Recently, a situation has come to my attention. I coddle my boys.
Now, you have to understand this confession is coming from a mother who believes in raising her sons to be wonderful husbands. Strong, independent, caring, supportive. But especially, well trained in housework and cooking. I have no intention of being one of those mothers who clean their rooms, make their beds, cook their dinners, do laundry, and treat them like babies so when their future wives pop up on the horizon, the poor women go running in horror at my sons inability to take care of themselves.
Which leads me to the incident.
I was on the phone with my girlfriend, and dual voices screamed through the living room.
“Mom, I’m done. Take my plate!”
My girlfriend was puzzled. “What was that about?”
“Oh, I’m serving them breakfast in the living room, and they’re done.”
She remained confused. “So?”
“So, I take their plate and wash their sticky hands when they’re finished.”
A pause. Then a high shrill cry.”YOU DO WHAT?!”
Now I wondered if I had done something horrible. “Well, I allow them to eat breakfast in front of the tv. And when they’re finished I just take their plates and put them in the garbage. What’s the big deal?”
Apparently, this was a BIG deal.
My kids are four and six. Big enough to get their butts out of the chair, walk to the garbage or sink, and dump the plates. Right?
Right. So, as my friend furiously lectured me, I nodded and the light bulb moment clicked on. Yeah. Why was I still doing this for them? I vowed to change.
The next day, I was working on my book and I heard the familiar yells.
“Mom, take my plate!”
This time, I was prepared. “I don’t need to get your plate,” I yelled back. “Take it to the sink if you’re done and wash your hands.”
“What?” he shouted. I repeated the instructions. More silence. “I can’t! You do it!”
I grit my teeth. “You’re old enough to take your own plate!” I screamed. “Do it now.”
Silence. I waited them out and later, walked into the room.
Their plates were still on their laps. They gazed at me with sheer confusion for the rules suddenly changing. When I paused in the doorway, they both beamed up with relief and happiness, and lifted their plates. “Here, Mom! Take the plates.”
Oh. My. God.
Has this happened to you? One day, you wake up and realize you have coddled your children or forgotten they should know how to do something themselves? Like get dressed, put on shoes, buckle their seatbelt?
Time passes in a blur. One moment, they are babies, completely dependent, and I relished my role as helper. I guess I relished it so much I never realized they’ve grown up.
I am working on the plate thing. In a few days, I’m sure I will proudly watch as they rise on their own and dump their breakfast dishes in the sink so I can happily wash them.
Come share your own light bulb moments about your kids growing up. Click on the number at the top of the post. Have a wonderful, safe New Year everyone!