I hear moms who have it way more together than me, talking about giving their kids summer school lessons and chore lists. I wish I could say that I am like those moms. But I cannot lie to you. Or myself.
As a child, by age 8 I was spending my summers at home without adult supervision. It wasn’t an ideal situation maybe but necessary at the time. My mother left for work around 6 A.M during the week. She returned home around 3 P.M. each, day. Well except for those times when she had two jobs. Sometimes I would be alone longer. I spent my days watching television, listening to music and reading books. Entertaining myself, so to speak.
Raising kids today is very different. I am here with my children every day of the summer. Looking back now, I feel like I had to grow up a little too fast. I was responsible for myself at a fairly early age. My brothers and I did all of the chores in our household. We did everything except for cooking and laundry. And one brother even tried to take the meals over as he got older.
I absolutely know that there were kids who had it way harder than we did. I never had to worry about if there was going to be food on the table. So I am not trying to paint my childhood in that way. I just had to learn how to watch out for myself, while my mother was out, working her ass off.
I also do the majority of the chores in our household now. My kids do have little jobs. I know it is important to instill a sense of responsibility in kids. You are a member of this family and we all have to pull our weight. Work together. When you move out, your laundry isn’t going to do itself.
I feel like I was born with hustle. I often question whether my children would even hustle if their hair was on fire. I just can’t be sure. Can hustle be learned? I sure hope so.
As a parent, you always second guess yourself. You often sit and wonder if you are doing anything right when it comes to raising kids. I want my kids to be well-adjusted members of society one day. I want them to have a sense of community responsibility. And a good work ethic.
I do compare my childhood to theirs naturally. I realize that they have it much easier. In some ways, anyway. They don’t have to walk eight blocks home from school with the house key attached to their belt loop. Because there is absolutely NO WAY I could allow them to do that. Do you watch the news?
Being raised during the times that I was, made you just a little tougher. A little smarter. Street smart, my grandfather used to call it. You knew there were certain things that you had to do. Certain things that you had to stay away from. And although I try to tell my kids about these things, I never know what is really sinking into their brains. Because they aren’t out there actually living the scenarios, like we did.
Raising kids is the hardest thing you will ever do. Every parent has their own style. Their own system that works for their family. I would never judge another parent who was simply doing the best job that they know how to do.
But maybe because of the way that I grew up, I want my kids to get to be kids for as long as they possibly can. Have you seen the homework that these poor kids have in school these days? My first grader spent 40 minutes a night between homework and reading. First grade. That is after he had been at school all day.
And then there are the extracurricular activities. My oldest child is only eleven, yet I am already trying to figure out what is going to get her a college scholarship. You can’t just rely on them being scholars. You need a backup plan. Maybe two. College ain’t cheap, Y’all.
I don’t remember feeling all of that pressure when I was a kid and I know for a fact that my mother didn’t. She was too busy working two jobs. Times are very different now. The expectations that are placed on children to succeed. They have to save this country, after all.
So right now, while they are still kids, I want them to just be kids. I in no way want to raise entitled jerks though. I can’t stand those people. I have never felt like the world owed me anything and neither has my husband. We have worked hard for the things we have gotten in life.
I try to lead by example I suppose. I respect all life. All humans. No one person is better than any other person. Hard work just feels good. Doing the right thing feels good. And for Christ’s sake, sometimes you just have to hustle.
We spend way too many hours out in the sun than is probably safe. I spend half of my life smearing sunscreen on disgruntled children.
They eat chocolate cookies for afternoon snack. They drink way too much lemonade. Peanut butter and jelly is as fancy as lunch gets on most days. I barely manage to make sure that they have showered on our lazy summer days. At least every third day is okay. Right? Wait, does the pool count?
I don’t know if I am doing anything right. But soon enough, they will be forced into adult hood. They will have to work for things that they need and want. They will have to do the laundry. They will have to pay car insurance. And taxes. They will have to make their own darn peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. All of the things that comes with adulthood.
My kids have all year to learn responsibility and structure. But for just a few weeks during the summer, we are over here just being kids.
I’ll let you know in a few years, if I screwed up royally.