It’s time for the kids to be self-sufficient around the house

The cat barfed this morning. I heard it as I was debating on whether or not to get out of bed yet. I moaned, put the pillow over my head and thought “please let it be on the hardwoods and not the carpet.”

We were headed to the Y and I was running late, so I left it. (It was, in fact, on the hardwoods. YAY!) When I got home, I looked at it and almost asked Mr. A to grab some paper towels and clean it up. But I didn’t. I knew I’d be met with groans and “ewwwws” and I didn’t have it in me to deal with it, to deal with him.

Parenting at it’s finest. I should have had him do it.

He has a few chores and we’re working with him on how and why he has to contribute to our household. He clears his place from the table, rinses his dishes, empties the utensils from the dishwasher, puts away his clothes (sometimes), takes out the trash cans on garbage day and will occasionally ask to vacuum.

We need to do more. He’s fully capable.

But I still find myself doing stuff for the kids and then wondering “wait, why am I doing this?” Sometimes I’ll be in the  middle of an activity and they’ll ask for something. I find myself starting to say “sure, hold on” but then I snap myself back to reality and say “You know where that is. You can get it yourself.”

I need to teach Mr. A how to navigate the kitchen. He’s learning how to use the toaster (supervised, of course!) and can get his own breakfast in the morning. He’s old enough to empty all the trash in the house and I need to show him how.  So why haven’t I?

I guess part of it is clinging to the past. My first baby is growing up.  I don’t want him to be one of those kids I read about who can’t do anything on his own, don’t understand or expect failure, and who relies on mom and dad for everything. I want him to be a self-sufficient, confident adult, but that still seems so far away. He’s still my little boy.

READ: He’s still my little boy

Except he’s really not. He’s seven. So then there’s the other part – laziness. Oftentimes, it’s easier for me to do it then explain it to them or deal with the whining that will surely come along with it. Ridiculous, I know. But at least I’m being honest.

I miss the days where they would beg to help me, the days where they were actually creating more work for me, but they were so eager. There was never tears, never back talk.

It’s time though. It’s time for me to bite the bullet, take the extra few minutes and show them how to do things/make things/figure things out. As a parent, I’m teaching everyday by my actions and I certainly don’t want my kids to assume I’m going to do everything for them because I always have and that’s what they are used to.

Someday they’re going to be on their own. And at the very least, they’ll need to know how to make macaroni and cheese, use a washing machine and how to properly change a roll of toilet paper.

Get ready kiddos. The cat is guaranteed to barf again and next time you’ll be the one armed with paper towels and carpet cleaner.

Time to teach the kids how to clean

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  1. says

    I’m right there with you! Oscar feeds the cats every day and that is the latest chore we added. You should have heard the “feedback” when I had him bring the EMPTY cans in from the street. Ha.

  2. says

    We’ve recently started making the kids do more too. For example, we added in packing their snacks and water for school each morning. First they complained and I just reminded them they’d have no snack if they didn’t do it! Now, I have to remind them but they do it (I help the 6YO put stuff in baggies though if needed).

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