Yes, I have a negative attitude. Yes, I reject anything that I am “expected” to do. Yes, I avoid traditional mother/wife activities. I take great pride in being a little different, a little edgier. My kids may not know how to bake (and if it’s based on what they learn from me, they may never even understand the concept) but they are learning how to Ollie a skateboard and they have a healthy appreciation for the music of AC/DC.
That said, there are moments when I realize how my mothering style affects my children in subtle, imperceptible ways, but in ways that might inhibit their ability to exist in harmony with the rest of the world. I realize that they are missing some fundamental knowledge about the world, and everday skills that their peers are privy to.
Case in point: I was helping the Oldest with his homework sheet. The lesson was in reading comprehension. Each problem presented a riddle about an object that is held in your hand and can be helpful. Each problem was paired with a partial picture as a hint. The Oldest easily answered most of the problems: a toothbrush, a hairbrush, a fork, etc. He called for help because he had one problem that he just couldn’t figure out. The riddle was “when your shirt has a rip or a tear/my friend thread and I/can do the repair”. Now, if you know anything about me, it’s that I. Don’t. Sew. I actually blogged about some issues I had with my slacker mentality while making Halloween costumes this year. I have long admired the beauty of the iron-on bonding agent for seams and hems but that is where my clothing repair expertise ends. But, I am aware of the concept of sewing. So, the answer was pretty evident (needle!) and I sat down to try and guide the Oldest to that answer. I posed to him several different ways of thinking about it. This was, essentially, how that conversation went:
Me: Do you know when you get a hole or a rip in your clothes?
The Oldest: Yes
Me: Sometimes it can be fixed, right?
The Oldest: (with a skeptical look on his face) Yes
Me: So, to fix the rip you need something to help close up the hole, right.
The Oldest: Oh, yeah
Me: (head nodding in excitement as I see the wheels of comprehension turning) So, to fix the hole, you get out an….?
The Oldest: An iron!!!
Me: (Stunned silent with the awful, horrible truth of the moment and the realization that I caused this blistering lack of awareness as to how things actually work in the world). Or, (gulp!) you, know how Grandma uses thread and a needle?
Crap! So, there you go. My kids don’t even know that if you wind a needle and thread around and around, you can actually mend clothing. Aren’t I so proud of my nontraditional viewpoints now?
4 Replies to “How My Personal Philospohy and Behavior Have Ruined Any Hope For The Future of My Kids. Reason #43”
Years ago, when my youngest was a baby, I was overcome with the need to create something for him. I made a very basic sock puppet and was very proud of it. He was indifferent. He never played with it.
Recently, he and his little sister retrieved the puppet from a toy box. “Look what daddy made for us!” they announced.
“No,” I countered, “I made it.”
They refused to accept this. Daddy is the one who sews, not mommy.
We do everything backwards in our family, my hubby stays at home and I work in a male-dominated field. I hope to teach my daughter: there are no boundaries just be you and feel free to spread.
I am a single mom and have to play the role of mom and dad so I try to do my best. But there are days that I feel like I am screwing up my daughter more than other parents some days. Case in point: My daughter thinks that I can sew anything and asked me to make a new dress for Barbie. Let me tell you I found out making little Barbie clothes are a lot harder than it looks, and I found out that I do not sew well at all.
I hear you, disgruntled. And we’ve been there, too. My son doesn’t know what a needle and thread do, either, but he also has no idea an iron is. Or an ironing board. Or a hair dryer.
We’re not ludites. We just have higher priorities than appearance. As you can tell from looking at us. But my kid can do some things that other kids his age can’t.
It’ll all even out in the end. I heard about an NPR correspondent who thought, for her whole life, that unicorns were real. Because her parents supported her imagination. Apparently a bit too much? Nah. She found out eventually, in an extinction discussion.
Nice post. Thank you.