I want to raise able adults just like every other mother. My kids don’t get that I am doing things like giving them chores and more responsibility for their own good. Just the other day after asking my son to do me a favor, he started arguing with me. I told him he’d better just do it, and reminded him that I was the one who gave him life. He responded with, “I never asked to be born.”
Things can get dicey while trying to raise children to be competent adults. I am sure my kids will keep thinking I am the devil regarding the following subjects — at least until they have little kids of their own.
Yes, I cook dinner for the family, but they help. If they have a special request for a meal, I am happy to oblige. I want them to be grown men and women who know their way around a kitchen. However, breakfast, lunch, and snacks are all up to them. My oldest asked me to make him a snack the other day, and by that I mean he sent me a text that said, “Mom, can you make me some nachos?” from his room while Skyping with his friends. I won’t tell you what happened next, but I can guarantee that will be the last time anyone in this house asks me to make them a snack unless they have a raging sickness or a broken bone.
I give my kids plenty of chores because I believe it is the best cure for boredom, the best revenge to their sass, and the best way to teach them life skills that are essential for adulting. They call it “Mom Is Using Us as Servants,” but I don’t give a fuck what they call it, as long as that laundry gets folded and the dog crap gets picked up.
If they smell like they need a shower, I feel the need to let them know they are a little ripe — but I’ll only say it once. If they want to walk around smelling like a rotting onion, that is their choice. As they get older, my friendly reminders happen less often. I don’t nag, I don’t leave them notes, I don’t rush something they forgot to school, and if my 12-year-old wants to go to leave the house without a coat when it is a chilly 12 degrees, then good for him. If I turn into their secretary, how are they going to learn to be responsible? Besides, it would be strange if I were the secretary to my servants. That just doesn’t make any sense.
4. Speaking for Them
If they are struggling with school work, I try to help as much as I can, but if they are not absorbing it or still feeling frustrated after mommy performs her best sip-and-teach, I don’t send an email to the teacher anymore. I tell my children that they need to ask for help themselves, and I will support them in any way I can. If we are in a restaurant or a store and they have a question about something, they ask it. I am not the translator.
5. Fighting Their Battles
It is essential that my children learn to fight their own battles, unless it escalates into something harmful. When it comes to everyday friend drama — and my boys experience this just as much as my daughter — I am not around to help them while it is happening. They have to learn what feels right and how to walk away from situations that threaten their joy.
In order to know what that feels like, they need to experience the ugliness for themselves. I do not pick up the phone and tell another parent how horrible their child is, based on one side of the story. I am here for as much guidance as they need in this department, but I get my daily dose of drama from Days of Our Lives, so really kids, handle it yourself.
Are my kids going to be able to fly in the real world? Have I given them all the tools they need to take care of themselves when they leave the nest? I have no idea, but I can assure you I am enjoying the free labor while it is here. They roll their eyes at me at least 10 times a day, so I am pretty sure I am doing this whole “trying to raise an able adult” thing just right.
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