Because of that, though, I decided that as a mother I would do things differently. My children would learn how to do for themselves, and for the most part, they have.
This morning started out rough and led me into my mother's life (for the second time). Let me explain....
We, the Warden and I, began with a conversation surrounding the topic of a habit one of our children is adopting that might not bode well for the future. Such is the case with bad habits, right? In discussing this, I explained my opinion that this wasn't something that could be forced. We had to somehow help this child come to the conclusion that this wasn't a good thing and that the child would have to somehow decide to change it. We could not force the change. All we could do was explain and attempt to persuade.
We finished our conversation, and I went to talk to the child. Things were easily understood, and an agreement was peacefully made. Phew! It honestly took about two minutes. But, I also added that if what we had agreed upon didn't work, we would have to come up with something more to take care of the problem. That also was understood. Did I already say "Phew?"
All was seemingly handled, but then it unraveled before my eyes. We walked to the kitchen, and the Warden completely sabotaged my efforts. That child stormed out of the house and walked to school--no breakfast, no lunch in hand, nothing. Ugh!
I'm sure the Warden didn't mean to sabotage me. We hadn't even had a chance to discuss the terms of the treaty I'd pushed for yet. Did I already say "Ugh?"
#7, after a few moments, rang the doorbell, she had accidentally locked herself out. We opened the door, and there she was standing there with her little blonde head against the wall, tears spilling onto the uneaten sandwich. Her words as she sobbed: "[Child]'s not there."This was when I understood how angry the older child really was.
That was IT! Really? Why is it that no one else around here can do what I do? I mean, that was the idea behind this motherhood thing, right? Teach them to do for themselves? Are they really this helpless?
I would like to step back in time for a moment....
Back to this, which was my rebuttal to some really ugly comments on this from March 4, 2011:
I confessI made my 2nd grader go without lunch today.
My children make their own lunches. They are given enough lunch money through their accounts at school to buy four lunches or one lunch a week for the month. This particular child overdraws his account monthly. It's to the point that the recorded voice from the school district calls and leaves messages daily about his account being overdrawn--they call until it's been paid off. I only pay on the first of the month, so sometimes we're five days into the month when the calls start in. He was warned last month that if he overdrew, it would be his last month with lunch money in his account. So, you can see what happened.
Today, I volunteered in his classroom. He came to me and told me he'd forgotten his lunch. I told him I wished he would have told me earlier, so I could have brought it with me when I came to volunteer. It was then that I found out he hadn't even made one. His teacher was standing there--sweetest person in the universe. She told me that he'd forgotten yesterday too. She explained that she hadn't called because she was pretty sure what I would say. This teacher is very good friends and a former co-worker with my mother by marriage, so she knows how things roll with the Hesses. So #5 went hungry at lunch yesterday too.
I have full confidence that he'll start getting this. Yesterday his teacher gave him some crackers to get him through the afternoon. I thanked her. She said she could do that again. I asked her to please have him do something for her to compensate her for the crackers. She agreed.
Do I sound like the worst mother in the world? It all goes back to the idea of feeling entitled. I don't want any of my children thinking that they can have what they want if they manipulate the system just right.
So, there will be a nice, healthy snack for him when he gets home today. Like I said, I sure hope he learns this lesson soon.
Have I softened since that time? Maybe, but I don't think so. I am stressed about a child who goes off without breakfast and won't be home until after 5:00 tonight and will be doing sports in the meantime. I, however, wouldn't stress about a child who's had breakfast and misses lunch to come home to a substantial snack and dinner a couple hours later.
But, the child that went off without, set me off.
At this point, I've finished four loads of laundry and three loads of dishes, fed seven people breakfast and four people lunch, put dinner in the crockpot, wiped tables and put clean tablecloths on, picked up #7 from preschool, visited the bank and deposited some checks, and welcomed two friends at my door. There is much else to do, and like my mother, I won't sleep tonight until they're done.
Is one right and the other wrong? I'm not sure, but I tend to think not.
Am I being a martyr? You'd better believe it, but I quickly learned that I can't do it grudgingly for very long. It has wrought a bit of a change on this morning's upset heart.
So, I wonder, will they notice my work and jump in to help? Yah, I doubt it too, but there was a little glimmer of hope this morning.....
#6 got up after all of this had gone down, having afternoon Kindergarten has its benefits. He asked what there was to eat. I told him about the bread, English muffins, and oatmeal. He immediately went for a bowl. He didn't sit around whining, begging me to get him a bowl, or to make it for him.
I was grateful to see that his natural tendency, at the age of six, is to do for himself. It isn't in his nature to sit around wondering who's going to serve him. He serves himself.
Yes, I will continue this through today--picking up after everyone, every little thing they put down--but I don't know if I can do it like my mom did. Actually, I know I can't. I know my kids are capable of much more than sitting around, but this little perspective makes me appreciate my mom that much more. It reminds me to love and appreciate my family and all that they do and to overlook all of those things that I have been viewing as sabotage.
Maybe I need to find some balance--somewhere between me and my mom.