When it comes to scheduling and maintaining the family agenda, I’m treading water. My kids are still young enough and there are enough of them hanging around to keep each other entertained. Thus, their built-in social life. Whether they're interacting by way of fighting, bickering or playing, this dynamic spares me that subtle peer pressure to enroll them in all sorts of activities---at least for now.
And it’s a good thing because I can hardly manage my own agenda in the course of any given day. With a proclivity toward spontaneity, if I haven’t an appointment, that day’s early-morning inspiration guides me. It sounds like typical post-boomer-lack-of-discipline-turned-new-age-psychobabble, I know. But sometimes I feel inadequate alongside my maternal colleagues who seemlessly balance motherhood, career, and marriage with a mere caress of their Smart phone.
I summon my three eldest kids to my side. I'm coming clean, I thought.
“I am sorry," and I heave a sigh of relief, “but Mommy is officially tired of trying to remember the all the things you tell me that you need or want or must do everyday.”
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“I've always been undisciplined with my time. If you want me to help you accomplish what is important to you, help me. Make me a list of your top five priorities between now and the start of school."
I took the rising population of monkeys off my own back and threw them back onto theirs. And felt lighter instantly.
“If you don’t write it down on a piece of paper and clearly, I won't be blamed for it not happening."
In short: Mom is a mess and will never be that minivan-pooling Betty Crocker mom. Heck, I can’t even sew a button. (Okay, maybe I can, but not under pressure. I’ll take it up as a “hobby” once retired and is no longer a chore.)
But I do soar at this: doling out the life lessons. I’ve been through a lot in my 40 years; too much indeed, and am mindful of the direction and guidance missing in the lives of today’s “Free-est Generation” as Dr. Ron Taffel labels today’s youth. I was raised with a lot of the same freedoms as my own kids minus the excesses of high-tech stuff. Clearly, kids unwittingly crave authentic engagement and discipline.
Fortunately, my academic background left me well-prepared for the daily debates that occur between these five overly-stimulated little brains and my older, overloaded one. I’m equally schooled in street-smarts having learned many lessons the hard way.
Translation: I can teach them life skills through word and deed, but cannot teach them how to master the day-to-day implementation. Because juggling the logistics of our family’s daily existence, and keeping track of everyone's stuff is my Achilles Heel. No system, as sophisticated or archaic as it may be, sticks.
However, tonight I alleviated some of that pressure by admitting this to my kids. I shared my insecurities of not measuring up to today’s “managerial moms.” I made them reflect on mom’s humanness and encouraged them to take ownership of their own tasks and resulting sense of achievement.
I don't know if I did the right thing.
Either I’m a brilliant negotiator who just made my life a tad easier or a lazy woman who’s tired of trying to change into something I’m not.
What do you think?
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