Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Pulling his weight, or should that be wait?

Which reminds me, I really must get round to weighing my mini-colossus at some point.  Need to know how much I'd get for him as a trade-in.

Anyway, don't panic, I'm only serious.

The life of the single parent is not one I really appreciated prior to becoming one.

Being a baffoon, I have no idea what anything is like before I walk in those shoes myself.

Folks often use the cliches like: 'only a parent would understand' and 'you don't know what tired is until you have children'.

Sadly (and as well as using them for blog post titles) cliches like this are actually applicable in my case.

Having the responsibility of doing everything yourself for your little family can be a little draining, a constant battle of time management and resource stretching.

So, now I'm asking my son to help.

No, I'm not really weighing him in or sending him out to work, but I am asking him to put his weight behind the vacuum.

One of my failings, due to an inability to wait for something to be done that I could do quicker myself.  I've ended up, perhaps, doing too much for my son.

Like assisting him with his uniform in the morning, not having the patience or will to make him always put his own shoes on, cleaning up HIS mess, that sort of thing.

I've got better over time, but certainly feel like I've not been brilliant at that part of parenting.

And now I'm addressing it more seriously.

With my goal of working more in 2012, it's meant less time for everything else.

Real life for most people, I know, nothing remarkable.

But I'm treating it as an opportunity to teach my son about graft, and while it's always best to avoid it, that it is totally necessary most times, and that it will always be needed at some point.

I've not got a rota on the fridge (but the idea of putting that sort of thing into a spreadsheet makes it more likely) or a list of rules, but it is positive habits that I am trying to form.

Dealing with his own mess, putting his toys away and an explanation of what happens if he doesn't.

And I don't mean that he will be punished for failing, but getting him to understand if I am left to do everything, I either have less time to play with him, or less time to work and put new Skylanders on his Wii portal (which will be replacing the food on the table cliche during 2012).

Like always it's about balance, and things should be subtle, not too serious but firm rather than forgettable.

I've even told him he must remind me of my failings, like if I leave an empty glass somewhere, or an empty packet of sweets not finding their way to the bin.

I look forward to the day that I am getting a stern word for my domestic misdemeanors from a faultless child.

Not least because  it will be a great opportunity to wheel out: "It's one rule for me and another for you, son."