Preparation

How prepared is your child to be independent?

My teens are opposites in many ways. One showers, wears deodorant, brushes and flosses without being asked. The other has to be prompted, reminded, nagged more often than not. They will take proactive action only in more extreme situations (e.g., they recognize they smell pretty bad too).

One teen can get around on public transit, without complaint. The other one prefers to be driven and picked up, and complains when these options aren’t available. 😉

Neither’s room is clean per se, but one child does put their clothes in their dresser drawers, and has made their bed more days than not. The other uses their room (more exact-their floor) as their dresser, and rarely makes their bed.

Our oldest is getting closer to the day he’ll be on his own, and my husband and I have discussed the need to get him better prepared—to live in a space he (and others) can tolerate, maybe even be proud of (that means being tidier and cleaning up after himself), getting himself to and from places without the help of mom and dad, and putting more care into his hygiene (I don’t know anyone who enjoys being around unpleasant smells).

We decided since football season has finished and our son can decide what he does after school (workout or come home), he can figure out how to get himself home — walk or public transit. The situation presented itself for us to get him doing this when my husband was tied up and I was across town when our son reached out to get a ride home. He’d have to figure out how to get home on his own (keep in mind he was about a mile away from our house). He was frustrated that we couldn’t get him but became really unhappy when we told him he’d need to start getting himself around without our help. “You can’t just change things!,” he said, “this is so unfair.” He continued to share how upsetting this change was for him. We gave him some space to calm down.

I went to talk to him after a while. He doubled-down on how ‘dumb’ and ‘unfair’ the change is. I doubled-down on the importance of us better preparing him to live on his own, and his need to demonstrate not only to us, but more importantly to himself, that he’s ready. That means he’ll need to navigate public transit sometimes, take ownership of his space (room) and personal cleanliness. He resisted. I reminded him no one likes change, it hard, and I understood he didn’t like it. He told me he was done talking to me and get out of his room. Power struggle ensues?🙃 I tell him I won’t leave until he can calm himself down. He resists (of course, trying to flex his independence). I stayed and made him show me a few deep breaths. His facial expression read I hate you so much. I get it. I had those moments with my parents too. Before I left his room, I reminded him his father and I weren’t helping him by helping him (cleaning up after him, doing his laundry, nagging him about personal hygiene, etc.). He was old enough and needs to take full ownership.

It’s tough making change, especially when resistance is high. It’s harder when it’s with someone you love. Its easier knowing it’s for my son’s benefit. He loses if we don’t allow him to grow and learn what he’s capable of.

How prepared is your child? What challenging situations have you encountered trying to help them and how did you overcome their resistance?

Spring Cleaning

Do you like to clean?

I hate it. I’ve always hated it. My mom had me doing chores to help around the house when I was young. I did it because I was expected to, not because I enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer a clean house. I function much better in order than chaos, but oh, how I do not like to clean. And while I could hire someone to clean my house, I’d still have to straighten up before hand, which in my experience is most of the work is anyways, so paying someone to clean after I’ve straightened up doesn’t seem to make much sense.

The house we live in is a modest size. With a family of four, there is not enough space for all our stuff, and by stuff, I mean: kids artwork (and you all know how that piles up quickly), kids toys (even though we clean out the toys annually), books they’ve outgrown but we haven’t parted with yet, and the list goes on. I attempted when my first son was born to keep my house nice and tidy. I abandoned that (or severely changed my definition of what tidy means) after going back to work. I was just too tired to keep it up, and something had to give. I’ve always had the goal of getting back to the housekeeper I used to be. Thankfully I’ve had several other mothers let me know I’m not alone.

“You’ll get your house back once the kids are out of the house,” one mom shared. Good to hear, I thought, but not sure I want to wait that long.

“It’s nice to have company come over, because it forces you to clean your place,” another shared. This really resonated with me. While I hate to clean I LOVE a clean house. I get a high when my house is nice and presentable. If only I could figure out how to make it last.

We are thinking about doing some work on our house, with the goal of adding some more space, and hopefully storage. In order to prepare for this work, it’s required us to clean-out closets and figure out what stays and what goes. It’s like a regular Spring cleaning on steroids. It’s not fun to do, but boy, does it feel good when it’s done.

How does Spring cleaning make you feel? How do you handle all of the stuff that comes into your house when you become a parent?