No Kid, I Can’t Do It for You

Little-girl-foot“Mooooooom?” the yell comes from a room away. “Come here!”

I wait a beat. Again, the call. “Mooooooom.”

There’s no screaming. No moaning. Nothing to indicate something has been bloodied or broken. I stay where I am.

“Why?” I yell back.

“Come here!” is the non-answer.

I don’t move. “Why?” I ask again.

The voice gets more insistent, more frantic. “Come HERE!”

If I did a sit-up each time I was issued a mysterious call to come here NOW, I would have the abs of an Olympic athlete  (Not a bad idea, come to think of it … note to self …). But the fact is, I don’t. I don’t go there, certainly not now, and not without an explanation of what it is I’m supposed to be doing or a clear sense that something is wrong enough to require my dropping whatever it is I’m doing to be at my child’s beck and call.

I don’t not because I don’t care about my child but because I do.

I care so much that I have had to put my foot down on doing for her when it’s something she can do herself. It’s not easy. Often it would be simpler to pour that juice, squeeze out the last bits of conditioner from that bottle, answer that homework problem, find that shoe, pick the “right” shirt. We’d likely save money on juice that isn’t spilled and conditioner used, save time on shoes found, clothes chosen and homework problems answered.

I see parents do these things for their elementary school aged children all the time. And when I’ve dared make mention of my own decision to stop, the perfect parents of the Internet have quickly branded me a lazy, no-good-very-bad mom who

It’s true sometimes I am lazy, especially Sundays when I’ve discovered something especially good on Netflix. It’s called being an adult. I can now eat M&Ms for breakfast and watch very bad TV on a Saturday night while wearing PJs and sitting on my couch because I’ve earned it.

The rest of the week, however, I get off my bum and work long, hard hours at a job I love. That’s how I earn it.

As for the no-good-very-bad mom bit, well, one day I hope my daughter will work at a job she loves, and I know that won’t happen if she can’t pour her own juice, squeeze her own conditioner bottle, answer her own math problems or find her own shoes. She won’t be able to scream for her boss to come to her assistance right here, right now. She won’t be able to climb a corporate ladder if she’s grown up thinking she always needs someone else to help her choose between the blue shirt and the pink.

So if it means I have to be lazy to raise a go-getter, well … I’m OK with that.

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