Lunch is on Me

I was talking to an acquaintance the other day about getting my kids ready for school in the morning. Now mind you, this woman has two daughters in high school, a freshman and a junior. As I’m recounting my tale of my particularly harrowing morning, she turns to me and says,”Oh I know. It’s so hard getting everything ready for them in the morning.”
Knowing her children’s ages, I was perplexed. “What do you mean?” I inquired, my curiosity peaked.
“Oh you know…making them breakfast, getting their lunch together, doing their hair,” she replies, roling her eyes. “They’re such pains in the morning.”
Now my mouth is hanging open. WHAT???? You mean to tell me that a 15 year old and 17 year old can’t get themselves ready in the morning???? They can’t pour a bowl of cereal, slap PB & J on bread and comb their hair? Does she need to get in the shower with them and wash them, too? Does she brush their teeth for them, making sure she times the process? I was that mom who let her kids shower by themselves when I trusted they wouldn’t break their necks in the tub and prayed they got all the shampoo out of their hair.
If teenaged children need a parent’s help with basic feeding and hygiene needs, then I REALLY must be a bad mommy. This morning my daughter asked me to get her a bowl for her cereal and my reply was “Are your arms broken?” In the interest of saving time and avoiding cleaning up spills, I WILL help her pour milk and juice. But she is on her own with getting her bowl and spoon and stuff like that. She can even toast a waffle. After all, her arms are NOT broken.
And unless it’s his birthday or something, my 11 year old is MORE than capable of pouring his own cereal, putting an English muffin in the toaster or even scrambling eggs. I won’t let the little one use knives, the stove or plug anything in yet, but you bet your a$$ that when she’s a FRESHMAN in high school, I certainly will not be making her breakfast. In fact, I expect HER to make ME breakfast.
You were warned…I AM mean.
Last year when I announced to my then 5th grader that I was no longer making his lunch for him, he responded with the usual retort, “But everybody else’s mother makes their lunch.” And I countered with the equally obvious answer, “I’m not everybody else’s mother.”
I HIGHLY doubt that every other 10 or 11 year old on the planet has a mother who makes their lunches. If they do, that is pathetic. (Also pathetic are the grown men who have lunch made for them by their mothers. But I don’t know ANYBODY like that…*cough, cough*.) Children need to learn how to take care of themsleves and fend for themselves. Otherwise, we’re going to be stuck with a bunch of incapable nincompoops that polish their participation trophies, running the country in a few years. Like the girl in high school whose mother makes her lunch and breakfast. She’s a junior, so in two years, how’s she going to take care of herself when she’s in college? Call mommy and ask her for a care package? Or maybe, mommy will move in with her! Oh but then the younger one will have to learn to take care of herself. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.
I brought up this perplexing dilemma to the mother, who stared at me indignantly when I suggested maybe the children could prepare their own meals. “That’s my JOB as their mother,” she huffed, boring holes into my face that clearly indicated that she felt I was remiss in MY child rearing duties.
Not only am I not going to hoover and suffocate my kids for their own good, I’m not hooving for MY own good. Hello, if it comes down between making my kids breakfast and showering, I’m opting for the shower. If it comes down to braiding my daughter’s hair or going to the gym…you better bet I’m going to the gym. Because the bottom line is, they don’t need me for everything. Afterall, eventually, I won’t even be there anymore. There’s a point in time where you have to step back and say, “This is on you.” Even if you don’t think they’re 100% ready. They will be 100% ready after practice. I mean, it makes me wonder…at what point did these “Hover Moms” stop wiping their kids’ butts???

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