Teach Them While the Cost is Low…

Growing up, I did zero chores. My mom is Super Woman, clothed in a less sexy, more modest Kari Jobe vibe. Somehow she worked full time, did ALL the housework, ran us to our various activities, was always put together & made us each feel as if we were loved & important. A few times, she attempted to have us do chores, like clean the bathroom. However, I’m pretty sure it played out like this- 15 minutes of us whining that she dared ask us to help, drama filled stomps into the bathroom where we wiped a cloth across one surface with our eyes closed then immediately shouting we were done. Could you imagine if she asked me to do my own laundry? Surely, my head would have spun around 3 times as my eyes glowed red and growls poured out of my mouth.

I aspire to be my mom, I really do. However, sometimes you have to be real with yourself and realize that I am not Cinderella. The only things following me around as I clean are screaming & making a bigger mess in their wake. If anyone has the magic key to turn my Tasmanian Devils into cleaning Song Birds, hit me up! Part of that realization is being real that I do not possess that magnitude of multitasking. I try and try only to fall short each time. Something had to give.

Somewhere between being buried to my neck in kids toys & researching what inpatient clinics take Quitting Mom’s, we took a “love & logic” parenting class at our church. I’ll be honest in saying that we don’t full embrace everything they have to say, HOWEVER, some of what they teach has been transformational to our parenting style. The biggest one was, “Teach them now while the cost is low”. Show them how to do things, teach them about consequences , teach them about the power of words/hard work etc BEFORE the severity of the consequence increases. It’s much easier to teach them how to obey rules set before them NOW when the consequence is a grounding or no cupcake than them learning LATER when they find themselves jobless or incarcerated.

Combining that statement with watching our College Age Staff struggle to do “simple” life tasks, fueled a fire in us to focus our parenting style on preparing our kids for their futures all while filling them with self confidence, truth, love & respect. For heaven’s sake, my kids WILL NOT be 21 & unable to make grilled cheese (a real story). This may mean that I have to swallow my “control freak” mentality, this may mean that it takes 20 minutes to do a 5 minutes task & it may mean that I deal with far more tantrums, it WILL NOT be done the way I would like…. However, one day, I will look at my self sufficient, successful, confident, helpful husband, son’s and know it was worth it.

During a recent conversation, we were telling my youngest brother everything our boys know how to do in the homemaking department. Laundry, dishes,cooking, vacuuming, dusting, taking care of pets etc. He sat there, mouth wide open in shock. Not because he thought we were horrible parents ripping our kids childhood from them (at least I hope not) but because he was proud of his nephews for accomplishing what many 20’s are struggling to learn now. The next response, the most appropriate one of course, was to give them all a fist bump. Pride radiated from their little faces.

So what do my kiddos do on a daily/consistent basis?
1.Laundry
2.Help cook- they LOVE this. They beg to help.
3.Vaccum, dust & make beds
4.Care for dog & guinea pigs- including cleaning cage.
5.Sweep & Mop
6.Dishes- they know how to do these but I couldn’t handle HOW they did them anymore so I’ve taken that task back.
7. Clean up toys/Books

Here I am, Worst Mom of the Year 9 yrs in the running, offering you parenting advice. Advice that you can take or leave. However, I do hope you teach them enough so that they aren’t 22 and watching a YT video on how to cook scrambled eggs.

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Baby, You’re Worth It

Judsenwarrior

Somewhere between bills, PILES of laundry and if you are mom of boys- cleaning pee off every surface of the bathroom, we are expected to produce independent, confident, respectful, kind, loving, hardworking adults into this world. Holy Buckets, that is a lot being asked from us sleep deprived momma’s.

Not too long ago, my oldest told me about a run in with someone at church. A situation that he had mulled over in his sweet many times before he brought it to me, I’m sure. During a small group like situation a peer told my baby that he is weird. Dang it, the first real encounter with hurtful words had fallen on us far earlier than I had hoped. It was in that moment that my fully unprepared, short fall filled , low self esteemed self had to say something that bandaged his broken heart while simultaneously building his self confidence. ┬áThe words that flowed out of my mouth shocked even me… “who determines your worth?” I asked. The intelligent nugget responded with the exact response I was looking for “God”. No single human is powerful enough to determine if you are in fact worthy or not.

I can’t be alone in the occasional internal cringes when your kiddo wears or does something that is “weird”. I want my kids to be accepted & loved , never experiencing heart break for being themselves. I also want them to be confident in themselves, never feeling like they are here to please man. While we are listing lofty, impossible goals…I also want a hobby farm and a million dollars without working …

As much as it often kills me , I keep my mouth shut about what they put on their bodies. Somedays, that means we are going to Target looking like “people of walmart”. Somedays that means that one of my kids wears the same orange shirt every single time we leave the house so it looks like he owns approximately one shirt. Why do I not just dress them & do their hair?? Because: 1) I want them to have a choice. I would DIE if someone told me what to wear everyday. [Scratch that, maybe I would love that. As long as it included my favorite pants, sent directly from Jesus- black leggings, I’d be game to have someone dress me cute… hum…] 2) I want them to be able to experience making decisions as often as possible. Teaching your kids to trouble shoot when the cost is low is ideal. Yes, its just choosing pants & a shirt. However, it really lays a foundation for the whole make good choices thing. Or, so I’ve been told. 3) I want them to feel as if they can express themselves via clothing/hair… even if that self-expression leads others to believe we are homeless with no access to running water. 4) I don’t want them to feel the need to impress others. I don’t want them to think their value is found in having perfect hair or wearing the perfect outfit. Good hair and cool clothes mean nothing if they don’t make you happy.

If you see me in public, all of us looking a hot mess. Don’t forgive me, I am not asking for forgiveness. Because that would imply that I would , at some point, ask you for permission. Instead, be encouraged that my Mikey Mouse, Army, Starwars Ninja Man is walking around with more self confidence that you or I could only dream of having. ┬áBecause, he is WORTH more than the most precious, highly sough after tangible thing in the world and so he can wear what he wants.