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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Things That Annoy Me #6

Hey, I thought I'd bring back an oldie but goodie category!

These days my oldest child is involved in a few organizations and all of them seem very intent on improving her character and establishing good service habits in her. This is all well and good. She, being a fastidious child when it comes to the expectations of people not her mother, is very concerned with meeting all her requirements. Here's the problem: They all want her to either serve her family in a way that isn't helpful to me at all or don't want her to serve her family at all. This means I have a child anxiously worried over her impending failure and a fat load of homework for me.

The first source of angst is her Confirmation class. They have required service hours. I shall restrain my service hours to earn Confirmation rant except to note that the Apostles were not running a soup kitchen before Pentecost. She has hours required in service to church. These are hard to come by for reasons that can basically be summed up by saying it's a small parish and there isn't much going on for the 12yo set. She has hours required in service to community, which essentially means homework for me. What is explicitly prohibited is serving her family. Every service hour has to be signed off by 'not a parent.' 

The second source of angst is her AHG troop. The older girls are working on a badge that require them to help their families in very specific ways, like say, cleaning out the garage. Our garage is not a job a 12yo can do. Heck, I am not old enough to handle cleaning out our garage. Almost every requirement is something that makes our home life harder not easier. I can tell her helping out in a different way is just as good except THAT'S NOT WHAT THE BOOK SAYS! If the book says clean the garage, then cleaning the garage is the only thing to be done. !!

If not daily, then three or four times a week, I am treated to an anxiety-filled interrogation of when she will be able to earn all these hours and perform all these chores as I doggedly try to reassure her while trying not to panic about how to get it all done. 

I understand the main disconnect is the people who design and run these programs expect that by the time you have a 12yo, your household management has ceased being a hot mess and is now functional. And...that's not where I am. While it looks like I am 40, have five kids, and am old hat at all this, I actually have the management skills of a relatively new mother who just forgot everything she knew while pregnant with her second baby and chasing a toddler. So when the preteen comes home with instructions, they expect it to be an easy swap into an established household routine instead of it being a prelude to a crisis of inventing said routine so she can then "help" me with it.

That her most readily available form of service is to hold the baby does not seem to be on anyone's radar.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny, this is really funny and completely true. I would like to ask you to write a post talking about your transition to staying at home. I read many of your posts, starting when you were working in an unfulfilling job and now that you are at home. How have things changed for you? Is life much harder? Do you feel you are more involved with your kids and is it clearly good for all of you? Do you have more time and energy for your husband? Sorry to be so precise, but I am really interested to know your thoughts. Thanks!

Jenny said...

Oh man, that's a tall order. Life is easier and harder. I have more energy and less. It's a little hard to explain. Homemaking is not my strong point so it takes a lot of brain energy to figure it all out. I definitely sleep more and don't feel like I am wasting my time, but I still get frustrated a lot.