Yesterday I wrote this post about one of the things I’ve done that has really helped my children to be more responsible.
And I received this comment:
I so struggle with this. With only 2 kids and a very part time baking business out of my home, I waffle between getting my kids to do more and feeling like it’s all my responsibility since I don’t have a job. If I get them to do it, what’s the point of me being home? That’s what I struggle with! Any helpful advice here?
First of all, in addition to being a stay-at-home mom, you are also a business owner.
You are, in your own words, very part time. But don’t discredit yourself.
Next, let’s get past this apparent stay-at-home mom guilt you appear to have going on.
I know in this day and age, the single income family is becoming more and more a thing of the past.
But one thing we all know is that it’s not healthy or helpful to compare yourself to your neighbor. To feel the need to keep up with the Joneses.
If you can’t afford a certain lifestyle, then you have to live within your means.
Screw what your friends/neighbors/relatives think.
Just as it’s not good to feel the need to keep up with the Joneses, it’s no good to keep down with the Joneses either!
You don’t have to compare how hard you work or how busy your day is or how many jobs you have to your friend/relative/neighbor with less money!
If you are able to live on one income and one parent wants to and is able to stay home full time, well, GOOD FOR HER (OR HIM)!
If you have a little bit of down time during your day, GOOD FOR YOU!
If you have time to take a shower and exercise and take care of yourself and not run around like a fucking maniac every waking hour of your day, well, YES!!! DO IT!
If people have a problem with that?
You don’t have to wear yourself down, burn yourself out, and do every single thing for every single person in the family 24/7/365 just because you are at home and your best friend or your sister isn’t able to do the same thing!
Now back to your struggle.
Ummm….. there is nothing to struggle with.
A stay at home mom’s job is not to cater to her children’s every want and need.
There is no shortage of jobs to be done in a home.
And there are things that your kids really can’t be responsible for.
They’re not going to do the driving and the scheduling. That’s almost a full-time job right there.
Your children aren’t going to go grocery shopping. They aren’t going to make dentist and doctor’s appointments and make sure all the kids get to them.
They aren’t going to be able to stay at home with a sick kid so no one has to call in sick to work.
They aren’t going to be planning meals and cooking dinner and figuring out a budget and going to conferences and volunteering at school and doing the Christmas shopping and buying the birthday presents.
The point of you being home is to facilitate a smooth running home and to take care of the stuff that the person working outside the home may not have time for.
The stay at home mom’s (or dad’s) job is not to make her kids’ lives easy and without conflict, struggle, hard work, sacrifice or a little elbow grease.
It is to make their lives better!
Not their lives in the immediate moment, but their lives in the long run.
This is the job of any parent, not just the mom.
It is to help them build a solid foundation so that when they are on their own, they don’t crash and burn and so that they aren’t total assholes.
Your job as a parent, wherever you work — and staying at home is definitely WORK — is to teach your children to develop self-discipline and problem solving skills, to be kind and responsible, to cooperate, and to communicate effectively and respectfully.
And you do not do all that by doing every damn thing for your kids!!!
Your kids need to learn how to pack their backpacks and their lunches, fold clothes, and work the washing machine and dryer. They need to learn how to unload, load and run the dishwasher. They need to learn what stuff can go in the dishwasher and what stuff needs to be washed by hand.
And yes. They need to learn to wash dishes by hand, too.
They need to learn how to make a bed, and organize their shit.
They need to learn how to clean up after themselves.
The need to learn how to clean a bathroom and plunge a toilet and use a toilet scrubber and squirt that blue crap around the underside of the toilet.
They need to learn how to not only use a vacuum cleaner, but to change the bag. Or the canister. Whatever place all the crap goes into.
They need to learn how to use a broom and a rake and a shovel.
They need to learn how to put gas in the car and also in the lawn mower.
And yes. They need to learn how to use the damn lawn mower, too.
They need to learn how to thread a needle, sew on a button, and hem their pants.
The need to learn how to use the microwave, the stove and the oven, how to handle a hot pan and a boiling pot of water, and at the very least, how to make mac and cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich, and Ramen noodles, the three major college food groups.
Your kids need to learn how to be a contributing member of a household so they can be a contributing member of society!
While you are working on that, take advantage of the things stay-at-home moms are also able to do.
If you are crafty and into that stuff, look some shit up on Pinterest and do that with your kids.
If you are into cooking, teach them how to make something a little more complicated (and nutritious) than mac and cheese.
If you are into gardening, teach them how to plant seeds and start a garden.
Do the stuff that working moms don’t have the time to do.
And don’t feel guilty about having the ability to be able to do it!
So, in my opinion, that’s what you should be doing if you are a stay-at-home mom.
You should be making some memories with your kids.
And most importantly, you should be teaching.
Teaching your kids how to do all the crap they will need to do when they venture out on their own.
Because if think you are struggling now, it will be nothing compared to the struggle you’ll have trying to kick your 35-year-old entitled man or woman-child out of the house after a lifetime of servitude and enabling.
Now step away from the computer, put the phone down and go get your kids.
You’ve got some teaching to do.
Save the enabling for when your kids have kids.
Because that’s totally one of the job requirements (and perks) of being a grandparent.
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