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?