Ben didn’t want to take a shower this morning. He NEVER wants to take a shower, or a bath for that matter. He’s your typical boy, who thinks being clean is super lame.
After a lot of, “I’m not taking a shower!” “You ARE taking a shower!” He finally got in the shower. I still help him with his hair, and it’s the first thing we get out of the way.
Twenty seconds later, he pops out, proclaiming, “I’M DONE!”
Now, you and I both know he is NOT done. His orange poof was still smooshed to the back side of the tub, where it had been when he first stumbled in. When I told him this, he said (through tears), “I used my hands.” I told him to get back in and use his poof, and how could he think he could pull one over on me like that.
Fifteen minutes later, he’s still in the bathroom. Now, I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in our household, time’s a tickin’. We have to get out the door by a certain time, to make sure he makes it to school without being tardy. After I’ve yelled a few times that he’d better get to the table fast, or no breakfast, he finally makes his grand entrance, a surly scowl on his face.
“MOM, YOU’RE MEAN.”
This might hurt someone else’s feelings, but not mine.
I am mean. I’m a mean, mean mommy. I will be the first to admit it. There are just a few things I will not tolerate, or budge on. I believe in choosing your battles and compromising, but there’s a limit. I’m not here to be my son’s best buddy or pal. I’m his mother, and this means I have the huge responsibility of preparing him for this big world. I want him to be ready for it, when that time comes. I also want him to know how to take care of himself, and function, and live, and survive, and surpass, and grow. In order for these things to happen, I need to plant the seeds now, and let them take root. Years from now, when he’s grown, there will come a day where I’ll be less his mother, and more his friend. I look forward to those days, but until that time….
A few of the seeds I have sprinkled onto my son:
CLEANLINESS IS IMPORTANT: If he had his way, he’d take a shower or bath once a month. Maybe even once a year. That’s not cutting it. As it is, he has one every other day, and if he needs it, more than that. He gets dirty. He runs around a lot, and plays in mud, scraping his knees up, and getting crap in his hair. When he whines or complains, I turn a deaf ear. You don’t want to be clean? Too bad.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: There’s no passing the buck. If you did it, you own it. Don’t point fingers, or try to play the blame game. You have homework? Let’s get it done before you go off to play with friends.
FAMILIES HELP EACH OTHER: Ben has chores. He helps set the table at dinner. He will get the mail for me, when we get home from school. He’s recently approached me about getting paid to do chores around the house, and he’s been helping with dinner dishes to get a little money for his hard work. These small tasks will lead into bigger ones, as he gets older. I want Ben to be self sufficient when he moves out on his own. He can keep himself clean, keep his space clean (well, as clean as he can, I know how guys are). I’d like him to know how to do some basic cooking skills, and wash his own laundry.
Along with those seeds, I am trying to teach Ben compassion. How to forgive. Appreciation. Respect. That’s it OK to show your emotions, and to be who you are.
I hope that I help him to grow into someone that HE will be proud of. It’s all us mean moms can ask for, after all.