We have had responsibility issues for quite some time. I have found it easier to just do things for the picklets. Make sure they get up, nag them to do their chores, have their gymnastics clothes ready, pack their lunches etc... Because of this, and I admit it is all my fault, I have witnessed the picklets show lack of motivation to do what is expected. "Mom will remind us, no biggie."
I have started to get frustrated because of this. I know I can't handle the house, laundry, cooking, homeschooling AND working all at the same time so I have enlisted the picklets help with things. NOTHING got done. NOTHING! They figure I will just take care of it. It shows a lack of responsibility as well as lack of respect for me, Cool, our house and all our belongings. I knew something had to give and fast. So, before I lost my mind and had to be committed, I started reading parenting books.
I started with Parenting with Love and Logic. I really like the turn your word into gold statements. It throws the responsibility back into their court. I also like the 5 steps to guiding children to solve their own problems. There are some really neat ideas on the website. I recommend taking some time to look through it. After looking at the website I borrowed the books from my library. I am picking up the last one to read today.
I then found the book How to Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman. This book is really helping me change how I parent. And boy do I need to change. By reading this book I found how inconsistent I (we) am in my parenting style. I will tell them one thing, threaten them with another thing and then do another thing. We have all been confused. Life has been a big mess around the pickle barrel lately and alot of it has to do with my inconsistent, erratic behavior. So, today I turned the corner to change.
Last night before bed I told the picklets that I need to work, take Grandma to the DMV, go to piano and that Sweet has gymnastics tomorrow. I told them they need to be up by 7:oo so they can eat and be ready by 8:15 to leave. 7:00 rolled around and no one was up. At 7:30 I went to each of them and told them it was time to get up. Still, no one got up. At 8:00, I typed up a note to each of them stating that it was 8:00 and I needed to leave for work. Since they were still in bed they weren't going and to please do the following:
- Each call the piano teacher and explain that you won't be at piano because you wouldn't get out of bed and mom had to leave for work.
- Sweet call her coach and tell her the same as above.
- Chip do dishes and clean up kitchen including vacuum.
- Dill pick up living room and dining room and vacuum.
- Sweet clean bathroom, vacuum hallway and clean up room
I signed it with "I love you very much. If you need anything call me on my cell. Mommy"
Chip got up right as I was about to leave. I told him I was leaving for work. He asked about piano and I told him, "I am ready to leave and you are not." and handed him the list. He informed me he wasn't going to do anything on it and threw it on the floor. He then said, "I'm coming!" and got up off the couch. I told him, "I'm leaving now. I love you," and walked out of the house, got in the van and drove off. And let me tell you, that was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I got to work and my cell phone rang. Sweet was hysterical. Absolutely. She said that I needed to drive home and get her. That she would listen and do anything I wanted. She also apologized. I thanked her for her apology and told her next time she should get up when she is supposed to. It has been a day of emotional ups and downs for Sweet. Every time she calls me or I call her she cries. It breaks my heart.
I know the picklets think I am a monster. And I feel like one. I feel so guilty for not bringing them that I have a pit in the bottom of stomach. But this is a step in a direction I should have taken a long time ago. I keep saying I homeschool them to keep them in the "real world" and out of the "school of fish" but in the "real world" their boss wouldn't call them to make sure they were up for work or nag them until they did their work correctly. I now know I have been taking the easy way out by making myself responsible for what they ultimately should be responsible for. And by making myself responsible, have done them a real disservice.
Abigail Van Buren said, "If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders." Follow this advice I will.