That is the million dollar question.
The last two days were a complete whirlwind of laundry, cleaning, organizing then finally packing for my “business” trip to Napa for the first annual Wine Sisterhood Gathering. As I’m packing I hear the spawn arguing about their chores. The tween is being rude to dad in the kitchen while unloading the dishwasher in a very unorganized fashion (a glimpse of her rebellion). The eight year old is whining that the towels are too big for her to fold. The tween is yelling back at her to just do the best you can in a “loving, sisterly” sort of tone. It’s not well received.
Now, let me just say that I prefer to let the kids work it out themselves. But at this point it was like nails on a chalkboard listening to the kids whine & complain & fight just because I gave them a few responsibilities. And my poor husband is not quite the dictator that I am (he’s the fun guy) so I can tell that he’s struggling.
“You people are doing exactly what I do for you each & everyday! Except today you get to do it for yourselves & actually be a part of the order of this household!”
I just had to get my two cents in. It struck a chord & (in time) both girls mellowed out & apologized. I had a heart to heart with the girls before I left & told our oldest that she’s the mom when I’m gone. That doesn’t mean that she can be bossy, but she’s the boss. And the boss is responsible for making sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible & that everyone is happy. I told them to help out as much as possible so daddy didn’t get overwhelmed. And our little one is to be in charge of taking care of all the pets, the plants & making sure everyone gets their daily dose of hugs & kisses. The oldest loves to be in charge & the youngest is such a nurturer, so they accepted their respected duties with big smiles & told me, “Don’t worry, mommy. We’ll take care of everything.”
Again, I ask the question, “Do we do too much for our kids??”
I was having a selfish moment when the kids were fighting & thinking how ungrateful they are for complaining about doing a few chores. I do that all the time in addition to being a slave to their social agendas & sports schedules & volunteering for every which thing & managing the household. Oh yeah, and running my businesses! Whew. I need to take a breath.
I also reflected on when I was merely seven years old that I was a latchkey kid. Yup. Second grade. But who wasn’t a latchkey kid? Your mom either stayed home or she worked, which meant you either came home to milk & cookies on the kitchen table or you came home & made your own damn cookies. Then did your chores (without complaining). Then finished your homework & went outside to play until curfew, which was when the street lights came on. I’d come home filthy, starving & tired. I never complained about the food on my plate (although my mom tells a different tale…). I learned responsibility at a young age & I believe it shaped me into the person I am today. A dictator…..
Then I realized that that’s what kids do. They test their boundaries by pushing us. They learn by our actions & reactions. My outburst sure caught their attention & was in no means damaging, but what did that really accomplish?? Well, aside from making the room quiet (thank you) it did nothing more than allow me to throw my own tantrum. But then I realized that none of us are perfect & that’s what makes a family interesting & beautiful. We all have our own ebb & flow & a method to our madness. I do all these things for my family because I want them to be happy. And they do things for me, too. Especially my husband. He totally gets it.
So, to answer the million dollar question, I don’t think that I do too much for my kids. Sure, I’m going a million miles a minute in different directions, but I love it. And I do take time to take care of myself and my kids get that. I’ve trained them well (hehe) and they know that when mommy’s happy so is her kingdom. I’m sitting in a beautiful room in Napa right now. I watched the sunrise from my cush bed (with no dogs or snoring hubby) then took a really long, hot raindrop shower. And now I’m going down to the restaurant to enjoy a lovely breakfast with some girlfriends. Nope. I dont’ think I do too much at all. The rewards are amazing.