Posts Tagged ‘bringing up boys’

True Confessions of a Mother

January 18, 2013

When my children were 7, 4 and 2-years-old (back when I only had three kids!) I read a book that stated, “A seven-year-old is capable of running a household.”  It shocked me.  But I bit into it…. with my jaws wide open… similar to my first bite of a Krispy Kreme donut.  That night, as I laid in bed with my eyes wide open, I dreamed of training my 7-year-old to take over all the menial tasks that I dreaded as a mother and keeper of the home.  I envisioned my next two offspring also reaching the ripe old age of seven…. and helping their older sister do EVERYTHING!  Oh, sweet baby Jesus, this was the answer I needed … my ticket to sanity… the train bound for the hot bubbly bath surrounded by candles …. and TIME to read a good book without interruptions.

The chore chart was born that night and materialized the next day.  It worked like a gem.  I taught each kid a single chore, one at a time, year by year, that they could master at my cleaning expectations.  Oh, would my future daughters-in-law sing praises to my name!

You may be asking yourself what I would do with all my new-found free time…. well, I’m a homeschool mom.  BAM!  (Homeschool mom = no free time.)

Reflecting back, after 12 long years in the saddle (and 9 to go, but who’s counting?), I have come to see the harm the chore chart did to my children.  Yes, it’s true.  And I am admitting it here for all the world to read.  (Well, that is…. the 80% of those in the world over the age 15 who are literate… according to a 2002 statistic.)  (Homeschool moms are experts at finding statistics to prove their point.)

As the teen years encompassed our home, I realized that my sweet chillin’s wouldn’t lift a finger for any chore that did not have their name next to it on that particular day. “WHAAAAT?  Is that how we brought you up???  To be selfish and petty?”  Made my blood boil.  (That only happens at 212 degrees F…. and I was THERE, baby!)

Discussions revolving around teens and the spirit of helping, a willingness to serve, desiring to be like Jesus, etc. etc. etc. were had by yours truly and many others in my life.  Since then, we have regrouped and are trying something new and improved… it’s called being nice.  Being thankful.  Not feeling entitled.  An announcement was made at the dinner table not long ago…. it went something like this:  “We are a family.  We help each other.  We serve each other.  If someone cared enough to plan your meals, go grocery shopping, cook for you and set the table….. then you need to stick around until the whole kitchen is cleaned up and the food is put away.”  BAM!  It has worked beautifully for three nights now.  I will keep you posted on the success of trying to teach my children to be helpful without their name written on a chart.  Pray for me.

Now, those who have great faith in my chore chart abilities, do not fear.  Only the kitchen tasks have been removed.  Their names are still next to chores that include wiping toilets, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning windows, collecting trash, etc. etc. etc.  Some things just need routine.  Ok, I just need routine…. and a long bubbly bath surrounded by candles.

It’s TRUE!

July 24, 2012

That ago old adage that I’ve heard since birth uttered from parents, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” IS TRUE!  Be warned.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  Parenting is not easy, but it is worth it 27 gazillion times more than the pain it brings.  Yesterday was the first time I lived through “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” from the parenting side of the equation.  Details need to be kept to a minimum, but a HUGE decision was made by my husband and myself that not only affects one of our children, but is one of those examples to all of our children who will remember forever, “When mom and dad ask you to do something… they mean it.”

I think I cried more than the child did.  My husband called a couple of times throughout the day and asked, “How are you doing?” not how is the child doing.  The child will be fine… and stronger for it, we hope.  I was a mess.  I always want to be known as the dream builder, not the dream crusher…. but sometimes when we see discrepancies between what we have taught and how the child is behaving…. dreams have to be put on hold.  We have to go in reverse for a bit and re-learn a few character issues that were obviously taken too lightly.  Delay is not denial… I learned that from my baby sister.  It applies here.  Delay is also dumb when we are not getting our own way… which leads us back to character issues AGAIN.

This reminds me of when my mother, in a flustered and frustrated situation, would tell us, “Go to your room and holds hands with yourself.”  When I became a mother, I completely understood the meaning of that.  I changed it up a bit for the next generation and have been known to relay loudly, “Go to your room and pray to Jesus that He makes you nice.  And don’t come out until He does.”  It’s all good.

It’s all about character.  How you behave when no one is watching is KEY.  Priorities are KEY. Being obedient is KEY.  Not just for our kids, but for all of us.  Blessing follows obedience…. every stinkin’ time.  God is so good.