Wednesday, May 22, 2013

taking responsibilty

Having four kids, you can imagine that teaching them to take responsibility can be quite a task. I'm not just talking about picking up after themselves or throwing trash away, but teaching the kids about taking care their fingernails and brushing their hair. Those little things that I know my parents' taught me (or someone did), but I don't really remember the lesson.

SB is heading toward his teen years, and the past few weeks I've been reminded by people that he is getting older and our lives are about to change. (Dom, dom, dom...) Even though I know it's true, and inevitable, I'm not sure that I am quite ready for puberty to hit my home. (Although, if the people talking to me are right, it already has. I just don't want to admit it.) Teaching a "tween" boy how to trim his own nails and how to fix his own hair is necessary, even though it's difficult to get him to see the need. He doesn't care how long his nails are or if there's a lot of dirt under them. (GROSS) It's not until I start explaining to him why he shouldn't want dirt under his nails and that keeping them short will help, that he decides I'm right. But that feeling that he should probably trim his nails doesn't usually last long enough for him to actually trim them. Therefore, it still comes down to Mommy telling him, get the nail kit and trim those claws. (Okay, so they really aren't that long, but... :-P)

It's not that I want my kids to become completely independent overnight, but I don't want them so dependent upon Hubby and me to tell them how and when to do everything that all I've done is set them up to fail. I do believe that kids need to learn age appropriate responsibility. BG can pick up her toys and help Mommy move the the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, and wash the table. PG can do all the things BG can do, but she can wash windows and sinks, make sandwiches, fold and put away her clothes. SB has many things he can do, plus he's learning how to cook and manage a grocery budget and how to wash and dry laundry.

Chores and personal hygiene aren't all there is to being responsible. To me, living responsibly isn't just about being responsible to yourself, but to others too. It may be nice do whatever you want, whenever you want; but who honestly grows up to be able to do that. We all have some kind of responsibility to others. As kids, you have a responsibility to clean up your toys so that they don't end up broken if someone steps on them and so no one trips on a toy and falls. As a teenager, you take on more responsibility. Possibly babysitting or mowing lawns. As a baby sitter you may need to know how to safely cook a  meal, play with kids, and tuck them in at bedtime. Mowing lawns means more than just taking care of someone's yard, but also taking care of your tools: the lawn mower, weed wacker, rake, etc. As college students, it suddenly becomes your responsibility to make sure you make it to class daily and on time. You have to complete your assignments and ask for help when you need it.  You need to prepare your own meals and clean your dorm. As we get older, our responsibilities grow; and it is my firm belief that if we want our future to be filled with responsible adults, we need to teach our kids to be responsible. Even if one of the first lessons is how and when to trim your nails.

Monday, May 13, 2013

why you don't like Mothers' Day

Wow! Mothers' Day causes such tumult in my heart and mind that it makes me shake my head just thinking about it. It causes so much turmoil that my kids and Hubby believe that I don't like Mothers' Day. In reality, I do like Mothers' Day. I even like the idea of having a day off and feeling special. I just don't like saying what I want or making decisions because that's selfish. Right? (Bring on the inner battle!)

I have never wanted to be selfish or appear selfish to others (which in my mind means wanting anything for myself, even if it's something I need). Being raised to believe the right order is Jesus Others Yourself, anything that seems remotely "out of order" causes me to turn into a not so nice person. (I even struggle with the Scripture that says to love others as yourself because that means I am supposed to love myself. How can I love myself without being selfish?)

So around Mothers' Day; I can go from happy, to crying, to angry and back again all in a matter of minutes. Matter of fact my inner battle with being "selfish"  is so bad that Hubby and the kids take cover from the possible "tornado" that could occur at any moment multiple times a day. 

Honestly, when I think of Mothers' Day, it brings a smile to my face. Celebrating my mom, my mother-in-law, my sister, all the moms in my life gives me a lot of joy. I think of ways to thank them or gifts I can give. So why don't I like Mothers' Day?! I can't fathom others celebrating me. Isn't it selfish to ask others to be happy I'm in their lives; that I'm their mom? Isn't it selfish to want to feel special and extremely selfish to act on that desire?

I know this probably seems silly and absurd, but I really do struggle with this, so much that I inadvertently sabotage and ruin Mothers' Day. Because of my inner battle, I make Hubby and kids miserable and the whole day turns into a nightmare. I always regret my actions and behaviors. I never want to make my kids feel horrible, especially on a holiday.

This Mothers' Day can probably go on the calendar as one of the worst ones for my family so far. Not because anyone was sick or injured, but because my kids'  mommy (me) turned her inner battle with wanting to feel special but not wanting to be selfish into an outward war. So after a tumultuous morning and early afternoon I finally decided to try doing something I wanted to do. I took the kids outside (which is always a bit risky with my health) and watched them play. I even joined in on the playing a little bit. I really enjoyed watching Hubby throwing the frisbee with Super Boy and giving the kids wagon rides and even helping Nugget "kick" the ball around. Even though I couldn't do much to play with them, it felt great to watch them play and make memories. As supper time neared, I took a big step. I decided what I wanted for supper and instead of following my usual behavior and wait for Hubby to read my mind or make a decision of what we should eat, I took Nugget with me and picked up dinner of my choosing. Then I even decided what we should do for the rest of the evening and stuck with my desires! I almost never do this.

The second half of our day was pretty cool and remarkably different from the first half. I ended up actually feeling good after I made a decision and did what I wanted to do. I didn't feel out of line or terribly selfish either. I hope I can keep this up. I really don't want my kids growing up to think they can't ever do anything  nice for themselves.