Thursday, September 8, 2011

The "Mama Has to Work Book Club"

Yesterday afternoon was rough for Middle. She'd had a bad day. She was grouchy. And when she's grouchy she treats us to a litany of complaints. The subjects most often addressed are:
  • Why do you have to work? I hate it when you work. You should be home.
  • Why don't you cook the things I want to eat?
  • Why don't you buy me the things I want like a cell phone or ipod or a new computer?
  • Why does brother get the star treatment and you treat me like dirt?
  • I'm bored. Why don't you entertain me?
My answers go like this:
  • Do you like living in a house? Do you like eating? Do you like wearing clothing? If so then I must work. If not we could take to the streets.
  • I cook fresh healthy meals for the family. I'm sorry they are not to your taste. I am not a short order cook and child can not live on noodles alone.
  • If you want an ipod you may buy it for yourself. You will get a phone in due time (your brother didn't get one until he was fourteen). You have a computer. Actually two. Which is two more than your father. Be grateful for what you've got. And what do I look like? A money tree?
  • If, by star treatment, you mean your brother has a phone then yes -- he gets the star treatment. He gets it by virtue of his age. You, too, will get such treatment when you are older. And if, by star treatment, you mean I bought your brother a new computer keyboard from the Goodwill then yes. YOU have a nice keyboard. His was ruined by a suspicious incident involving his sisters. I did buy you a skirt. Something I did not purchase for your brother. Ponder that.
  • You are a bright, inventive, creative child hence perfectly capable of entertaining yourself.
To be honest I am flabbergasted by the lack of gratitude from my children. They are SO lucky. They have food on the table, a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs. And yet they don't care one iota (that is until such things are taken away, hmmm ...)

I know (well at least I hope) some gratitude will come with age. As these children go out into the world and make their way I presume they will begin to appreciate the effort and sacrifice that has been made on their behalf. Obviously there are no guarantees.

In the meantime I've begun a project that will, hopefully, a) stave off boredom while I'm at work b) make Middle feel singled out and appreciated and c) foster some appreciation (i.e. middle has a great life).

Introducing the "Mama Has to Work Book Club". Our first read? The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I plan to read this in conjunction with Middle -- me during the day and her while I'm at work. Then, as time permits in between clients, we can discuss the book via email.

I created a PDF document to direct our first meeting. Hopefully it will be met with a positive reception.

On another note -- the MRI machine is down. My scan has been rescheduled for a week from Monday. Ah well -- such is life.



Jordan said...

That is a great first read, especially in regard to that list you just shared with us of questions. The Diary of Anne Frank really affected me when I read it when I was in elementary school. When you're a child, you're kind of oblivious to how the world, outside your own home and school operates.

Tammie said...

i love your book club idea.

im surprised by the lack of gratitude from my children as well. i know (or at least i think) my kids appreciate what my husband and i do, but they arent very good at showing it despite the fact that ive always made a point of modeling appreciative behaviour.

also, sorry about the mri machine. like you really wanted to wait more, huh?

Debi said...

I have three grown children and they will eventually be greatful for what you have provided for them. And the sweet part? When they have children of their own they treat them just like they were treated... they don't give them the world just because they want it! You will have taught them well! Love Ann Frank as a teen...
Sorry about the MRI machine...

Bridge said...

my middle is questioning me and giving me heartburn. so many years and emotional ups and downs. my work has been very stressful for her. why can't i just quit and serve her? i love the idea.

Theresa said...

Well, kids see all their friends with these things, so they feel entitled. They do not see the possible debt some families deal with for their children to have everything.

If reading Anne Frank doesn't help end the pity could call Dr.Phil:)

Liz said...

I love the idea of the book club - and what a brilliant choice of first book. I recently read the autobiography of Miep Gies, they lady who helped hide the Franks and others in the Secret Annexe.

Shalet said...

We are ten pages in thus far. It is hard to explain to kids money and value and choices. The other day my daughter was complaining because so and so got a cell phone. I bluntly pointed out that this child may have a cell phone but her family was losing their house. Someday ... someday I hope she'll understand.

Anonymous said...

Oh man.. I have a son that your daughter could commiserate with! Those words, I have heard from him so many times.. ( although he wants me to get a "real job" so I would make MORE money and buy him expensive stuff! Ipod computer, ect...)
now here is the question, are all of them like that on their bad days or just her? Because on my she's bad days, it's " do you love me?" and can I be glued to you for all time...