Sometimes I question my parenting skills.
Okay, a lot of the time I question my parenting skills.
My kids will say or do something and I think, “Holy shit. I think I really messed this one up!”
My only hope is that since the kids are still so young, with the oldest being under six, that when there is a clear parental fail, I can still remedy the situation and the damage rendered won’t be permanent.
Much of my parenting style comes from hoping that my kids will learn by example. Now, perhaps I don’t want them to follow my lead in every situation, but certainly I try to teach my kids a number of important lessons by setting a good example myself. For instance, when we donate food, clothing, old toys and money to various organizations we try to involve the kids so they understand what we are giving, who we are giving to, and why it’s important to help.
We’re also in the process of becoming a greenerfamily, but I’m no Mother Earth by any stretch of the imagination. Just like everything else, however, I’m trying to lead by example. So even if the kids seem too young to fully understand, I try to explain why we should conserve water and electricity and why we need to recycle.
Recently I was able to gauge how well the lessons I strive to teach were sinking in. At the time Jake was more interested in going to the store to pick out some candy as I had promised, then trying to make it home from preschool before the recycle truck got to our house.
Me: Listen, Jake. I forgot to put the can out, which by the way is full, and I have a ton of boxes to put out too. We need to get this stuff out since they only pick up the recycling once every two weeks. It’s really piling up. You can come with me to the store later this afternoon.
Jake: I hate ‘cycling …I think we should throw our trash wherever we want. *huge sulking scowl*
Me: Well, Jake if we threw our trash where ever we wanted and never tried to reuse our old stuff, there would be trash everywhere and the Earth would get really sick. And you know what? We’d all get really sick too.
Jake: (Pauses for a moment) Well, if our Erff (Earth) got really sick, I would get our stuff and blast off in a rocket to a new house in space! And I could have robots too!
Me: No more “Wall-E” for you.
I went on to have a very unsuccessful conversation with Jake about how this “Erff” was the only planet capable of sustaining human life in this solar system which didn’t hit home with my three and a half year old. Although slightly entertaining, as are most conversations with Jake, I was a bit bothered by his responses too. I’m not as earth friendly as I should be, but I’m also not throwing my trash around and I hate when I see people litter.
So perhaps then, over the last two weeks, I’ve been pushing the message of going green and earth conservation a bit harder on my kids, working it in a bit more than normal. I probably sounded like a hippie, but I was relived that Jake didn’t have any more off the wall ideas about how we should handle our trash. Apparently, Joey was not only listening but really took the message to heart.
Joey has no shame. I had read the kids their stories tonight and tucked them all in bed. Hearing movement, I got up just in time to find Joey in the bathroom, door wide open, wiping his rear.
Me: Are you okay, Joey?
Joey: Sure, Mom. Just had to use the bathroom. I had to go for a while but I was busy playing Super Mario Brothers.
Me: Great, hurry up and get back in bed. Make sure you flush and wash your hands.
Joey: Yeah, yeah.
Just as I turn to go back to my room, I catch a glimpse of Joey folding the toilet paper he just used to wipe his ass and then he wiped it again. He then quickly folds it a third time and wipes yet again. It appeared to be less than two squares to start with…
Me: Joey! What are you doing??
Joey: (Heavy sigh) I’m still wiping, Mom! Some privacy please! (From the kid who goes with the door open)
Me: Well, use another piece of toilet paper! That one is too small and you’re going to get poop on your hands!
Joey: Mom! I don’t want to waste the toilet paper. I’m conserving. *Sigh*
Me: (said to myself as I retreated back to bed) Holy shit, I just can’t win.