Monday, September 30, 2013

I am not your servant, I am your teacher ...

Why yes, that is my child with the unbrushed hair and the untied shoes. Thanks for noticing. I'm quite proud of how I sent her to school this morning, although I know that she is less than thrilled.

Sure, she was crying when she walked out the door. But, at least she walked out the door before her father pulled out of the driveway. Because, if I had been driving, that wouldn't have been the case. I've left without her before. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

For some reason, she seems to think that it is my responsibility to make sure she is ready for school in the morning. She often expects me to pack her lunch (I make the food. I refuse to assemble the actual lunchbox), pack her bag and make sure she has everything she needs for the day. Funny. I don't remember that being part of the job description.

Diz, as far as I can recall, I am here to protect you. To love you. To raise you with values and an appreciation for the world around you. To give you a place to live and food to eat. After that, I'm pretty sure everything else is optional.

What? You think that's unfair? You think that I am out to get you because I refuse to baby you day in and day out?

That my dear, is where you are wrong.

I am not being mean.

I am not being unfair.

I do not wake each day plotting against you.

And I most definitely do not "do this to you EVERYDAY!," like you most eloquently said this morning as you struggled to get out the door. No my dear, you do that to yourself. You and you alone.

You are old enough to wake up each and every morning without me yelling at you. Consider yourself lucky that I check back to make sure you haven't fallen back asleep.

You are old enough to find an outfit to wear each and subsequently get yourself dressed each and every day. Consider yourself lucky that I do not yet require you to wash or purchase all of those outfits. It's coming. Be warned.

You are old enough to make yourself a healthy breakfast and to eat that breakfast in time to leave. Consider yourself lucky that you have food to eat. Some children aren't as fortunate.

You are old enough to pack your backpack, your lunchbox and whatever else there is to pack before heading out the door. It's not my job to know where all of your stuff is. Consider yourself lucky that your mom is OCD enough to have a strong grasp on where things are. Otherwise, your mornings would be even more stress inducing.

You are old enough to brush and style your hair. Consider yourself lucky that I don't just shave your head to save us all the drama you dish out each morning. Trust me, it would be easier for all of us.

You are old enough to tie your shoes and clean your glasses. Consider yourself lucky that I am willing to give you reminders to do both. I am not required to do so.

It is not my job to do any of these things. I am your mother. Not your servant. I love you endlessly, but I do not strive to make you soft, to convince you that you will always be waited upon, or to give you a false impression on what lies ahead for you when you leave our home. I will not do you that disservice.

The world is full of responsibilities. There are already many of which you are capable. And I expect, no demand, that you live up to those responsibilities. You need to learn to manage your time. You need to learn to face the consequences of forgetting to complete a task or showing up late. I will not always be there to protect you. These lessons I am teaching you now will help you for a lifetime. I'm not trying to be mean. I am trying to show you how the world works. And sometimes, the real world sucks.

So, the next time you are crying because you didn't give yourself enough time to get completely ready for school, remember that you did it to yourself. You didn't wake up early enough or you didn't pay attention to the clock. Not me. Not your father. And take stock in the fact that I will send you out the door with messy hair, untied shoes and your homework still on the table, each and every time.

Diz, that is my job -  to teach you about consequences, not to do everything for you. Because I love you enough to know that consequences are exactly what you need.


Kasey said...

Good for you! I love this post, because you sound like MY mother. And she taught my brother and me to be responsible the hard way. I quickly learned that if I wanted to sleep more, I could get everything ready the night before- from laying out clothes to packing my lunch box, it was all done before I went to bed. And then there's my brother... let's just say it took nothing less than a cold, water-filled spray bottle to get him going. Mom soon discovered she could get even better results when she let me, the pesky little sister, so the spraying, too. I'm not sure who hated the spray bottle more, my brother or the dog.

Kortni said...

Love it! This absolutely speaks to me this morning as I struggle with the same things each and every morning. So freaking frustrating!! I feel some sort of comfort knowing I am not the only "mean" mom in the world trying to make our children great people.

Boston Bound Brunette said...

Tough love but it is the right thing to do. So many children have no sense of responsibility because their parents baby them way too much. She will thank you for it later.

Unknown said...

You are an amazing woman! Great post and I wholeheartedly agree.

Michele said...

I think I could have written this! We have the SAME EXACT issue every morning. I may just print yours off and read it aloud as we head out the door with at least 2 out of 3 children crying every morning. It never fails. I can say the same reminder 10 times and they still aren't ready when it's time to go. This morning I managed to shower, dress, and do my hair in the same amount of time as my middle child got her underwear on. I found her sitting down staring at a coloring page with her clothes laying around her. I don't know what else she did in those 30 minutes that I took to get ready and she is lucky I didn't send her to school in just her underwear!

Unknown said...

Dear Mommas,

I was, at times, some version of your child. Examples abound, but I distinctly recall making an enormous fuss at the dinner table because (horror of horrors) Mom WOULD NOT fill out my field trip permission slips for me. She made me get out the phone book, write down the emergency contact numbers, etc. etc. I even had to get the checkbook and write the check (Mom & Dad signed slips and covered the cost, but I had to do 99% of the "pen work"). My FRIENDS' parents were all filling out permission slips FOR THEM. Life was *huff, huff* UNFAIR.

And why did I have to call the library to find out when they closed (ahem, this was before the internet)? Why couldn't MOM do it, even if they WERE my books we wanted to return, and it was the last fine-free day of borrowing (because I'd forgotten to remind someone they were due back until the last minute)? Why???? Picking up the phone was hard work, and so troublesome. MOM!!!!!

And so it went, on and on. Then, I got older. I went to college, and couldn't figure out how my classmates didn't know how to make a doctor's appointment, fill out a basic health form, or do their own laundry. I called my parents and thanked them. Repeatedly.

Fast-forward a few more years, and I am now a well-adjusted, fiercely independent 30+ year old with a PhD in Biochemistry, her own small business, and a life abroad. I STILL call my parents to thank them. Repeatedly.

So keep fighting the good fight! You better believe I'll be similarly "torturing" my children one day. If you do it right, they'll grow up to thank you. Repeatedly.

One Lucky Gal

MJO said...

I love this ... how old is Dizzle? I have a six year old that sometimes I'm afraid I push too hard, so it's always helpful to know what other kids of other ages have expected of them.

RunJillyBean said...

Sounds like you are doing an awesome job. We are teaching some of the same lessons to an almost 6 year old. Some days I want to scream, but it's all for the greater good. Keep it up.