Tuesday, September 29, 2009

thus spake granny annie

browsing the internet, i found a link to a site called "motivation for moms." it's one of those sites that offers daily tips and quips for busy mothers. today's was, and i kid you not: show your kids how much you appreciate them. do something nice for them... take them out for a little treat.

no wonder so many young mothers are bewildered, not to mention exhausted.

the first priority in my house is making sure my children appreciate ME. after all, when the item at the top of the list of "things i do for love of you" reads GAVE YOU LIFE, i think the balance for who is supposed to appreciate whom is squarely on my side of the playing field. most women i know are lousy at taking care of themselves and even lousier at expecting their kids to help them take care of anything, let alone mommy. from the blogs i read, it's pretty clear to me that the idea of telling a kid - leave mommy alone, or help mommy do this or im taking away your tv for the week - hasn't ever occured to them. i've spent nearly a hundred years collectively mothering, and one of the reasons i've been so good at it is because i have taught my children that i have needs too. that's when i show them i appreciate them -not for simply showing up in my life - when they are cooperative, kind and show that they're aware the world does not revolve around them.

so do i disagree in practice for showing my kids i "appreciate" them? no, of course not. my children are products of their age and socioeconomic status, and that means they get given lots. but the standards i hold them to are high, and the expectations i place upon them in terms of time and energy contributed to the collective family coffers is considerable. there's a quid pro quo involved that includes my needs. the degree to which im willing to show them appreciation is on some level the degree to which they've shown me they appreciate me by being cooperative, kind and generally agreeable.

would i be taking my kids out for a treat today? sure, after the chores and homework are done, and mommy's had her nap.


Dina said...

annie, i love this! and feel exactly the same way. my 4 year old is growing more and more selfish..but i try really hard not to give in and make him help. and he definitely knows when i need alone time. i don't need to go take him for a treat just for doing what he is supposed to, those should be saved for above and beyond good behavior. not to mention he already gets swim lessons, dance classes, and all sorts of other activities. we as a society are spoiling the hell out of our kids.

Martha said...

I am so with you on this and what kind of adults do you expect to result with this overindulgent, self centeredness?
My boys are respectful and kind, and if they aren't, there are immediate and meaningful consequences.
Great post, Thanks G.A. and after you are done w/your fiction and your Angel Eating book, then you can write a parenting book!

Allison said...

Speak on sister...and amen!

PJ said...

Hey Annie! I've never had children, but I agree. I miss the days when kids respected their "elders". Now days, it's like the kids run the family. I've seen families where the kids would throw tantrums and the parents would give in out of not wanting to hear them anymore, or even some where the parents are "afraid" of the kids because they have it drilled into them at school, call 911 if someone hits, spanks, look cross-eyed (ok I'm going a little overboard) but I have seen it happen. A friend I knew a long time ago told his 9 year old daughter he would bust her bottom if she didn't clean her room. (This after coaxing for an hour). She called 911 and told them he threatened to beat her and they started an investigation! It's really gotten out of hand. Parents need to take back control instead of the government, or at least the government needs to change it's guidelines. Oops! I'm on my soap box. I think I just figured out what to talk about on my blog tonight. Thanks for the inspiration.

Oh! Welcome to my blog! Hope you will come back and see me!


Bonnie said...

Great blog. And I agree 100% with you. But I must confess that I am one of those moms that didn't really didn't take things away from my kids or make them do things. But I know my kids DO appreciate me and all I've done for them and slowly they are returning the favor.