Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Wondering and Worrying.
Today was the first day of school (for two of the three). High school, for some reason, starts tomorrow. At any rate this morning the girls were shepherded off to their respective schools. I was left with a teen aged boy and my emotions. Believe you me the emotions ran the gamut; wistfulness and nostalgia coupled with anger and jealously. I do believe the Boy will happily answer the school bell tomorrow; running as fast as he can from my perimenopausal self.
September, for me, is a season of renewal. Time to take stock. Time to reassess, reevaluate and reorganize. The ideal start to a school year would be one with tidy rooms, desks at the ready, laundry clean and put away. The perfect place for the spark of knowledge to catch fire. Alas my kids' rooms are fodder for a fire but not one of knowledge.
The perfect example? My son. This morning I was informed, in no uncertain terms, he needed a new backpack. NEEDED. And I nearly complied -- answering his demand unfettered. Fortunately my brain clicked in. Hey? Didn't I just buy him a BRAND NEW backpack six-months ago? Why yes. Yes I did.
He did not remember said backpack. He did not remember me buying it for him. He did not remember using it. Low and behold, after an archeological expedition upstairs, the backpack was located and remembered.
And that was the proverbial straw. I have been ignoring the kids' rooms for the entire summer. I begged and pleaded to no avail. I launched thinly veiled threats. Finally, exasperated, I went with benign neglect. Silly me. I had the assumption that when said rooms got too bad the kids would give in and clean (at least a little). Well that "too bad" threshold has not yet been met. But Mama's has.
Plus there are things up there, up in the deep dark upstairs, that we need. Backpacks and graphing calculators to name a few. And silverware and plates. And charging cords. And my bras and sweaters and tee shirts (oh the joys of being the same size as Middle).
It's one thing to let the rooms be messy. It's another thing to buy an entirely new dining set and/or wardrobe. Thus the better part of my day was spent cleaning Middle's room. It's still not done. After that I will tackle the Boy's room and Little's nook. The calculator is still MIA though I found three charging cords, quite a bit of silverware and most of my clothing.
There are bags and bags of items destined for the Goodwill and bags and bags of items in the garbage.
It makes me sad to see so many things, things purchased with hard earned money and/or lovingly handcrafted, dumped on the floor. Stomped on. Treated with so little respect. It makes me question my role as a parent.
Have I really done such a poor job raising these people? The big bad "real world" is lurking out there and I've done nothing to prepare them for the battle. For God's sake they don't even know how to pick a towel up off the floor let alone wash it and put it away. What are they going to do when they have to earn an income and clean and house and feed?
My parents tell me not to worry. They say I've got good kids even if they don't clean. But it's not only about cleanliness and sanitation. It's about life skills. It's about respect and appreciation.
Appreciation for the sacrifice. Appreciation for the hard work to a) buy all these things on the floor and b) clean up these things. It's about being able to postpone gratification and toil at something that might not be ideal (i.e. cleaning a room or working at a job).
Ask these children to do the simplest of chores and they melt to the floor as if I've told them to strangle a puppy.
In short we are raising a bunch of slackers with little or no preparation for real life. And yet they are fed and clothed and coddled. And they have the gall to continuously ask for, no, demand things. And are absolutely and completely flabbergasted when we don't comply.
Where did we go wrong? Clearly this household would benefit from a full-time and strong-willed manager rather than the two exhausted ones at the helm. In retrospect I wish I would have stayed home rather than work. Perhaps then I'd be able to follow through. To impose real and meaningful consequences for inappropriate actions (or inactions).
I am so jealous of those who are able to stay home. And yet, ironically, they are also jealous of me. Oh the joys of the feminist movement. That puts us at an impasse. And so here I sit; wondering and worrying, questioning and second guessing. That, folks, is a day in the life.