Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Perfect Post for December: My Job

Daughter-Only is in sixth grade this year and recently finished up her marking period of "Family and Consumer Sciences" which is just the fancy, modern name for Home Ec. Each day she had FCS, she would come home stunned. "Mom! There are kids in my class who don't know how to use a washer and aren't even allowed to use it!" "Mom! There are kids in my class who have never even made themselves toast!"

I shared with her the story of when her aunt, my Youngest Sister, went off to college at a small, private university and many of her classmates--18, 19 year olds from fabulously wealthy families--still couldn't use a washer or dryer or cook for themselves. YS was also suitably stunned. I also lost no time in pointing out to Daughter-Only that despite all the complaining that gets done around here regarding chores, perhaps she was beginning to understand the purpose of all of them.

I am too disorganized and wishy-washy to have an actual chore chart, but my kids are expected to contribute to the household. When I get tired of all the whining and groaning and the "it's not fair" and all that, I sometimes snap at them, "It's not my job to provide a wonderful childhood* for you, it's my job to create functioning adults."

I'm only too aware that I may very well be failing at even that job--that there are things as important and more so than being able to wash laundry or scrub a pot or make simple meals--but it's the point I try to keep in mind as I make my way through the labyrinth that is parenting teenagers. It's my parenting philosophy, however I may fail to live up to it.

Of course, there are as many parenting philosophies as there are parents--more even, since any honest parent who's child is no longer in utero will tell you that their philosophy often changes from moment to moment and more so from year to year. That evolution is part of what December's Perfect Post is about.

Julie over at Ravin' Picture Maven discusses parenting philosophy along with the differences between Mom parenting and Dad parenting among many other things in her post Parenting As If I Might Get Hit By A Bus Tomorrow. My favorite part of course was when she talks about not wanting her kids to grow up, move out on their own and realize that they completely lack basic skills--judging from my daughter's and my sister's experience, this is a very real concern and it's so nice to have my position validated so that I can feel like a little less of the raging lunatic bitch my kids often clearly see me as.

So, for making me feel like less of a b-word, here's my button:

A Perfect Post - December

And, Julie, it's all yours!

See other winners over at Lindsay's and MommaK's.

*I would like the record to show that when they were younger children--still in the childhood part of their childhoods rather than in the adolescent part of their childhoods--I made real efforts to give them arts and crafts and days at the park and cookie-making and all those other fun childhood things. I just didn't want anyone thinkin' I've treated them like free labor their whole lives--it's just been the past coupla years.

PS--Happy B-day to Blonde Best Friend From High School! May this coming year be your best ever.


  1. Wow, just wow!

    When a good blogger extends flattery towards something I wrote it's like the most amazing validation and big warm fuzzy.

    So you made my day.

    Thanks, a ton!

    (And FWIW, my kids are still in the childhood portion of their lives but I still work 'em...just a little bit LOL.)

  2. Thanks--I really enjoyed your post.

    As far as the childhood part--I worked 'em a little then,too. Figure it's better to ease them into it. :)

  3. Now, see I read this and wondered, how did she get them to do all of that and at what age can I start the dish washing? My son is seven and the chores I make him do are only done so with extreme whining and me threatening to take away the PS2. Laundry is a dream that I can't ever see him doing. My daughter is two and she'd clean toilets eagerly if I let her! Advice?

  4. I'm not sure I should give any advice since I've got kids in their late teens who still whine about it. But we did used to play games--like I would hide scavenger hunt type clues in their messy rooms and when they found all the clues and solved the riddle, they would get a prize. (Something small--I remember doing root beer floats, stuff like that.) That worked until they got too cynical.

    As you pointed out--kids are so different in this regard--your daughter wants to clean without even being encouraged. I think it's just a matter of continuing to try different strategies, but also accepting that there's going to be some whining and that your kid, regardless of whether he ever admits it or not, will be the better for having learned to contribute.