Just a simple thought for today. Have you ever thought about the fact that your children want to feel more than loved…they want to feel needed? Your kids want to feel like contributors to your home. They want to feel that if they were missing, it would matter. I don’t know about you, but in all honesty, I feel that way too. I’ve had many moments where I’ve wanted to call in sick to this job called Motherhood and wondered if it would matter at all.
Let me frame it for you in this way because, with this concept in mind, this is a conversation that often occurs in my house–usually at job time (some people call this chore time). Of course you know that this whole conversation happens with one end that is whining, right?
Whining child – “Mommy, I don’t want to do my jobs. I don’t want to take out the trash or clean out the cat poop box.”
Me – “Yes, I know you don’t. Sometimes I don’t want to do my jobs either. Do you think I want to provide meals 3 times a day and do laundry all the time? Do I want to bathe you and clean the bathrooms on a regular basis?”
Whining child – “No.”
Me – “Sometimes I’m tired and don’t feel like doing my jobs either, but what would happen if I didn’t?”
Whining child – “Umm…well, we’d starve, have dirty clothes, we’d be stinky, and the bathrooms would be gross.”
Me – “Yes, you’re right. So I’ve got an important job to do, right? It would be crazy without me, right?”
Whining child – “Yes, but I still don’t want to do my jobs.”
Me – “I know, but let’s see what would happen if you didn’t do your jobs. What would happen if you did not clean the cat poop box and take out the garbage?”
Whining child – “The cat poop box would stink up the house, it would get too full and the cat would start pooping everywhere. And I guess the garbage would also stink while it piled higher and higher.”
Me – “Eventually it would get so high we’d have to make paths through our house to get anywhere, right? Sure seems like a messy, stinky house to me. Without you we’d be stinky and I think we might just get lost in our maze of garbage. It sounds like you’ve got important things to do around here.”
Whining child – “Yeah, you’re right Mom. We’ve all got an important part to play in our family.”
Now most of the time this is how our conversation goes, but sometimes my kids are so familiar with this talk that it doesn’t go this perfectly. I still get the whining and “thanks for the reminder, but I still don’t care and want to do my jobs” attitude. The conversation may take a turn that I don’t like, but I still take the time to remind my children that they are imperative to our family. I want them to grow up knowing that without them we’d be lost. I want them to know what family is about–it’s a team effort. We all play an important part and we are all on this adventure together.
So I ask you to consider today, what are you doing to create a “team” atmosphere in your home? What opportunities are you providing for your children to contribute to the “team”? Are you doing all the work and wondering why they are lazy and disconnected? Or are you finding age appropriate things for your kids to help with that, not only contribute to the family, but lighten your load?