Who’s the parent here?


Who's the Parent?

Every now and then, instead of hearing my Mom’s words come out of my mouth, I hear my Dad’s. Lately it’s been one phrase in particular, “Who’s the kid and who’s the parent, here?” That was always my cue, as a kid, to shut the heck up and remember my place.

For whatever reason, something in the air maybe, my kids have been feeling their oats and forgetting that they are the ones who are NOT in charge. While I do drive what feels like a taxi service and work as a food distributor or short order cook, I am in fact a parent, not a servant.  I’ve had to reestablish that the way things get done around here are based on some expectations of us all working together as a family (aka team). Fail to uphold the expectations of the team, to fulfill requirements, and like any team, even star players will be benched. Let’s just say I am not always popular around here. That’s okay. I got over popularity contests when I stopped being in High School.

I’ve found that things don’t run smooth when we cease to respect each other, but more important, when the kids forget to respect their place. I am often shocked at how many parents allow their kids to call the shots, to be the one who runs the show, and for whatever backward reason, they actually care if their kid likes them or not. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love when my kids like me. Heck I get crazy happy when I get to be the hero! But being their friend and being liked? That isn’t going to teach them the things they need to know before they are tossed into the world to have a go at it themselves.

We have three kids and as I see it, three mini-adults-in-training who need to know how things go once they leave the nest. I, frankly, know how to cook, clean, and do chores. My charges here also NEED to know these things. If I was “popular” and did all these things for them, I would honestly be failing them as a parent. How can anyone learn if they are never instructed, get the chance to practice, and to have someone along to mentor them? So the way I see it, it’s good parenting to make my kids sigh loudly, probably hate me a bit under their breath, and get a chance to do chores, learn to cook, and to develop skills in and outside the house. As a bonus, our home runs smoother, stays cleaner, and I catch a small break where I don’t do EVERYTHING by myself.

Think I’m terrible? The kids are handed nearly everything, from toys and gadgets to food, clothes, and a warm roof over their head. Requiring them to contribute to the team for a half hour a day in chores/mentoring-for-adulthood and abiding by house rules for having homework done before partaking of anything that plugs in or uses a battery is NOT torture. It’s just good sense.

Who’s the kid and who’s the parent in your house? I hope it’s YOU!

 

This post first was published by MOMs for the July/August print issue in Fort Wayne, IN. Their website is http://moms.fortwayne.com and my blog with them is located at: http://moms.fortwayne.com/?q=blogs/blog/will-settle-chocolate

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Little Brother/Big Brother


I’m one of those lucky people who have a sibling that they, not only can stand, but actually love.  I am stupidly proud of my kid brother. And when I say kid brother, I turn the big 4 0 this month and he’s just two years younger than me.  Yeah, so he’s not much of a kid anymore… even though he retains his youth by NOT growing up and getting all stuffy like; refusing to stop running in the parking lot, spontaneously has out-of-control ice cream runs (not his fault, the CAR WANTED to go there) and always staying up past bedtime when he’s home so we can chat long after the parental unit has retired to their room.

10540869_10204624481358428_7727118533491492554_nI started out life way bigger than this kid. He was a pudgy, cute, fire engine red head who had a personality unmatched by anyone I have ever met since that fateful day 38 years ago, today.  I took it upon myself to mother him when my mother wasn’t around. Lord knows he needed two mothers. No, seriously, he was always into some kinda trouble. He was intensely curious and very spontaneous.

This kid had a brain that worked ten times faster than it was supposed to. He was doing MY math problems in his head before he even went to school.  Needless to say I was a tad miffed at him in first grade.  I was having trouble learning to add and subtract and he was saying the answers to flash cards before I could even read what was on the blasted card.

Let’s politely say I was not always in love with his brain. It really worked overtime and by the time he was in Jr High and High School he was creating his own engineering inventions that seemed annoying to me. He would take things apart just to figure out how they worked.  Once he understood, he didn’t always feel the same excitement for putting them back together.  Oh he COULD, but it wasn’t always as fun to do that. Sometimes he’d “borrow” something of mine to “learn” on and then “forget” to put it back together. Once I had this fan, which mysteriously stopped working one day.  I shook it and it rattled in the base.  He had figured out how it worked on MY fan and left his put together.  We’ve never let him forget these (what seems funny now) moments because now? Well now this kid is a bit of an amazing wizard when it comes to electronic engineering.

10378933_10204624506919067_5747370074226480096_nMy brother lives WAY the heck too far away, in Texas, where he runs a company called Sparx Engineering.  I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like, (as in Sunday dinner every week) but I’m already counting down days till I see him in August before his kids go back to school. While I am not happy about the distance, I can’t complain about what he does there and how he got down there. Having settled in Texas after an internship that turned job with NASA after college, he found his niche and expanded into the company he owns today. They do amazing things. He is quite literally changing the world there. I don’t say that bragging, (okay so maybe a little bit) but truly I am in awe that this little brother of mine grew up taking stuff apart I was furious about, and into an awe inspiring man who has the ability to think through projects that, for me, don’t even register on my brain’s comprehension charts. He staffs a company with amazing brains like his own and together they are honestly doing things that make a massive difference, everyday, to many. One project he is working on right now is for a group mwater.co in Nigeria. They are working on a device being used in a research effort for water that will contribute to efforts to empower communities to obtain clean water to drink. That is something I don’t even have to think about as I open up the tap and get a drink. The women there walk miles and miles a day for water and must carry it all.

They’ve worked on medical devices for the Army and changed how they can monitor wounded in battle, they’ve worked on things for space missions and so yeah, this kid is truly out-of-this-world.

So as I sit way too far away to celebrate properly on my brother’s birthday, and I was NOT a good sister (but treated him equally with my sister-in-law in forgetting to send a card) I thought I should embarrassing him a tad and brag on him a lot. It’s my right, my birth right in fact. I am the big sis. He may have gotten taller, stronger, and MAYBE even better looking, but he will never be able to do my job in being the sister who is soooooo gushingly proud of her kid brother that she goes out and shouts it to the world.

LOVE you BRO!  You’ve turned out to be amazing, and I want everyone to know it!