Parents need to learn to bluff. And take risks. And often, take a seat back and give time and space.
Yesterday Jackie peeled 1kg of potatoes. She was so excited to do it. Two days ago I showed both girls how to peel potatoes and carrots and we made soup together. They subconsciously seek every experience that empowers them to be independent, to survive long term.
On a few occasions, I prepared the red or white pasta sauce and Jackie did the rest, preparing and serving dinner. And the most exciting part? It was delicious! I have lost count how many times she cooked pasta.
When they have nothing to do, the girls get antsy and get into trouble. They get on my nerves and then they get grumpy. The biggest learning experience for a parent is to delegate well. Once you get this down, you can be a manager and a good leader in any successful corporation. Assessing you kid’s abilities and prior experience and natural abilities will help you delegate stretching experiences. Not too hard or complicated so they would lose interest or faith. Not too simple so they wouldn’t lose interest or motivation.
Responsibility helps people feel valued and integrated. Responsibility gives purpose and purpose brings happiness.
One of the reasons my girls have thrived in school is because they love responsibility and that is something I can relate to.
Be helpful. Be likable. Be self aware. And help your kid be helpful and likable.
There are times when I am completely spent, and when I go certain places I like to just sit and do nothing. We all have those moments of blissful ignorance. And our brains needs such breaks. But not when blissful ignorance is the status quo.
In California I learned quickly that if I ask what I can help with, my host always had something readily available for me to do: mash the potatoes, set the table, take the recycling out, go to the store and pickup something they forgot, hold the baby, make the lemonade, boil the eggs, cut the cheese… You don’t have to be an expert. You can ask for directions. But I promise you. Self awareness goes a long way. The rest of our lives.
I’m treading water some weeks. Some weeks I feel like I’ve got this. But at least, the challenges evolve with us all growing, and I feel different “muscles” aching.
One more week until school starts. Or so we think. There is a lot of unknown and I am frankly ok with it. The vision and possibility of going to school has inspired in us all a bit of hope and made room to dream and imagine the near future.
This year was hard on Jackie. She had been waiting to meet her sister for so long. She finally met her. I remember the days we couldn’t go get her for the day, Jackie would realize it upon exiting school or arriving home, and would burst into tears.
Then the pandemic came and we all carried our own burdens as best we could. She talked about her frustration and fears some, but she brushed over most of it. I’d go as far as saying she stuffed it down. Because I noticed when she is overwhelmed or furious she clenches her fists. It may be a coincidence, but I noticed her scoliosis in June, because her right shoulder blade seemed slightly pushed out. Ever so slightly though. So I must wonder how much of her scoliosis has been influenced by an emotional charge and muscle tightening.
It’s been a hard season, a hard year. I keep imagining a smooth relationship with my kids in the (near) future. I want to be a happy mom. Not a tired, worn down, grumpy mom. I correct my kids daily these days, but with every action and word, I try to empower them and inspire self awareness. When I have such a clearly defined goal in mind (being a content mom), it only occurred to me that it actually helps to reel me back into reality and ground me into the Truth, despite circumstances.
They won’t remember much of this year. Or who knows… But experiencing responsibility in small doses, I know it will serve them well in the future. Since this summer they can cook, peel potatoes, ride their bikes and deliver fruit (not necessarily in that order and they can do so much more). They are brave and communicative. On the flip side. Just getting dressed is an ordeal. Because they have a particular sense of fashion and they change their mind often. But they don’t have the motor skills to change quickly or smoothly. They also get distracted when putting toys or clothes away.
They love the outdoors. But they ask to go out at the most inconvenient times (heat, rain, crowded, or when we just came in). On the other hand, they “not in the mood” only when we suggest we should go for a walk. Then they are both “miss contrary” and they complain they don’t want to go out with us. They think it’s funny. I don’t. I don’t want one more thing to negotiate with them.
On a positive note, the girls take Rufus out by themselves in the morning and they have proven their efficiency and responsibility with walking the dog.