What’s a Mom to do……? UPDATED
I had an interesting conversation with my middle son this morning. He approached me and asked if we could talk. Usually this means it is something very personal….guy kinda stuff.
He wanted to let me know that he is tired of being our slave. They shouldn’t have to help with the laundry. They shouldn’t have to help with the dishes. They shouldn’t have to help clean up the floor from “their” dogs…..or clean up the birds cage everyday. They shouldn’t have to help in the yard….ie pooper scoop.
They should be given an allowance for what they are responsible for doing……because you know….they never get any money….Hmmmm…I wonder how my daughter came up with the $80 dollars she has socked away…..or the $70 that my other son has in his wallet. Oh I forgot…..the money my daughter has was money given to her for activities with the youth group and I told her to keep the change. Same with the my other sons…….
I need to think on this for awhile……I need to come up with a creative way of teaching them the lesson that at their ages…10,12,14. They are part of a family unit and as they get older they need to be taught responsibility.
I do have 3 ladies I know that they could go visit for a week. That would give them a dose of perspective on just how little they actually do in our home.
I am also battling with them being told that they shouldn’t have to do anything in the house…including cleaning their room. I am the SAHM. That is my responsibility. They are not supposed to be doing laundry at their ages…or stripping their beds and taking their dirty laundry to the laundry room.
I thought of several different ways to use this as a teachable moment…..I just haven’t decided on which one I think would be most effective.
We shall just have to wait and see…………
Dad came home and had a very “stern” talk with Son#1. When they were through he came out and said he was sorry. I asked him what he was sorry for and he said that he was sorry for what he said and how hurtful and disrespectful He was. I accepted his apology and hugged him.
An hour later he came back through and hugged me again, but this time he started crying. I told him that it was okay. He didn’t have to keep apologizing and that he knows that Mommy doesn’t keep a score sheet and it will not be brought up again (ever) by me. He is forgiven.
I asked him why he was still upset…….he said,”I made you cry.” We talked for a few minutes and I told him it was okay…..I knew that he was all ready angry with me over a couple other things that had happened and figured that he was striking back at me. All though he didn’t realize at the time, that was why he wanted to hurt my feelings. (That’s what I was thinking, but he says not.)
Bedtime….he comes over to hug me again and I tell him I love him and he starts to cry again……I reassured him that I am okay and we are cool with each other and he needs to try to get past this but use it as a teachable moment about how easy it is to hurt those we love.
I thought he was okay and sent him off to bed. I walked back to their room to make sure everyone was in bed and I hear this wuffling sound as I am going down the hallway. Sure enough….He is still crying.
I sat down on his bed and we talked a little longer. It is tearing him up that he made me cry. I don’t cry. My kids are aware that due to some bad childhood conditioning I cannot cry. It is extremely rare and difficult for me to cry. Once in awhile a really good tear jerker movie can get me to cry which is why I don’t watch them very often unless I really need to cry.
I told him that me crying wasn’t a bad thing in away. The stress our family has been under the last six months has left me dealing with some heavy emotional baggage. My body probably really needed this more than I knew. What he said was so hurtful because it was related to what we were going through due to the other extraneous issues being flung at our family.
I explained that one of the most difficult things to learn is forgiveness. Not just in forgiving others and giving forgiveness but in forgiving ourselves. Daddy and Mommy forgave him for what he said. He was obviously showing genuine remorse over his actions…..He need to forgive himself.
I told him that there are people who go through their adult lives not being able to grasp or come to grips with that aspect of forgiveness. He said that he recognized as soon as he said what he did that he had gone too far. He was walking away from me and knew that he should have come back then and made it right between the two of us. He just couldn’t bring himself to come back. I told him that he still has some growing up to do and the coming back part was a level of maturity that he was lacking as of yet.
Bless his heart…he looked up from his pillow and said he would never do anything like that again….He was going to be careful about what he said. I explained that it’s part of human nature to react that way. The growing part is recognizing the right and wrong way to handle those feelings. We know that they are going to be angry at us at times. We encourage them to come and talk to us when they are angry or whatever it is they are feeling. The wrong comes in how those feelings are handled. We don’t have a right to hurt other people when we are angry whether it be verbally or physically. Sometimes we have to walk away and give ourselves a mental and physical time out to allow ourselves to cool down and look at things logically and with perspective. That also comes with maturity.
I did tell him that this will not be the only time he will say something like this that may hurt me. Odds are it will happen again….I think it is called being a teenager and trying to grow up.
He did say that he knew I do alot for him and his siblings and Daddy. I do more things then any of them are even aware of …….He does appreciate what I do even though they probably cause more work for me at times.
Then we discussed the issue of his laziness and how pleasing it is not just for his own satisfaction in a task well done, but mine also and even more important…..What God expects. How we are told to do anything and everything to the best of our abilities…(bad paraphrase)…
Phi 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Col 3:22-25 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ.
But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons.
We talked about jobs that have to be done that no one “enjoys” doing…( unless you are just not right in the head of course….) but need to be done for the health, welfare and safety of the family unit. We are always called upon to do things that are the dirty jobs or the jobs that are back breaking and monotonous. We have to do them. The difference is in our attitude and whether or not we take the time to do the assigned task right the first time.
I explained that yes….we do have chores to do…I didn’t give birth to them to have inborn slaves. As the parent I will have to answer to God for the training and preparation I gave them growing up. Did I teach them responsibility, good work ethics, reliability…..some of these things don’t matter to the world…..but they do to God. He needs to know that you have a servants heart and are willing to do the task asked of you to the best of the abilities He has given you and the training you are supposed to be receiving at the hands of your parents.
We talked about age appropriate chores…..I asked him to think back and see how as he grew up he was given simple tasks to help out and as he became older the tasks were broadened. At age 12 it is not unreasonable to expect him to be able to unload and load the dishwasher. He was not doing that at age 5, 6 or 7. It was not age appropriate to expect a 6 or seven or even 8 year old to have to do all the dishes. Especially for a family of 5. They would help do things like bring their plates to the table….they would hand the cups to us to be loaded into the dishwasher…..through each stage their responsibilities increased…but never without help and training.
We will have to wait and see how his attitude changes over the next few weeks…..I will let you know what works.
It was just heart wrenching to him thinking he did something to make Mommy cry. I didn’t cry in front of him. I cried when my husband came home and we were talking about it……I was running on a mix of anger and hurt.
We shall see…….