I am a self-proclaimed slacker parent. I am NOT one of those helicopter, lawn mower, or incessantly intervening parents. This blurb online is one of many articles and anecdotes that confirm for me that I'm not doing it wrong. I have not scheduled my kids for anything except doctor's appointments and religious education classes. I've kicked them outside to play without structure, instruction beyond basic safety rules, and their own imaginations. If they took an interest in something, I let them take that lead. I have kids who, like my husband, do not like for me to nudge them too much. It becomes nagging after about the second time I open my mouth. At that point, they decide to immediately do the exact opposite of what I have been suggesting. It didn't take me long to figure out their modus operandi, and subsequently, alter my own when dealing with any of them. The kids have my big feet, and his method of doing things - their own. How's that for genetic quirks?
So, I can find enjoyment being a parent because these guys have their own minds and methods. Oh wait, that's how I wanted them to be. I have always wanted kids who could function in the world, apart from me, because I still haven't fully enjoyed my mid-life crisis, nor have I cracked too far into my bucket list. Then there's that whole issue of mortality. What kind of legacy do I want to leave via my children? Do I want kids who grow up completely incapable of handling the slightest wiggle to what life pitches? Or do I want kids that make use of the brain and common sense God gave them? Yes, the toilet overflows occasionally. So reach back here and shut off the water supply before it gets REALLY messy, and this is how you go about effectively unclogging it without making it worse. Don't curl up in the corner sitting in poo water, whimpering about getting stinky and wet.
This morning, I was dragged from my bed at 5:10 to get Evil Genius to work at 6. We arrived at 5:36 to find 3 cars of employees waiting since 4:00 to be let in the door, and the building locked and alarmed. My 19 year old is in training to be a manager 8 months after starting his first McJob, because we drilled life's lessons into his brain, and he saw the examples we set and emulated them. He started calling the managers whose numbers he has. Secondary access to the building was gained, an alarm code shared, and employees could finally start prepping - 2 hours later than they should have been. From my mom-bus, I heard grumbling and whining from the other cars. Those are the same kids whose feelings will get hurt when they have to eventually answer to Evil Genius. How unfortunate that they were not happy to be able to get their work done finally. They would have preferred to sit in the parking lot looking at an empty building as customers came through, expecting their usual breakfast and coffee. They were going to get paid whether they sat or worked, and who wouldn't rather sit and collect a paycheck? (After a while, I'd find it boring and old, and start getting restless.) Meanwhile Evil Genius set about getting the workday started. THAT is the kind of result to my parenting that I was aiming toward. He hates being bored, and thrives on staying busy. He was a horrible kid when he was bored. He's not nearly as hyper and angry anymore since landing this job. The chaos to my calendar is an acceptable trade-off in exchange for seeing my son do a job he likes, and learning to lead.
However, I could absolutely do without this massive caffeine withdrawal headache from not getting coffee when I dropped him off, and coming home to crawl back in the bed. I should have stayed awake and had coffee at home. Another lesson: the smallest of things you do, can have impact elsewhere.