I am an enabler. I have never thought of myself as an enabler. I never set out in life to be an enabler. But, I have realized this past week that I. AM. AN. ENABLER! Now, I have never been one of those moms that just goes on and on and on about how awesome it is to be up every 3 hours with that precious little newborn. I never really enjoyed rearranging my life around nap schedules, feeding times, bed times, etc. The big milestones for me have revolved around things that have helped my kids to become more independent--finally getting them potty trained, the age where they could get up and get dressed on their own, being able to just tell them to go take a shower, brush their teeth, make their beds, bring their laundry down, and, most recently, riding the bus home from school.
Our family is now in week 3 of our "new way of life"--the life that is teaching the value of hard work. All the details of how we ended up here can be found in a previous post, so I won't bore you with a recap. The first few weeks have been fantastic! I have had lots of energetic help around the house: cleaning, doing laundry, washing the dishes, etc. I had a blast last week showing my daughter the basic ins and outs of preparing a full Thanksgiving dinner, and my kids have been excitedly spending all their newly-earned cash (albeit only in their heads, since the month is not yet up and their earnings are still precariously trapped inside beautifully decorated quart-sized Mason jars). Things could not be better. Beds are made, clothes are picked up, there are no shoes in my kitchen, and I can actually walk into my laundry room without tripping over backpacks. . . not to mention the fact that there aren't concreted toothpaste tracks in the sink anymore.
That being said, I have begun to prepare for "month two". Month two revolves around everyone pitching in with kitchen duties. Primarily, meal preparation. Now, to some of you, that may sound like a full-on musical symphony of awesomeness. To me, it strikes terror into my heart! I am a bit of a kitchen Nazi--okay, maybe I understated that slightly. Let me re-phrase. I am a HUGE kitchen Nazi! I love my kitchen. I love cooking in my kitchen. I love creating amazing new things in my kitchen. However, what I love most is the look on my son's face when he walks in the door to discover that I have made enchiladas for supper. I relish in the joyful singing and dancing from my daughter when I make homemade mac n cheese. I love having a fresh batch of cookies waiting for them when they get home from school every Monday (today's treat? A newly created mochaccino chip). I love that my job and my schedule allows me to be home several afternoons a week so that I can make all of these special things for my most cherished loved ones. So, I am finding "month two" to be more difficult than I had imagined.
My husband and I sat the kids down about a week ago for a family meeting--during dinner, of course. We laid out the plan for December, which included each member of our family being completely responsible for creating a full dinner every week--from meal planning, to shopping, preparing, serving and even cleaning up (I'm pretty sure Dave is not overly impressed with all of these new ideas, but he's a team player and a real sport, so he has even told the kids that he will be taking a night also). My kids were ecstatic! They immediately began listing off all the amazing meals they were going to create--enchiladas, tacos, burritos, lasagna, mac n cheese, oven fried drumsticks, spaghetti, and the lists went on and on. I had no idea they would be so excited. I was fully prepared for the moans and groans and wails of despair. I was taken completely by surprise that they would actually think this was a GOOD idea! So, now the idea is out there. I can't retract it. My kids are giddy over the possibilities, and I AM TERRIFIED!
I have realized this week that my kids are growing up. While I very much like the freedom that comes with not having to wipe little butts anymore, not to mention how relaxing it is to not have to give 2 baths every night (especially when I'm tired), I really do like the part of being a mom that allows me to cook for my family. There is a part of me that is really sad about this next teaching moment. Sure, I want my kids to grow up to be well-rounded adults--that includes knowing how to cook a meal at home. However, I have to admit, my control-freak tendencies are starting to raise their ugly heads. I'm not sure I want to relinquish this part of motherhood yet. I actually enjoy this part of my job. In fact, I don't even consider it a job. . . I consider it an act of love.
So, starting in December, I am going to get up, put my big girl pants on, and forge forward into this next stage of training for my kids. I will be (begrudgingly) walking through my own 12-step program to eliminate the enabling, but I have resolved to push forward. I look forward to the day when I will be able to cook alongside my kids in the future. . . perhaps even becoming a sous chef to their role as executive chef. Here's hoping there is not too much bloodshed. . . mac n cheese. . . or pizza. . . .