I don’t have to tell any parent this but this parenting job is hard. It’s tough physically, mentally and especially emotionally. You do your best but your best is never good enough. And then there are no markers to tell you that you’ve been doing a good job so you don’t really ever know if what you are doing is indeed what you should be doing.
Recently I’ve had the feeling that I’m taken for granted, what mom hasn’t had that feeling? I’m a stay at home mom so I’m here and it’s easy for me to do everything. And then I feel bad for them, especially during the school year when they have so much homework combined with other activities, so I don’t make them do many chores. And then with the whining and complaining it’s often easier to just do it myself.
This spring I made a decision to try and change all that, I came to the conclusion that I am not helping them prepare for life. When they leave this house, which will come faster than I’d like, they need to be able to take care of themselves. So I instituted a mini summer boot camp. It’s a check list that must be completed before electronics are turned on. It’s my hope that these chores become habit which will carry on into the school year. The list isn’t unreasonable… eat breakfast, take a vitamin, feed the dog, brush teeth, pick up room/house, get dressed, read and/or do math for 30 minutes plus an add on like laundry/dishes/clean out car… if there wasn’t a list they would get up and turn on their electronics and it would be noon before they decide they are hungry. As a parent it’s easy to let them spend hours on electronics, they are quiet and entertained, but it also leaves me with a very uncomfortable feeling that I’m not doing my job.
What has resulted is child #1 breezing through his tasks motivated to get it done so he can achieve his reward, child #2 doing most of his tasks but the reading which he avoids and then goes and plays. I’ve stuck to it too, even when they’ve had half-day camps they have to come home and finish their tasks. Also, when we’ve had a full day with friends they have to double up on their reading/math the next day.
This guy has even taken a couple of naps when the reading has become just too rigorous.