Want to get homework organization under control this year? All you need is this simple box!
Every time I attend one of my daughter’s dance performances, I see this mom who looks like she’s in a constant state of panic.
She leans forward in the front row watching every step and studying every move.
When the dancers leave the stage, she corners her daughter. I hear her say,
“That was great, but you need to smile more.”
“Next time, kick your leg up a little higher.”
The criticism is all well-meaning. She’s being nice and I can see that all she wants is for her daughter to improve.
I get that.
Her daughter retorts with an “OK mom, OK” and walks off.
It’s this gigantic indoor wonderland.
Ziplines racing across the ceiling.
Kids climbing rock walls and jumping off 20-foot towers on my left. As a kid, I would feel like my parents took me to Disneyland.
But NOT my son…
“Mommy, it’s too loud”
“Mommy, I don’t want to do anything here.”
“Mommy, Sissy won’t wait for me. She’s running too fast.”
“NO! I don’t like anything! I’m not going to eat!”
We had just arrived at the Guinness storehouse during our Dublin vacation.
You picture vacations as these idealized wonderlands, but, when you have kids, NOTHING goes as planned.
I come downstairs to see a pile of dishes in the sink. I hate dishes.
Unfortunately, I’m in this tough spot where I don’t want to do them and yet I have not yet assigned responsibility of them to anyone else.
Sure, we say its our kids’ job is to unload the dishwasher.
However, it doesn’t happen automatically.
I call to my kids, “Hey, the dishwasher needs unloading”
“OK,” my four-year-old yells, “I’ll do it when I come home from school!”
How does he know how to procrastinate at 4? I know what happens. He promises to do some household chore and then conveniently forgets when he comes home.
“Mom, I can’t do this. I’m scared”
My daughter glares at me from the backseat, ready to cry. I can see it.
Recently, she’s developed a fear of bumpy and windy roads. Every road trip we take, her first question is always, “Will it be bumpy?”
I have no idea how this started or how the fear originated, but man, she can work herself up to the point where she starts feeling stomach aches and refuses to eat.
I’m not picking up my toys for forty-five cents.
Even though it was close to 25 years ago, I remember that chore chart affixed with Disney magnets to our white fridge.
My dad had broken apart every chore in our home, assigned it a monetary value and created this perfectly organized chart.
If I did every chore on it, I would earn $2 a week.
That amount seems small now, but at the time, my 10-year-old self was pretty stoked.
So I scanned the list and decided to start with dishes. I quickly scrubbed the plates, bowls and silverware and placed them in the drying rack. It took me 20 minutes.
Yes! I went back to the list and check it off. Fifty-cents.
Already…I was done with this.
Time for a break.
Fast-forward a week later and that was the only box I completed on the ENTIRE chart.
As soon as we stepped out of the theatre lobby, my nine-year-old daughter burst into tears.
“Oh my goodness, what’s wrong?” I pulled her close.
She nudged me away with a little whimper and used the back of her hand to sop up her face.
Immediately, my brain went into panic mode.
Was someone mean to her at camp?
Did she not have fun?
She climbed into the backseat and the whole story came tumbling out:
I saw the potato chip fly across the table.
We’re at the mall food court and next to us sits a mom and her two boys. At that moment, I feel for her.
“Jonathan,” she placated, “Why did you throw this at me?”
“WELL! Aaron threw at me! It’s not MINE!”
Aaron sat next to her examining the contents of his plate.
“Oh fine… well, it’s not nice.”
I stare at my plate of tacos. What just happened here?
Not my best parenting moment.
My four-year-old son and I were running late. It’s always where my blow-ups happen.
We had left Target and were driving to pick up my daughter from her day camp when I noticed it… that orange light on the dashboard.
I only had 7 miles left in the tank.
OK, I can do this. I can hit the Circle K on the way to camp. As I cross the intersection, I notice the station is packed – I’ve never seen so many cars! Every pump occupied.
Ooohh… except one. I pull a fancy backup maneuver and sidle up to the pump.
“Mommy, I’m hot,” my four-year-old son tells me from the backseat.