Parenting: Tough Love & Weeds

My children. Oh, my precious children. The anointed children that my delicious Hunk-a-lish and I created together. They are adored with every ounce of my being. Warm and sweet like the first slurp of creamy cocoa on an icy cold Christmas Eve… All three of ’em equally treasured.

But I’m a mom. So, yeah…

Sometimes they make me want to lock myself in the bedroom, hide under a quilt and eat mass quantities of pizza or chocolate while binge watching every episode of Little House on the Prairie. Hey don’t judge. Some moms long for champagne and a ladies night out on the town, I long for carb-loading and the sweet freedom of my childhood. Unfortunately we don’t have a television in our bedroom and the door doesn’t lock, so…

Moms do weird things. Sometimes I find myself screaming bits and pieces of semi-profound words at my children. Embarrassingly, they’re often random, hacked-up quotes I’ve subconsciously digested from social media, like:

“You’re not being part of the solution! You’re being the problem!”

Basically I’m disciplining my children with memes now. Great. Sadly, I actually used those exact words over the weekend. It would be a fine declaration, had we been trying to solve an actual problem or working to drum up solutions for any particular dilemma, but I said it to my 3-year-old son because he refused to stop poking our dog’s poop logs with sticks in the backyard. He does this sometimes. Regardless, the scenario and the statement do not belong together whatsoever.

Anyway, our latest household drama is with one of our two teens that accidentally dropped her phone for the 9 billionth time. Shocking, I know. I will refrain from giving you the specifics on just how many times I’ve dished out eternal lectures among a myriad of eye-rolls regarding the importance of being responsible enough to take care of our own possessions. Especially the possessions we deem vital to our life essence.

You know, like the sacred cell phone.

From an artistic perspective, the vertically striped, multi-colored, black-blotched techno show taking place beneath the freakishly cool, fractured glass mosaic screen is in fact, super rad. Our daughter on the other hand, isn’t too impressed with the artsy aspect of the crisis. She prefers to use the phone for its intended purpose, which begs me to ask the obvious question… Why was the protective phone case not protecting the phone when the episode occurred?

Details be damned. It is done (literally) and it cannot be undone. At least not without getting the Apple store involved and handing over a large chunk of dough. So the daughter has been struggling with a bruised ego and a broken lifeline for a few days. We left it to her to come up with a solution. And she did. Minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. She has agreed to work roughly 20 hours to earn cash to pay off the amount it will cost to have her cell phone fixed on Friday.

Here’s the interesting part. We refuse to pay our kids for participating in household chores. After all, we are a family. We all contribute to what it takes to turn this house into “pigsty-mode” at the end of each day, so we all need to contribute to pitching in on some level when it comes time to disassemble “pigsty-mode.” We all wear clothes, we all wash clothes. We all eat food, we all help cook. We all dirty dishes, we all wash dishes. We all use the toilet, we all wash the toilet. You see where I’m going with this. One does not get paid to simply participate in a family unit.

So as a parent who believes children should contribute to family responsibilities simply because they are part of the family as opposed to contributing simply because of their desires to gain this week’s allowance, it has been quite challenging (and rewarding) to identify work that I deem purposeful and out of the scope of our preexisting expectations. I won’t bore you with the “to do” list. I’ll just leave you with this tidbit; Joshy and I love gazing out at our perennial flowerbeds. We’ll love them even more once all of those pesky weeds are pulled by the end of the week.

Tough love, baby.

For more tips on ways to provide children with age appropriate chores and life skills, read this article by Lindsey Hutton at http://www.familyeducation.com/life/motivation-and-goals/i-did-it-all-myself-age-age-guide-teaching-your-child-life-skills

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