids work harder if we are going to make things happen around here.
I think that this is a classic mom dilemma. When our kids are little, we meet their every need — whether that be laundering and folding their clothes, cutting their food or managing their time with activities, play time, meals and sleep. Of course, over time kids become more and more capable. But in the craziness of day-to-day life, sometimes you realize that you are cutting your eleven year-old daughter’s meat at dinner. Because that is what you’ve always done.
At some point, parenting becomes about transitioning from doing for our kids to teaching them how to do for themselves. It is part of giving kids the skills they need to take care of themselves (which I think is at its core, the definition of good parenting).
Now I just need to get with the program. At our house, this summer is going to be about work and independence — and hopefully the efficiency and satisfaction that comes with getting more done (I’m looking at you, basket of unmatched socks). My kids are going to tackle to do lists that include putting away groceries, doing dishes, vacuuming, watering flowers and changing sheets.
It is time for us to get to work. And that means all of us.
How do your kids help out at home and learn the skills they need to grow into independent adults? Clearly I could use some advice on this subject.
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