It hadn’t been a good day. It started out ok. Miss 10 made it to before school band practice on time. Believe me, that doesn’t happen often. But things went downhill from there.
A forgotten sunhat, some forgotten togs which lead to my late arrival at a client meeting. A ‘please can you pick me up right now’ phone call. A ‘please can you drop me off right now’ request. All mixed in with my usual crazy un-work-life-balanced day. A day spent rescuing my kids from the evils of the sun, the scorn of a teacher and the frustration of not organising themselves properly. All in a days work, right?
Until I needed rescuing. You see, the last job I did was to find my passport for our upcoming family holiday. The one I’d organised to the very last detail. Except, apparently, for checking that I had a valid passport. Now I needed someone to rescue me. To tell me it would be alright. That I could apply for an emergency passport online, it’d arrive in time and I’d be ok.
What I got was the complete opposite. They laughed at me. Told me ‘I always do this’. Chided me for being so disorganised. And I cried.
So here’s what’s going to happen next. I won’t be rescuing my family any more. Not out of spite. Not to get back at them. But to teach them how to rescue themselves. To teach them how to fix problems way smaller than the one I now have to fix for myself. And here’s how I’m going to do it:
There are some new rules in our house:
- You sign up, you step up: I’m not going to nag you to get ready on time for this, that and the other thing any more. If you signed up, that means you want to do it. And that means you need to take responsibility for making it happen. Sure, I’ll physically get you there, but it’s up to you to be ready on time.
- You forget it, you do without it: take the consequences. Sit inside on a sunny day because you forgot your hat. Sit out from swimming because you forgot your togs. Deal with it, get over it and learn from it.
And while you’re at it:
- Make your own lunchbox: no more fussy demands about making your sandwiches just so, or not liking that particular flavour of crackers. I’ll make sure the cupboards are stocked with good, healthy options, the rest is up to you.
- Do your own laundry. No more stroppy morning tantrums because you left your school uniform in a crumpled heap in the corner of your room instead of putting it in your laundry basket, making it my fault that you don’t have a clean uniform to wear. And by the way, while you’re at it, perhaps you’ll start to understand the concept of putting clean clothes back in your drawers instead of in your washing basket.
Sounds a bit harsh? Maybe it is. But my job as a Mum of three soon-to-be teenagers is to grow successful human beings. Ones that can function in the real world. Ones that have the resilience to cope with most of what life will throw at them. Ones that can cope *gulp* without me.
You go girl! I’m doing the EXACT same thing in our house. Slave days are OVER!
It definitely isn’t the easiest way to go but I figure short term pain for long term gain!
Bravo Polly. I will be trying to instil this into my six year old sooner rather than later. You’re a great writer by the way. I love the balance of humour, social commentary and real life!
Aw thanks Lisa. Can you tell I was still just a little bit angry when I wrote this 😉