It's been on my mind a lot lately and really a topic among my friends with kids the same age as my boys. We struggle with fostering independence, and knowing what's appropriate and not appropriate as far as what they should be responsible for at home. It's so easy as parents to just get into a system or routine, all of which helps our household run productively and efficiently. However, I have come to the realization lately that my boys are capable of helping out at home much more than what they actually do. We have been fostering dependent behavior.
That realization slapped me in the face the other night when I asked my 8 year old to grab a dish cloth from the kitchen. I watched him walk into the kitchen and look aimlessly around. He had no clue, after living in this house for 6 years of his life, where the dish cloths were. When I finally directed him to the right drawer, he proceeded to wet the cloth and then instead of ringing it out, he just carried the wet dripping cloth across the floor to me and thought nothing at all of it. He had never been given this experience before, therefore it was not apart of his schema.
That night, the pillow talk in my house was all about what we can do to prepare these little boys of ours to be independent, capable and helpful men. Don't get me wrong, they definitely do help us with some things, they drag their laundry baskets to the laundry and they help us sort their laundry a few times a week. They help us put their clothes away when the laundry is done and they help to feed the dog every day too. There is so much more that they could be doing though, or at least experiences we could be providing them so that they are prepared to accomplish tasks independently.
What we need to do (Nick and I), is to be conscious all the time while we are taking care of jobs around the house thinking of how we can include the boys in the execution. How can they be helping? This is the question that just needs to be on our minds at all times throughout the day. They may not be able to actually pack themselves a healthy, sufficient lunch but they sure can participate in the process by getting out the containers, pulling food out of the fridge and actually physically putting their lunch bags in their backpacks each day. They can also be in charge of emptying their backpacks after school and putting things back where they belong. They can be helping to fold laundry, starting with things like socks and towels (the easy stuff). They can set the table, clear the table, empty the dishwasher and help with every day household chores.
We also need to put it on them 100% when it involves an extracurricular activity. Take hockey, for example, why we have been setting out wet and stinky hockey equipment that we don't use or play with is beyond me. That is now on them, if they want to play the sport, they need to be in charge of the equipment and gosh dang it remember their own water bottle before a practice or game!
I am finding myself now thinking of so many ways they can be helpful contributors in our household and it makes me excited for them! I don't want to come across like a super tough parent, and I don't want to be too hard on them, but I do think it's important for them to be independent, problem solving men and some day if they are blessed enough to share their lives with significant others, those lucky significants will be very grateful for them and their abilities to take care of things and be equal task performing members of their households. And if they choose to live a life of sole independence, then they'll be prepared to do so.
I want them to be proud of themselves for what they can do and I want them to be able to do it on their own because not only is it rewarding but it feels good too! I don't want them to need anyone else but it would be great for them to be needed. So here we go, we might be taking more time on tasks but that's because our little boys are becoming men! Wish us luck!
We're so lucky at my school to have a principal who motivates us all the time with positivity and self love. She encourages us all the time to "do something for YOU" and to "be THE one". She encourages us to look past the stuff that doesn't matter and she especially reminds us all the time that we have been given an incredible opportunity in our line of work to be able to have positive impacts on so many little lives.
We also have challenges in our line of work, however, that become speed bumps in our road to success and obstacles that we have to overcome in order to persevere. One of her motivational "rah rah" spiels, addressing the very topic of positivity and success was about how important it is to not let anyone get your "good". Your "good" as in your self-love, your confidence, your positive attitude and anything that you do well or have going on that's just darn right awesome.
So often it happens that just when we've put in that hard work, or we've persevered and are finally reaping the benefits of that, someone comes a long and tries to squash it with negativity or undermining words that make us feel that what we've accomplished or how we are feeling isn't justifiable. We start to second guess ourselves and what we have achieved.
It's interesting too how sometimes we can be that person to ourselves. We can be the person who gets into our own head and starts giving self chats that essentially downgrade any victories or accomplishments. Take for example, when we lose weight. If someone else notices, or we get a compliment, it's so hard to just simply say "thank you" and accept that compliment, pat ourselves on the back and keep plugging away. Instead we credit the weight loss to something else like "it's just these pants" or "it was the lighting in the picture", etc.
My point is, that we have a hard enough time keeping our own minds positive, keeping ourselves motivated and feeling rewarded and deserving, let-a-lone allowing for someone else to come in and bring us down too.
This happened to me this week, I (almost) allowed for someone to get my good. This person, feeling unhappy in their own life and insecure in their own decisions, decided that they needed to take that negativity out on me. They said some horrible things (that are still haunting me) with the intentions of downplaying all that I have worked hard to accomplish. For a few hours, I allowed for that to happen. I started second guessing myself and questioning any of my successes. I started wondering if I really was any of the things that this person told me I was. Those hours felt like days and really it was an exhausting way to start my week.
Fortunately, I surround myself with a lot of love, family and friends who support unconditionally and love me for me. These very people were there to talk me out of giving away my good. They did a fine job of assuring me that it's ok to be me, to do me, and to feel good about it. While no one is perfect, and I am in fact the opposite of that, all we can do is try our best every day to be our best self and with that will come triumphs and successes and so much to be proud of .
It's up to us though to create that good, to recognize it, to fuel it, to share it, and to hold on to it for dear life. Our good, is all ours, it's what we have worked hard for, it's what we have done, it's what we have overcome, it's what keeps us pluggin' on day after day. It's what we have to be proud of and it's what we use to make those that love us, love us even more.
Be the good, keep that good and own it!!!
Melissa here! While I'm all about sharing trends, deals, and outfit ideas with you, I have a true passion for writing. I love sharing thoughts on life the most and am excited to share those thoughts with all of you right here!
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