For our first week of summer vacation we have done a lot of loafing. But I don’t feel bad about it, because I’m pretty sure it’s a state law to do as little as possible the first week of summer vacation.
However, I did manage to implement the new chores rotation for the children amidst a chorus of great whining and groaning. Basically, the five year old is getting more responsibility now that she’s a “big” girl, which frees up the oldest child for new jobs. So this past week I’ve been teaching my son how to clean the bathroom.
(Let me just interject here that this is the best idea I’ve had in a long, long time. I’m no longer in charge of cleaning up toothpaste graffiti on the sink and mirrors. Nor do I stress over the state of my toilets anymore.)
Taking the time to work with my kid and actually teach him the proper way of cleaning the bathroom has not been what I would call a ‘fun time.’ There’s no mother/son bonding happening over here. Taking twenty minutes to do a task that normally only takes me five minutes has proven to be a mentally painful experience.
Maybe it’s the time-cruncher/time-management part of me. Or maybe it’s because I am unable to imagine anyone not knowing how to clean a bathroom, since I’ve done it for the past thirty years. But watching my son struggle his way through the bathroom cleaning process has not been a pleasant past time.
But I am persevering. We’ve been breaking the different chores up and teaching them on separate days, so that has helped. Tomorrow I’m teaching him how to scrub a bathtub, however, so we’ll see if I still have control of my mental faculties after the day is over.
I think this is one of the hardest elements to parenting: taking the time to teach your kids how to do things. In the short scheme of things, it would be so much faster and easier to just clean the stupid toilets myself.
But child raising isn’t about the short scheme, it’s about the long run (unless you have a newborn, in which case you should just concentrate on surviving the day alive.) It’s about taking a ten year old boy with little impulse control and limited knowledge of household cleaning products and imagining him in ten years on a college campus with the only clean bathroom on the dorm floor.
Parenting is about being able to see your child and their capabilities now, but looking ahead and seeing how you want to end wind up in the future. Then taking the necessary path to reach that goal.
Which, frankly, isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
So I’m plugging away, teaching my son that the Pine-sol bottle is not a toy but a serious weapon against grime. I’m counting to ten and remembering to praise honest effort.
And I’m seriously looking forward to the day when my future daughter-in-law comes to me and tells me that I did a wonderful job training her husband.