I was having an online conversation with some fellow moms on Twitter about the idea of where does the line of nurturing our children and spoiling them become blurred. We were talking mainly on the idea of moms making lunches for their high school children. At first I was appalled at the idea of it. Even my 5 and 6 year olds help with packing their lunches! But as they explained their reasons, my judgy side had to take a seat. Some working moms said it was one last “motherly ” type thing they could do for their kids. Some stay at home moms said their children’s schedules between school, sports and jobs were so busy that they felt it important to take care of that little detail for them, less stress on their busy child. I get both of those reasons, they make sense to me and I can see their points.
I think it comes down to the attitude of the child, especially an older child. If they have the attitude of expecting us to take care of their every need, I feel we are failing them. As their parents, we absolutely want our children to feel safe and secure and taken care of of. But I think we can do that without tending to their every need in unnecessary ways…spoiling them.
The one thing on my parenting list of DO NOT DO THIS is raise a child with a sense of entitlement. There is nothing worse than a spoiled brat child who expects everyone to bow to them and give them their every desire. Except maybe a spoiled brat adult who acts that way.
Am I right?
So how do we care for our children, nurture them, provide their needs without spoiling them?
I’m sure there are entire books and psychological studies done on the subject but here is what I think…
It’s about the expectations we have of others. I don’t expect anyone to do anything above and beyond for me. So when they do, I am sincerely grateful. And that it what I work hard at teaching, by modeling, to my boys.
I’m a stay at home. I take care of most of the cooking and cleaning around here. And I don’t mind, because, it’s my job. BUT, I have a very strong motto that my children know well, and that is:
“I’m the MOM not the MAID.”
So, I expect my children to make their beds in the morning. Sure I could do it, I have time. But it’s a skill I want them to learn. And they are not going to learn it by coming home to a clean room and freshly made bed every day.
I have them help me pack their lunches. They see what’s going into it and why. We talk about eating our veggies before our cookie. We talk about not throwing away things that could be eaten later, because food costs money and we need to be frugal and not wasteful.
They help with dishes and laundry and dusting. I could do it all, and on especially busy weeks, I might. But how will my children learn those life skills if I don’t teach them? How will they learn that just because we are tired or busy or just plain don’t want to, things still need to be done.
The laundry fairy is not real.
Oh how I wish she were.
I want them to know that I will always help them take care of themselves, but I don’t want them to automatically expect that I will do everything for them.
When they are grown up, I want my boys to be equipped with all sorts of life skills. I want them to be able to take care of themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, I spoil my kids. Plenty. But it has always been very important to me that while I spoil, I also teach gratitude. I’m proud of the fact that my boys are appreciative of the things that are given to them and done for them. I have worked hard at that!
I point out opportunities to be grateful. Child psychologists who have
graduated from the top psychology schools would agree that modeling is
one of the best ways to teach children.
I say things like, “Wasn’t that nice of so-and-so to do for us? I sure am grateful for that, I think I’ll send them a little thank you card!” I’m demonstrating kindness and gratitude through my own actions. And THAT is how we teach our children. That is how they become grateful.
They see it in us.
I model grateful behavior by telling my husband thank you for working so hard to provide our needs. By letting others go before me in line. By leaving the last muffin for someone else because I’ve already had two. It’s about modeling unselfish behavior. “Wow, she was really nice to bring muffins for everyone. I’m grateful that I even got one muffin, much less two, I think I’ll leave that last one for someone else rather than taking it for myself.”
Our children learn by watching us. See a behavior in your child that you don’t like? Stop and take a look in the mirror. Ouch. I know. We might not be demonstrating that particular behavior, but maybe we are overlooking it and not expecting more from our child?
No matter what we do for our kids or how much, when they respond with a “thank you”, not an “it’s about time”, we have nurtured, not spoiled.
If my child says, “HEY, where’s my drink?” Instead of “Mom, could you please get me a drink?” I have spoiled, not nurtured.
You can obviously see the difference. There is a thin line, but a big difference in outcome.
I still have a lot to learn about this subject, and so do my kids. But we are trying, and that is the most important thing!
What do you think about nurturing vs spoiling?
I’m not a very controversial type of person. I’m a peace keeper. I don’t like to blog about stuff just to create drama or get attention. But when my sister-in-law told me about an experience she had this weekend, I just had to say something about it. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve already heard me say a few things about it and I just want to say thank you to everyone who retweeted on my behalf and encouraged me to speak up about it.
My step-brother and his family attended King’s Island in Ohio on Saturday. He and his lovely wife are parents to two little boys and one adorable baby girl (no, I’m not jealous…much). While at the park, baby girl got hungry. The poor little thing was hot, hungry and tired. So, naturally, my sister-in-law did what any good Mom would do and found a place to sit down and feed her baby. She discreetly nursed her hungry baby in an outdoor pavilion where they hold shows and such. The place was empty and there was no show going on at the time.
A woman who works for the park came up to my SIL and said, “I’m sorry, you are going to have to find somewhere else to do that. WE DO NOT ALLOW THAT HERE.”
My SIL is like me. Quiet. Keeps to herself. Doesn’t like to rock the boat. So she asked the woman, “Excuse me? What did you say?” Thinking surely she misunderstood.
Nope. She didn’t. The woman asked her to stop nursing the baby and leave the area.
So she did. My SIL now says that she regrets leaving and not dealing with it immediately, but she was so angry and upset that she just walked away instead of causing a scene.
Sorry. BUT I’M CAUSING A SCENE.
BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC IS NOT INAPPROPRIATE!
I can bet money that there were boobs hanging out all over the place at the theme park that day. I will also bet not one of them was asked to cover up or leave the area because of it.
Since when is letting it all hang out ok but discreetly feeding a baby is not?!
Did you hear about Kim Kardashian tweeting about being appalled at a woman breastfeeding her baby in public? (Which I read about at Her Bad Mother, by the way, another great article about this subject!)
UM HELLO?! Pot calling the kettle black much? That woman has her stuff out for there everyone to see!
Now, let me just say, I don’t think breastfeeding women should be whipping their breasts out for all mankind to see all in the name of breastfeeding. I think modesty and discretion are important.
But when it comes to my boys being flashed with a booby so a woman can feed her hungry baby or the baby left for hungry so as to not “offend” anyone, I choose to feed the hungry baby.
WE SHOULD ALWAYS CHOOSE TO FEED THE HUNGRY BABY.
I’m not calling for a boycott of King’s Island or anything dramatic like that (though I do believe they need to make this right with my SIL). From what I understand, others have had no problem nursing their babies there and King’s Island even boasts a Baby Care Center where Moms can tend to their little ones.
What I am doing here is taking advantage of an opportunity to EDUCATE.
BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC IS NOT INAPPROPRIATE!
It is not always convenient for a Mother to “go find a different spot.” Do you think we like to nurse our babies in the glaring sun in 100 degree heat with a blanket wrapped around us? Don’t you think we would rather sit in an air conditioned room with privacy?
When a baby is hungry, YOU FEED IT.
You have the right to a vending machine around every corner. So breastfeeding babies should be allowed to eat whenever they like as well.
Does it make you uncomfortable to be around a breastfeeding woman?
SORRY. TOO BAD.
BOOBIES ARE FOR BABIES.
P.S. – I didn’t even mention the fact that it is ILLEGAL to ask a breastfeeding woman to stop and leave. You can read all about that HERE.
I rest my case.
Many thanks to my dear sweet sister in law for letting me rant about her injustices. 🙂
This is Tasha’s blog. Sorry she is unavailable to share her latest recipes and parenting tips with you this week.
She is busy volunteering to do crazy things like bake 100 homemade biscuits, make enough sausage gravy for an army and boil 3 lbs of elbow noodles in an attempt to recreate Grandma Fletcher’s famous Macaroni Salad (no pressure) for a family camping trip.
She will return to her normally scheduled life next week after washing 4 thousand loads of laundry that smell like camp fire and sweaty boy.
In the meantime, please feel free to browse me. If you would like to laugh, read this. If you want a recipe that will make you want to slap yo momma, read this. If you would like to think deep thoughts, find another blog.
My Homemade Happiness
I have thought about homeschooling before, and I certainly agree with many of the reasons why so many people do. I mean, I get it. But we have decided that it is not for us. And then I read MckMama’s reasons and I feel all…OMG I AM THE WORST MOM EVER.
But I know that’s not true. I know that. But you know that feeling of why I can’t I be that kind of Mom that haunts you?
The Mom who just loves her children oh so very much that she can’t stand to be away from them for one single minute.
The kind of Mom that doesn’t want other people to teach her children lest they do it wrong.
The kind of Mom who wants to be involved with every single learning moment that their child has.
The kind of Mom that thinks her children poop rainbows and sunshine.
I know, not every homeschooling/unschooling parent is like that last one. Just like every homeschooling mom doesn’t wear a denim jumper with an apple crochet on the front. It’s just my self conscious “I’m not good enough” self pity attitude speaking.
So I remind myself of the things that I do do for my children that makes me a great Mom. Like laugh really hard at typing do do and thinking doo-doo and then not fixing it.
We do teach our children at home. As often as possible, in many situations.
We engage with our children regarding their school work. We certainly don’t expect the school system to do all of the teaching. And we don’t leave all the work to the teachers.
We teach our children responsibility with real world consequences.
Our children see first hand the differences in families, cultures, religions, value systems…and we teach them about those differences, about how to value them, about how to stand up for what they believe amongst it all and and about loving, not judging.
We encourage creativity and my boys are some of the most imaginative children I know. Right now, after playing a rousing game of guitar hero, they are imagining they are on a Rock Band World Tour. They are using a map to decide which part of the world they will tour next and what songs will work best for those cultures. I may have just heard the phrase “that’s not appropriate for that culture” used. (SO PROUD) Followed by “what’s culture mean?” Followed by an inspiring explanation of culture by a 9 year old to a 5 year old. Also, “WOW, this stage really needs to be more organized, let’s sort it all out.” And, my favorite, “God music is appropriate for ALL cultures. So let’s just do an all God concert.” (I might die from the cute.)
I realize that people who homeschool can also teach their children these lessons in different ways. And I think that’s awesome. FOR THEM. Not every idea, every way of doing something, is right for every person or family. Variety is the spice of life, right?
I do enjoy the time while my boys are at school. And I’m not going to feel guilty for that. I refuse to. I also miss them and when they return home, we have a long oh-how-I missed-you hug before the chaos ensues and I wonder how long before they get to go back. (I tease, I tease…or not…depends on the day.)
That doesn’t make me a bad Mom, it makes me a REAL Mom.
We didn’t rush our boys out the door for school. I have not put my boys in preschool. Chandler, our oldest, did go for one year before kindergarten for three days a week. He loved it. It worked for that time in our lives. But our other boys have not and I’ve kept them all in half day kindergarten as well. I know they will be gone all too quickly, all grown up, away from me for too many hours in the day. And that really does make me sad. It equally makes me happy in a way though, too.
They are learning, making friends, enjoying school (my kids love school, so far, I’m really lucky about that). I am home, with a bit more time to try new recipes, get the house for real clean instead of fake clean, and maybe one of these days actually learn how to sew. (Like for real sew, not having to call my Mommy for help, kind of sew.)
Yes, I’ll have time for ME. I might even take a nap. Maybe that makes me selfish. But that’s ok. I can deal with that. I spent a whole lot of years forgetting what the word ME even meant as I breastfed, changed diapers, learned how to make everything from scratch, taught my boys the alphabet and how to write their names and then promptly wiping the crayon off the wall….so many years…wonderful as they were, I am excited to get a break.
So sue me.
I am not the mom who can do all of those things and have my children at home. I mean, I can, I just don’t want to. I’d rather be playing Just Dance with my favorite five year old than wiping the toilet. Having the boys home distracts me. The weekends are spent playing and lounging and loving. When everyone is home, that is all I want to do! So having them gone for a few hours during the day certainly increases my productivity!
To the moms who do all of those things and homeschool?
I hate you. I admire you. Good for you! Go for it! You are a TRUE supermom! I think homeschooling is awesome for those of you who can make it work.
I guess I just need to accept that I am just not that kind of Mom. And I’m slowly coming to accept myself for the Mom I am.
I love this post called “Choosing Public School in a Faith Filled Home” and I wanted to share it with you. I agree with many of her insights about why they choose to send their children to public school. I think the biggest one I relate to is the idea that I will not be able to always meet my children’s academic needs. I feel so very ill-equipped for teaching my children. I mean, I can do the easy stuff, but I think Chandler who is 9 years old and a very advanced learner is already smarter than me. (Totally wish I was joking.)
I will teach my children everything I can at home and let the learning they do at school supplement what I miss.
That feels good to me.
I still have one little guy at home. A few more months until all of my kids are in school. And I’ll be honest, (I can be super-duper no one is going to judge me honest, right?)
I dread the day he goes to Kindergarten.
I am so looking forward to the day he goes to Kindergarten.
AND THAT’S OK.
Please say it’s ok.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I wrote this a while back over at BellazizasFavorites.com and thought it was worth sharing again!
You Know You’re A Mom of Boys When:
There is pee…everywhere…forget toilet seats, it’s everywhere people!
There are numerous daily conversations about underwear, snot and butts…in a completely serious manner.
There are numerous daily conversations about underwear, snot and butts…in a completely ridiculous and silly manner.
There are underwear strewn about the house in very strange places for no particular reason whatsoever. (case in point)
We use the word underwear a lot.
I am ALWAYS out of food. They are like little garbage disposals.
There is no pink to be found, except for the clothes on my back. And I barely get away with that. (”Mom, that’s a girl color!” HELLO! I’M A GIRL!!)
I have more hot wheels in my purse than I do cosmetics.
I break up at least 2-3 wrestling matches a day. Some with tears, most with screaming.
I can quote Star Wars…this is not something I am proud of, it’s just a fact.
I can make shooting noises, differing between pistols and bombs and such…again, not a super proud moment.
It only takes two dressers completely emptied to cover a small bedroom floor with clothes. This fact has been proven numerous times and you will come to find out all kinds of things that can cover the floor when you have boys.
Body parts…don’t get me started on that one.
Lego pieces can not be easily found in vacuum bags…or dog poop. Just sayin’.
Bath time is about the same as the “Will It Float” segments on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Photo shoots look like this:
And before it’s all over with, like this:
I can’t complain though. I really DO love being a mom of boys. Dirty underwear and all.
Because being a Mom of boys also means that I get to play Monopoly Jr on a Friday night and have my Momma’s boy say, “Mom, I made our cars kiss!”
AND…Two Words: Coach Mom
Being a Mom of boys is something special, that’s for sure. So bring on the legos up the nose and the “you’re the best mom ever” Mother’s Day cards with pictures of us shooting guns together. I’m ready for it all.
My house is clean and I’m not afraid to admit it!
I get a lot of rolled eyes when people come to my house and see how clean it is amongst four males in the house. But the joke is on them. Because my house isn’t really that clean. It just looks like it is. You want to know how? OK, I’ll tell you my secrets, but you may never look at my clean house the same way again!
When the boys were young, I had to find a way to make things work. I had a newborn, a 15 month old toddler and a five year old…not to mention a husband. A clean house was on the way bottom of my priority list. I remember after Charlie was born, my Mom stopped by and I saw her face as she looked around. Toys everywhere, dishes stacked high, dust bunnies waving at you. It was not pretty. I had to change the way I did things. I couldn’t let the housework suffer. My Momma didn’t raise a slob. So I learned very quickly how to clean the house quickly and efficiently as possible.
OK, now for the secrets, you ready?
Clean as you go.
Everything has a home.
I know, not very mind blowing. Kind of a let down, isn’t it?
But it’s just that simple. If you are a working Mom, you don’t have time to spend three days a week cleaning. And if you are like me, a stay at home Mom who is hardly ever home due to baseball and volunteering at the school or tending to little ones, you don’t have the luxury of spending your precious free moments cleaning.
I clean the house one day a week. I do the laundry one day a week. That is it. Yet I still have a clean house and clean clothes consistently.
When I say clean as you go, here is what I mean: Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do right now.
If I walk past the garbage can and notice a that someone spilled something down the side of it, I stop right then and there, grab the wash cloth and wipe it up. You might think, “I’ll get to that later when I clean the kitchen after dinner.” No! Do it now! When you go to clean the kitchen later, that is just one less thing you have to do. Before you know it, that 15 minute clean up after dinner has turned into an hour because you have to wipe down the garbage can, clean that spill you ignored in the fridge earlier, wipe down the juice splattered down the cabinet from this morning, sweep up the crumbs still there from lunch…you get the picture.
If you clean as you go, you will save yourself so much time!
In the morning, I wipe the bathroom sink and toilet down after I get ready for the day. It takes me 30 seconds and the bathroom looks clean every single day. Then on my one cleaning day for the week, I go a bit deeper, clean the floors, clean the tub, etc.
I save vacuuming, dusting, sweeping and mopping for my one cleaning day. But throughout the week, I wipe down the dusty tv as I walk past it, I take the dust-buster to the kitchen floor after the boys eat (just under the table not the whole floor). When cleaning day comes, the messes are minimal compared to what it would be like if I would have ignored it the rest of the week.
Now hear me…Don’t deep clean as you go, quick clean as you go. That’s why my house looks clean but it might not actually be clean.
And it will serve you well to teach your kids this also. The rule is that we clean one mess before making another in the play room. My boys have been taught since they were very little to wipe off the toothpaste from the sink when they are done, wipe off the toilet seat if they sprinkle, put their dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher.
The little quick clean ups add up very quickly to a clean house. Then spend your one day cleaning a bit more deeply. You don’t have to focus on the little stuff because it’s done already. You don’t have to spend half an hour sorting through the mail to clean the kitchen counter because every day when the mail came you took a minute to open it, sort it and put it in it’s home. So your counter is already clean and you can focus on mopping the floors instead. You don’t have to spend half your day cleaning toys off the playroom floor to vacuum because every day you (or if they are old enough, your kids) took 5 minutes to pick up the toys.
Oh yes, one more thing, put those kids to work! Especially if you are a working Mom and your one cleaning day is on the weekend. You don’t want to spend your entire day off cleaning! So take a Saturday morning and work together to get it all done. You will have a clean house and the rest of your day to do something fun! If you work and have little ones…you have my sympathy. Hang in there and just do the best you can!
If you can spend just a little bit of time making sure everything has a home, clean up time is much more efficient. I will write more about that and other organizing tips in time.
So does this make sense? I don’t want to ramble, but it may be too late for that. LOL You can have a clean house and eat your cake too…or something like that.
I’d love to hear your cleaning tips in the comments section! We can all use a new trick or two up our sleeves!