My teenager asked if he could stay home from school this morning because - get this - he didn’t have any clean clothes, and he even went so far as to say, “...because you didn’t do my laundry.”
Before you get all judgy about me as a mother and housekeeper, let me say this: he’s been responsible for doing his own laundry since he was about 13.
But yesterday - as a favor - I offered to throw some of his things into the washing machine, and he of course jumped on-board.
I had no intention of finishing that load out last night. It’s not what I do. I start a load in the evening, then I finish it out the next morning, moving everything over from the washer to the dryer. It’s my system and it works for me.
After I scraped myself off the floor from laughing at my son’s request to stay home, I said, “If you knew you didn’t have any clothes for today, you should have made sure the load I was working on last night would be finished and ready to wear today. Or - even better: you could have finished it out all by yourself!”
We have a very strict rule in this house that, unless you’ve got fever or diarrhea, you don’t stay home from school.
But - because I’m at my zone of genius when I’m sending mixed messages (like when I discipline my dogs, and I tell them they’re bad dogs, but while I’m saying it, I’m squishing their faces up into mine, so that our noses touch, while I simultaneously rub their velvety little ears, saying that I love them, but they’ll go straight to the pound if they keep doing XYZ), I sometimes allow for a mental health day, because - OMG - sometimes we just need a freakin break.
But that’s only happened maybe twice for my teenager, in all of his school years (he’s now a senior), so his request wasn’t just a longshot, it was one of the dumbest things he’s ever said.
And you know what? It’s ok that I send mixed messages sometimes. It’s ok that I’m a hypocrite on occasion.
That’s what being a parent is all about!
Like how one of our rules is that he make his bed every single morning. His dad tells him, "Have you ever walked in our room? You've seen our bed, right? It's always made. Always."
But the truth is, it isn't always made. I have a really good excuse, though. There are plenty of times when I go to make my bed, and I have to work around this:
...and I'm sorry - but it's just not going to happen. I am not about to move that little cherub out of his cocoon. (He's literally winking at me. Can you see that? Ohmygod, I love that dog.)
Here’s the thing about teaching responsibility: you can still be helpful to your kid, taking stuff off their plate occasionally, just to be nice.
But they have to realize that, ultimately, they’re still responsible for taking care of their own shit.
Alrighty. I’m going to climb down offa this here soapbox, now, and run my other kid’s lunchbox to the school, because he left it in the back of my car.
I can only impart so many responsibility lessons in one day, y’all.