It has been brought to my attention that people think that at some point in time children become self reliant and that I apparently have self reliant children. While I’m sure someday they do become self reliant I’m also sure I am far off from that point in time. But for some reason, I suppose because I have children who do not need diaper changes and me to feed them every single meal, people think that I must have it easy.
I suppose that is my fault. I don’t really say too much about my older children; the preteen and teen. I do that because I want to respect their privacy. And I’m still holding true to that. If they want to share something personal about themselves on this blog that’s always an option for them. But generally speaking I try not to embarrass them too much.
That’s not to say that I am totally against using embarrassment as a punishment. But I probably wouldn’t do it here on my blog this publicly. So don’t expect to see any videos of me shooting my daughter’s laptop on here.
Self Reliant Children
I find that statement to be rather laughable actually. Now, not to take away from the stresses of the baby phase or the toddler phase because everyone knows how tiring that can be. As the children get older while they can do more they certainly don’t just do it on their own. Well, at least not for me. My ten year old and 4 year old decided to clean my neighbor’s kitchen floor for her the other day without being asked to. I can assure you that they wouldn’t ever take that initiative here on their own. But then again I suppose this is my glimpse into what they are capable of if they are left to their own devices and at least I know that they are learning how to clean.
The way things generally work here though is I can walk out of the room to get a towel to clean something up only to come back to find that one of those “self reliant” children of mine has walked through the puddle and now made an even bigger mess for me to clean up.
I actually have a 5th child who’s name is “I don’t know” whom I have never seen. Does anyone else have an “I don’t know” in their house or maybe an “It wasn’t me” child? “I don’t know” does an awful lot of stuff around here though. And since I can’t see “I don’t know” whatever he does ends up being mine to clean up. Because of course making the other ones who swear they didn’t make the mess and that it was “I don’t know” is completely unfair. And of course I hate them if I don’t believe that they didn’t make the mess and that “I don’t know” did.
Okay, now aside from that my self reliant children need to be told when to and how to do everything. Are dishes washed? Did you sweep the floor? Laundry done? Homework done? Did you talk to your teacher about that grade that you got or about extra credit?
I am constantly being asked where something is of these self reliant children of mine. Where’s my brush? Have you seen my skirt? What happened to my other shoe?
Then there is time management. In spite of everything clearly posted on a calendar centrally located and color coordinated I am forever being asked what we are doing today. What time do we have to be somewhere? When do we have to leave? Can I go to my friend’s house on this day which is clearly marked on the calendar with several different activities. Do I have time to start another load of laundry before I go to bed? And of course there’s always the infamous I have a huge project that was assigned to me a month ago that’s due tomorrow and I haven’t started. And mom I need you to bake brownies for me to bring to class tomorrow.
Does that sound very self reliant to you?
And let me just say these self reliant children of mine can have just as good of a temper tantrum as my toddler. Remember there’s raging hormones thrown in with all of this self reliance.
For the record in case you aren’t aware my oldest two are 10 and 13. And this is no different than what anyone should expect out of any 10 and 13 year old. I honestly do not expect anything different. I truly hate sounding like I’m complaining about my children. Because I know this is no different than anything I should expect.
Writing this is not about putting my children down. It’s not even about making it seem like I have it much harder off than anyone with young children. Because I have been there with the young children. I’m still there with the young children. It is tough and I would never say that I have it any worse off than any other mother out there.
What I am saying is that each stage of life has its challenges and it’s pluses and minuses. None is better or worse than the other. It’s all just different. And I remember with my oldest always thinking I can’t wait until she can do this and I can’t wait until she can do that for herself. While my two oldest can dress themselves, tie their shoes, bathe themselves, and clean up after themselves there are new challenges.
At any given time I can have extra children in my home that I am responsible for. There are school schedules, extra curricular schedules, and social lives to coordinate. While during the school year having them at school all day seems like a huge break, there are a million things to schedule and when they get home from school it’s non stop until everyone is in bed.
Cherish Every Moment
The point I hope that I have conveyed in all of this is don’t be in such a hurry to get to that next stage. Not with the expectation that in some way life will magically get easier with the next stage in life. Self reliance is a long way off for me and for many of us. Don’t be looking forward to the next best thing. Because you might always be looking forward and then miss out on what’s right there in front of you. And then before you know it your children are finally self reliant and you are left looking back and wondering where it all went. So cherish it all.
What do you love most about the stage of life your children are in now?