My conversion to (family-centered) child slavery

Since I’m traveling and on vacation, I am reminded that when my children are out of their routine and spoiled rotten with endless activities and generous granparents, their behavior goes down the toilet. Since my vacation leaves me short on blogging time, I decided I’d repost an old, relevant post from my family blog from last September. Enjoy!

I see HUGE improvements with Ben when he is put to work vs. when he just is playing and being entertained. Case in point, at the end of a super fun-filled, totally child-centered day last week when I said it was time to go home, I got this conversation:

MOM: It’s time to go, get in the van please.
BEN: Why do we have to go? I never get what I want. Why can’t I get what Iwant just once in my life?
MOM: Today we went to the park, had a play date, ate lunch at Del Taco, watched a movie, and went to the park again. You’re fine. Sophie, get in the van.
SOPHIE: I don’t want to go, why do you always make us have to go? I want to stay!
MOM: We need to eat dinner, get in the van.
SOPHIE: You’re the worst mom EVER. What’s for dinner, anyway?
BEN: Probably something gross, as usual.

I’ll take the fifth on my response to these comments. So, there’s my life. Amused or disgusted? Perhaps you blame lack of discipline. Well, perhaps it is that I alternate days of complete play and freedom with drudging slavery.

An amusing side note, I said to Ben after this, “You know, on these play days, you guys act entitled and bratty, on work days, you are pretty much well behaved, thankful and respectful. I’m thinking play days are not working out for us.” To which Ben replied casually, as he looked out his van window, “Yeah, I guess we should probably have more work days.”

So, my huge epiphany lately has been child slavery. Spencer W. Kimball (and many other wise men and women) say it is the key to character, and we should create work for our children. I think the truth of that is made clear rather quickly, as I see the huge difference in attitude at the end of a work day vs. a play day.

My sister in law, shared a quote from a conference she attended which said it was the lazy parent who did everything for their children. I understand that now, that it takes much more work to expect much, explain how things should be done, follow up, retrain, follow up again. I know when I send Ben in to clean a bathroom with a list of instructions, that it won’t be done properly and he’ll probably come out covered in germs, but I do it, and weirdly, he thinks it’s fun.

And the bathroom is at least better than before. However, he just may play with the plunger on the back of the toilet, and the large, porcelain lid to the back of the toilet just may get suctioned up by said plunger just long enough to be lifted up before losing its suction and falling to the floor very, very loudly in a million billion pieces. And I may think that I’m such a nice parent that I handled it so calmly, but then I might totally lose it when I walk in 10 minutes later and the plunger is now attached to the vanity mirror. These things may happen. But the work pays off regardless.

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