Sunday, November 23, 2008

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Somebody over at By The Time I Count To 3 has been blogstalking me (it's okay; I told her I didn't mind, although I do hope my mom isn't reading this; she has this thing about stalkers). I have to call her Somebody, because she's being internet-cautious, and I don't know her name, but By The Time I Count To 3 is too long to type out every time, although I've used ByTheTime once or twice. Maybe that will do. Maybe Somebody has a preference. Maybe I should ask Somebody.

Anyway, I digress. So, I decided to blogstalk ByTheTime (I think that works for me) right back. And something she said reminded me of something ML said the other day, and I wanted to share it here.

One day not too long ago, I was venting to ML about the fact that our children can't seem to do *anything* without me being right.there.with.them. Whether it be school work or chores or putting their shoes on, if I step out of the room, chances are, when I return, it won't be done.*

This is kind of an on-going rant (although I've developed some coping mechanisms, like having them do school wherever it is I need to be; except the bathroom), but ML had a very insightful response this particular time. After I finished wailing, "Why can't they do anything without me keeping an eye on them and being right there with them?" (and I know that there are people who's children work independently at least at the age of my oldest; on chores, if not on schoolwork; I know, because I read about them on Sonlight!) ML replied, "Because they're our children?"

Oh. Hm. Yeah. Guess that kind of makes sense.

You see, neither ML nor I are super self-motivated people. We're actually kind of lazy. We really don't get a lot done without accountability and sometimes some hand-holding. Of course, there are exceptions (and those are the things we blog about usually :-P), but we are, to use a more gentle term, rather laid back.

So, I guess it stands to reason that we're going to have children with the same tendencies. Children who can put a lot of focus into building a Lego world or an imaginary zoo (or knitting or writing) but struggle with getting done when it comes to math or science (or housework or finances). I guess I should be glad that they, like their parents don't naturally stress a whole lot. That they, like their parents, naturally assume that they're going to be able to get "it" done in time, even though, if they looked at things realistically, that might not be the most accurate assessment (hello! Curriculum project, senior year; every paper/project either of us ever worked on, for that matter).

Does this help the situation? Surprisingly, it does. I no longer (well, I try not to) look at my children and expect them to behave like other people's children. I look at them and accept the fact that they are my children (and his) and understand that it is my job to teach them the skills they need to make these tendencies work in this life. The motivational skills, the time management skills, the break-taking skills, even, that are going to enable them to meet deadlines the rest of their lives. Even when they don't feel like it.

It's actually made me desperate to get those skills into them, because I don't want them to have to continually experience the stress I experienced (okay, so it's only mostly in the past, but it mainly is) until I learned them (or at least began to learn them).

It really did help.

*Now, we're seeing some progress in this area, especially with MS, but I guess this was more like a couple of weeks ago, because I was not seeing any progress at the time.


Grateful for Grace said...

I just popped in to say this:
I am so happy you are pregnant!!

But the bonus was this post. Good words.

I'm such a pessimist though, that I see all the negative things my kiddos do (well, actually just HB) and feel I've ruined her because she is, indeed, my child.

How's that for uplifting??

mideastmom said...

Thanks! I'm struggling with feeling nauseous all the time. It's a pain. But I'm happy, too.

And I prefer to think of myself as uniquely equipped to help them learn how to overcome their less-than-desirable traits. And highly motivated to do so, because I know the alternative. How's that for turning it around? :-P

Anonymous said...

I was amused to see you responding to one of my posts:)
I was glad you indicated which one you were responding to by the link (I dont know how to do that btw, can you tell me?) At first I thought you were referring to my lazy post -which I suppose applies too.If our kids see us being lazy, they just might pick that up:)- but that you were referring to me discussing my struggle to demonstrate good responses to my kids was cool.
I agree with you that our own shortcomings are a definite motivator to teach our kids how to respond differently than we naturally do. It's hard work but worth every pain staking minute:)

Grateful for Grace said...

I am motivated to help her NOT be like me, but I'm unequipped. Truly. I haven't overcome a few major things and I, honestly, don't know how.

Maybe I'll email you and see if you have tips.

I hope you feel better soon.
I *have* mentioned the half a Unisom at bedtime, right?? It kept me from puking the entire first 18 weeks of the last 2 pregnancies. Miracle pill. Or half pill, as it may be. A df is preggo with her 3rd and has serious sickeness issues (that disorder) and the pill has made life worth doing for her. I know you're not big into medicine and neither am I, but it worked and I wasn't sick.

mideastmom said...

ByTheTime, and we get worked on in the process! Not always so fun, but worth it in the end, both for us and them.

mideastmom said...

GfG, I'd be happy to dialog with you. I know it helps me to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Sometimes what I need to do is in my head already. I just need to talk it through.

And, no, I hadn't heard you mention the Unisom. Well, maybe in a morning sickness thread. I have a vague memory of that now. I'll keep it in mind. Today has been better, though. Of course, then my mind goes to worrying, because I'm *not* feeling sick. :-/