Saturday, December 19, 2009

I don't know how you do it...


I've heard that one before...more than once.

What exactly is it that people are surprised that I do with "so many" children?
Do they think I run around crazy all day? They look at me like I'm crazy sometimes. lol
Or I'm the personal slave that does all the cooking and cleaning by myself. Or maybe I don't and the house is a mess and the clothes are never clean. Whatever.

The truth is...I don't do it. We do it. We work together as a family.


Some folks, I'm guessing, have the mistaken idea that the parents (in particular, the mom) are the only ones who do anything in the family.

"Let children be children." "They're only a child once; let them enjoy it." True.

But. But. If they are not taught how to be an adult, by adults, they will be children all of their lives. And we all know someone who fits that description.

I read something recently that said don't get involved with your children - get your children involved with you. It sounds the same but there is a difference.

Get them involved in what you are doing. And that doesn't mean to never play with your children. You should play with them. But get them to work with you. And as they grow older their play should decrease as their responsibility increases.


The big mistake I made was in not realizing that a lot sooner. My younger ones love to help me with the laundry. As I take the wet clothes out of the washer, they are standing in front of the dryer helping to push them in. They think they are doing a big job...and they are. They are learning the responsibility of doing laundry.

Don't get me wrong. I don't use my children as slaves. In fact, I have to force myself to let them help me. I would much rather do it myself. I can get it done quicker and easier if I do it myself. But what does that teach them? That they don't have to do anything but play. They get used to that and then when we need them to do something, they moan and complain about it. Because they are not used to doing anything. Does that make any sense?


I'm not even sure why I'm writing this post. I feel like I'm in no position to give advice to anyone. We're still working on a lot of things and I'm still a relatively young mom. But maybe someone out there needs this post. Maybe it will encourage someone; let them know that - hey it can be done!


Until next time...

4 comments:

Tammy (Mom to this crazy bunch) said...

Girl! I was just having this conversation with a friend of mine who is always telling me I am a saint and other such nonsense... Thank you! for putting into words the truth of raising children into responsible adults... Merry Christmas.

The Real Me! said...

This was a great post. We know 2 families that have 7 or more children and I love how they do things. It's very similar to your household and there is such joy and love overflowing.
Loved this.
Hugs
Kim

chili pepper said...

Jen,

This is so well put. I find myself trying to explain this to people all the time. Part of what makes us a family is that we count on each other to do their part to make everything run smoothly for everyone. Laundry is but one example... Sam (4) carries it to the laundry room, Emma (10) sorts, KK helps me with washing and drying and folding, Brianna and Emma put it away...

It would be quicker and easier for me to do it myself and I would prefer to do it myself as I am particular about how I like it folded and put away... but I must force myself to let them take part so they learn to enjoy working, so they learn the value of working, so they feel worthwhile, so they appreciate the work others do for them, so they learn to work together, so I don't work myself into a collapse... I don't do it all, they don't do it all, as you say so well, We do it all together... and love every minute of it!

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