Two days, two parenting lessons.

Dear-Parents-of-College-Students

Parenting is both the best and the hardest job I’ve ever done. I suppose now, with 25 years of experience under my belt, it’s a little easier than in the early days. But a word to the wise: don’t pin your hopes on that distant day when the kids leave home for college, thinking that your work will be done. I’m here to tell you: the job of parenting is never done.

In the past couple of days I’ve dealt withΒ a couple of parenting issues; minor in the scheme of things, but they still required deliberate application of some of the skills I’ve learned over the past 25 years.

Lesson Number One:

It’s absolutely okay to put yourself above your kids…SOMETIMES.

Yesterday Middle proposed that her car rather than mine should always be the one kept in the garage in the winter (old house, single-car garage) because she has to leave for student teaching at 6:30 am and doesn’t have much time to defrost, scrape ice, etc. I almost bought into this argument. After all, 6:30 is damned early. As a former teacher, I’ve been there. She’s got a lot of stress, and I could give her this little gift.

But then I had second thoughts. So here was my final answer: “Ummm…sorry. I’ve had to deal with crappy car situations for over thirty years, and it’s my turn for a little luxury. My car stays in the garage.”

Note: The Husband is extremely chivalrous about the vehicles – he would never keep his car in the garage if it meant the women of the house having to deal with snow and ice. I’m perfectly happy to accept this status quo.

Lesson Number Two:

You don’t have to be a hero.

I woke up this morning to a text from The Boy, who is in his third year of college and will be 21 in a couple of months. He’s out of checks, needs more to pay for his flight lessons, and wondered if I could order more for him.

In one respect this was an easy one; I don’t have any of his duplicates, so I don’t have his account and routing numbers to read off to the customer service folks at the bank, so no, I can’t order for him.

On the other hand, it was tempting for me to say, “Give me the numbers off your check and I’ll take care of it for you.” I’ve got a lot more free time than he does, I’ve done it before, it would only be a few minutes out of my day. Plus he’s my baby. I love doing things for him.

Reason prevailed, thank goodness. I texted him back instructions for ordering checks, with the suggestion that he go to his bank and request a teller’s check if necessary, to pay for his next flight lesson. I mean, really. I’m glad he’s getting his pilot’s license – it’s been a dream all his life. But, bottom line, it’s a little frivolous. And he’s very bright and capable. He doesn’t need me to save him on this one.

Both of these situations, as small as they were, were tough for me. I want to be the generous hero, giving myself 100% to my kids. But I know that’s not the healthiest way for any of us to live.

Parenting…it’s for life.

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17 thoughts on “Two days, two parenting lessons.

  1. With both of my girls disabled -they both have Down Syndrome- we have a lot of opportunities to show others just how capable they are. A lot of people don’t give them the credit they deserve and it irritates the crap out of me.

    My youngest has other behavioral issues and most people just don’t expect much from her. About a month ago, just after her 14th birthday, we were in a situation where things could have gotten out of control (she is moody and doesn’t always do well in social situations, she is prone to some pretty serious fits), she backed out of the situation herself and said, “Mom, this is too much.” She wrapped her arms around me and we found a quiet place for her to calm down.

    When we came back to the family, they all gave her a high-5 and told me they really thought she would pitch a fit, how proud they are of her progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a whole lot of character-building going on along the east coast this weekend, then, huh! πŸ™‚ But seriously…if my daughter built any more character I don’t think it could be held in one human body. She’s a truly amazing person. But I’m still keeping my car inside.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad this came at a good time for you. I’ve had that same experience when reading other people’s posts – sometimes they come at just the right time. Thinking of you!

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  2. Good for standing your ground about the car! Would be different if her car couldn’t start reliably when left out overnight. But sounds like this is strictly about convenience– and you’ve earned that one. She can park indoors when she pays for the garage. πŸ™‚

    And hopefully your son has now successfully ordered checks and thus realized that ordering checks is one more life skill he can do. I refused to help my son recently with the CORI form he had to fill out (just kept repeating “what do you think you should put” when he had questions). He eventually finished and submitted it, and hasn’t heard back that his employer couldn’t process it, so I guess he did it right! Maybe next time he’ll just tackle it on his own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the decision about the cars would be easier if our daughter weren’t so incredibly kind and generous. She’s really a lot more thoughtful toward others than I am…but I’m still keeping my car in the garage. πŸ™‚

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  3. We got a little “heads up” from our youngest’s girlfriend. The Wee One has been working very long shifts with no days off. She wanted us to be kind First of all, we aren’t mean and deliberately pick on our kids. Anyway, we gave the speech about the dues we paid and he is just going to have to suck it up or find another job. We can’t do that for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You made two wise choices here. It’s nice to help our children out, but how will they learn by us doing so? Responsibility is key in adulthood. Good for you for teaching them this. As for your husband – that is very kind of him. My husband is the same. Gotta love good men!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post. What a great reminder. My kids are still in elementary school, but I have situations come up frequently where 1) I could do it for them — and frankly it’s a bit easier most times OR 2) I can TEACH them to do things for themselves fostering independence that builds confidence, and IMO will help them in the long-run. It’s difficult at times because many of their peers’ parents seem to do EVERYTHING for their kids. I also think what you did in the case of your daughter is brilliant. As moms, we tend to often take the crumbs. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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