Monday, September 10, 2012
Back in the saddle and I'm already frustrated.
So today was day 4 of the new school year for us.
We had a rough morning. The kids are just not all that crazy about getting up super early and staying aboard the "let's get ready for school" boat. Once they are up, they are just struggling to stay on task, remember what to do next, be on time for breakfast, and the list goes on. If it weren't for an unexpected fire drill this morning at school, they would have both gotten tardy slips.
Did I mention that it is only the FOURTH day? I'd usually hang that fail on my own shoulders, but I was actually on time. I told them each thing to do, was giving them extra time warnings ("You have five more minutes to finish breakfast...") using a friendly voice, and keeping my cool.
They, on the other hand, were rolling around on the floor moaning, getting distracted by Legos, and complaining about EVERYTHING.
After school, it didn't change. Even though I was fully getting an A+ myself on providing a little rest time, yummy snack, attentive chit chat, and after school read aloud time (what we call "book club"), no one was then ready to jump back into the homework grind. Everyone complained about bath time. And everyone got consequences for repeated disobedience.
If it weren't for the school supplies part, back to school would be my least favorite, people. I will never understand these two categories of moms: 1) the ones who say, "I just loooooved being pregnant," and 2) the ones who say, "I just can't waaaaaait for fall."
I think I could be UNpregnant and it stay summertime the rest of my life and I'd be pretty happy.
I don't have a lot of profound revelations tonight on our current situation. I've tried everything known to mothers for getting the kids to follow the morning routine. Some of them have worked, some of the time. In general, half the time, the kids are right on and responsible, with time to spare in the morning and happy hearts. The other half the time, they're falling apart...one lost her lunch box, one refuses to brush his hair, and someone ends up crying. Sometimes it's me.
The mystery right now, though, that I can't seem to solve is how to teach my kids to be hard workers, whether it's getting ready or homework or chores. I'm at a loss as to how to teach them to do all things with diligence and a pursuit of excellence.
I'm finding it hard to communicate that I want them to try their hardest and give their responsibilities their best WITHOUT communicating, "Just try harder!" all the time. It's the difference between pushing them for the sake of pushing versus inspiring them to be their best. My sincere heart for one always sounds like the other, I fear.
A morning checklist may help them walk through the steps of a routine, but it doesn't address the deeper matter. It doesn't help me inspire a strong work ethic. When it comes down to it, I can call the problem "disobedience" because I am asking them to do this or that, and they are not exactly fulfilling my commands in my timing. But this disobedience mainly occurs in the less pleasant work-related areas. I get it; work is much less fun than playing. But work is a part of life, and moreso as you grow up. Work and the increase in responsibilities with age is consistently a bitter pill for my kids to swallow, and I'm always talking to them about this issue. How often do I need to give the empathetic "That's life," speech?
I'm frustrated, can you tell? Maybe it's just age and maturity related. Maybe I'm just expecting too much. I know what kinds of responses and efforts I want to see in them, and on occasion I see them, but I don't feel confident in how to grow that character quality of being a hard worker more permanently.
Do you ever deal with these issues, if you're a mom? Do you think there is more to it than our basic human inclination to be lazy? Is it a matter of self-control? Obedience? Gratitude, even, motivating them to take care of their things and their bodies?