Friday, November 02, 2007

The Hunch Prooves Right

Just when you get mature enough to convince yourself that people don't really think the things you think they think about you, you find out that someone does.

They mean well, I know. They only want the best for my kids. But, you see, so do I.

Here's the thing. I fall into the old school philosophy of parenting. Let them fail. I know it is a hard concept for us GenXers and beyond, but kids need to fail. If you never fail as a kid when the failures, though hard, aren't life threatening, how can we expect them to handle it when they fail at something in college or in the workplace? "Mom, can you come talk to my prof for me? I failed an exam and it is totally unfair!" "did you study?" "Well, no, there was this party, but the test was a lot harder than I expected!"


So, call me a freak, I let my daughter go to school in dress shoes all week because she misplaced her tennis shoes. I've made shoes easy in my home. Just inside the door we have a shoe rack. If, when they take off their shoes they put them in the shoe rack, they would know where they are. When they don't find their shoes there, they act all innocent like someone moved them. It is ridiculous. It is also a battle I'm tired of fighting so if they can't find their shoes, they have to go out in whatever shoes they can find. Dress shoes, sandals in the winter (with socks), whatever.

So yesterday, one of Princess's teachers pulled me aside and encouraged me to get Princess some real shoes so that she doesn't slip around at recess. I told her that she had some. She looked at me confused. I said that she'd misplaced them and we were learning a lesson. Teacher looked peeved, said, "Well..." but let it go.

This is the second time she's jumped on the "Jamie, you aren't parenting Princess correctly" bandwagon. She thinks that Princess is being neglected. I know that Princess thinks she is being neglected, but what child doesn't? She gets just as many hugs, just as many kudos, she is just as welcome in our bed for snuggles come sunrise, she has just as many clothes (actually many, many more), she is fed just as well, and complimented just as much. She just wants more. (I need to read the five love languages for kids book because her love tank seems like a bottomless pit.)

I know that I'm not giving my kids all that they need right now. I don't have all I need right now so I have not enough to give. But I'm trying and the comments from someone who thinks she knows us and our situation, but really only sees my kids four hours a week and never sees us as a family needs to step off.

Princess has TWO pair of tennis shoes. If she has misplaced both of them, this is my fault how? Am I really supposed to go out and buy her a third pair? You have got to be kidding me. And do I really seem like the type of person who has hours in my day to comb the house to find a pair of shoes? If they aren't where they are supposed to be it is not my problem. (BTW, yesterday I found both pair. One was in the toy box, one was single shoe by the door, second shoe at the bottom of the stairs.)

But apparently it is. What gets me about this is that this is a person from a generation I would expect to applaud that type of parenting.

I try to keep their failures little and manageable. If they refuse to study for their spelling tests, I let them get their b's. If they refuse to wear a jacket I send them out cold (though I have stashed a jacket in their lockers so that when they decide they are cold, they can put one on). If they lollygag in the mornings they get to school late. These are things they need to learn to be responsible for.

Unfortunately no one parents like this anymore. Or so I'm led to believe.

And in case anyone is interested, this book is where I got a lot of my philosophy. Or it confirmed a lot of my philosophy. Not all of it, because it is totally secular, but it is still excellent.


the lizness said...

Sheesh ... you sound like my mother.

And I turned out just fine, and have so many of the same thoughts concerning step-parenting ~K~ and parenting our children to come. It's been an uphill climb sometimes with Chris because he is all about making life easy for ~K~ but he is seeing that my way works even with small things.

So you sound like my mother? MY MOM IS THE BEST!

Megan said...

I'm with you. We got a note about not sending the kids to school in anything but tennis shoes. K5 lost her tennis shoes and she went in sandals with socks. Because I have the same rule - you don't put your shoes where they go, you have to wear something else (anything else) that fits you.

I slinked into her class and felt the need to apologize to the teacher. As though *I* lost her shoes...

And I only have to make them do this twice a week. I still feel it.

mamashine said...

Good for you. Stick to your guns.

MotherT said...

Jamie, you are doing the right thing!!! I promise you that as hard as it is to be a tough mom now, while the kids are young, if you can convince your kids that you mean business, it is MUCH easier when they hit the teens. Don't worry about what outsiders say so much, they are not responsible for your children, and they don't answer to God for your children, you do!!

Both Liz (and thanks, Liz, for the compliment!) and her sister, Jessica, thought I was the meanest mom in the world while they were growing up. Now that they are adults, they are amazed at how much simpler it was to know the rules, and know that they didn't flucuate much. They are both using the same type of parenting as much as they can.

What you do now with your children will ultimately affect your grandchildren. So, stick to your guns!!! ((HUGS))