So, I know that I’m not exactly like other parents. But from what I can tell, I’m not the only person out there that parents the way that I do. Some parts of parenting come easy to me – I’ll let you know which ones when I think of them. Most parts of parenting are a learning experience for me. There is one part of parenting that is truly difficult for me and it’s not the fact that boys, in general, are fairly disgusting creatures.
Don’t get me wrong. I want to be raising strong, independent men who are nothing if not respectful. I want them to be able to cook themselves a meal, do a load of laundry, iron a damn button up shirt. I want them to be able to do EVERYTHING they need to in order to live a productive life on their own. But, seriously. OH MY FREAKING GOODNESS does it bother the LIVING DAYLIGHTS out of me when my toddler utters the two little words, “my turn?”
Do I love that he wants to help make breakfast? Of course. In theory. Do I actually want him to help me make breakfast? Not most days. Most days I’m trying to get breakfast on the table, a kid out the door and who knows what else, all before 8 a.m.
Do I think it’s adorable when he wants to help vacuum the living room? Absolutely. Do I actually want him to help me vacuum? Hell no. Because I know that it’s going to take me 20 minutes longer to do the job and I have a million other things to do.
That’s where the problem lies. I am WAY too independent and raising independent kids infringes on my own independence. I hate to ask for help. It truly bothers me to no end when I am not doing well enough to do things on my own. It doesn’t matter what it is. Now, I know that letting my toddler help me with household chores isn’t any where comparable to that, but innately I think that’s part of the reason I dislike it so much. That and I am a control freak…. I want to get it done my way, the right way, as fast as possible.
Don’t get me wrong here folks. I let him sit there and stir the eggs while I hover over him so he doesn’t stick his hand on the stove top. I let him wipe his own ass. And then I wipe it just for safe measure. When he wants to attempt to put his shoes on when we were supposed to walk out the door 10 minutes ago … I let him give it one good try. He helps vacuum, sweep, let the dog out and then let the dog in, fold laundry… hell, once in awhile he even helps brush my hair. And as cute as ALL of those things are … I would just rather NOT let him do them.
I mean, I know there are kids out there that will just DO things ALONE … like use a toy broom and sweep the kitchen. Not mine though. My kids want the real deal Holyfield life experience.
And these small independent steps will eventually lead to BIG independent steps. Like wanting to go to the bus stop alone. Or to the park to play. Or stay at home alone. All of the things that so many people no longer allow their children to do out of fear of the unknown. Now, I’m that parent that lets the little ones climb the jungle gym alone … not assisting but standing close enough in case of an accident. The mom who lets the 1st grader walk to the bus stop alone but watches from behind the car in the driveway. I let my now 9 year old stay at home while I go grocery shopping.
It’s a lot easier for me to allow the older kids to be independent because it doesn’t infringe on my own independence. At the same time though it can be sad to know that you’re little baby is SLOWLY becoming an adult. It can be a bit worrisome because you know there are SO MANY PEOPLE JUDGING YOU when you allow your children some independence as well. Like, right now. I wonder how many of you are judging me as you’re reading this.
But I’m going to continue to raise these independent boys. I’m going to figure a way to control my anxiety, realize that there are more minutes in the day, and I’m going to let them try all of the thi. You only get their childhood once, right? Might as well pretend like you’re enjoying it, even on the days when you’re not.