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On roles and responsibilities:

1. If you have a two income household, all household chores and child care are shared equally between husband and wife. Period.

2. If you have a one income household, you are employing a division of labor with specialization of tasks. He works (hard) to support the family. You work (equally hard) to keep the house clean and children cared for.

3. School is the same as work and is treated as such. It better enables one to fulfill one’s duties whether at home or at work.

On the importance of a clean and tidy home:

1. Your home can be a place where the spirit dwells, not just makes occasional appearances.

2. It’s healthy.

3. It shows you are a good steward and are grateful for the blessings that Heavenly Father has given you. Conversely, if you do not show respect for the material goods with which He has blessed you, He will take note and stop giving you stuff you cannot manage or appreciate. You will get what you deserve: junk.

On cleaning your home:

1. When you have children, you must sweep after every meal.

2. You must sweep your kitchen every day. Leaving dirt and crumbs on the floor to get tracked around the house is slovenly and spreads the mess.

3. You must mop and vacuum several times a week. Your family tracks more dirt into your home than you realize. It gets ground into carpets and furniture. Clean it up before it can permanently damage your floors and upholstery. Also sweep doorsteps. That’s where the dirt gets tracked in.

4. Wipe off your kitchen counters habitually throughout the day. Do not leave spills and crumbs sitting there.

5. Look at your cabinets, walls, door jams and window sills. If there is something there other than paint or stain, it doesn’t belong. Clean it off. Every day.

6. If you spill something on the stove, clean it. Don’t let it sit. It will get harder to remove with heat and time.

7. Run the dishwasher every night and empty it before going to bed or first thing in the morning so you have a place to put breakfast dishes.

8. Don’t let dishes build up in the sink all day.

9. There is nothing more gross than a dirty bathroom. If that means you must clean daily, so be it.

10. Your car is your home on wheels.

11. Everything takes longer with kids. You must plan sufficient time to clean and tidy up before moving on to a new activity or going out so you don’t leave messes behind.

On kids and stuff:

1. Only get and keep quality toys. Some of the best toys are simple, like blocks and balls. Don’t load up on cheap crap that breaks easily.

2. If something breaks, remove it from sight and fix it or throw it out. Keeping around broken stuff encourages mistreatment of remaining belongings. (See number 3 of On the importance of a clean and tidy home.)

3. Don’t let your kids have too many clothes while they are young. It makes it tempting to put off doing the laundry.

4. A place for everything, and everything in its place. Do not bring things into your house for which you do not or can not make a “home”. You will only create clutter. (See number 1 of On the importance of a clean and tidy home.)

5. If you bring something home for which you do not have room, you must get rid of something to make room.

6. When organizing stuff, group like things together.

7. Containerize everything.

8. Do not let flat surfaces (floors, tables, counters, pianos, dressers, chairs) become dumping grounds. (See number 4 above.)

 

Keeping a home and caring for children is hard physical labor. Rewards seem to be fleeting when your children are young, but are ultimately enduring.

 

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God…

~D & C 88: 119

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We had Emma home visiting for a week. It was so nice to have her here. For about 4 years, until this last year when Emma went to Philmont then Provo, she was our only child at home. Caroline was married  and Holly was at BYU and then a mission. When Emma was little, I used to tell her that when Caroline and Holly were grown and gone, it would be just the two of us at home. Wouldn’t that be fun? She was not particularly enthused. I, on the other hand, looked forward to that day. I remember how fun it was when it was just Caroline and me at home and looked forward to that experience again with an older child. One that could appreciate the joys of Jane Austen films. (I tried, unsuccessfully, to recreate that one-on-one experience the best that I could with Holly by sending Caroline twice a week to Mother’s Day Out at the local Methodist church when Holly was about two years old. Holly would have none of it. She just wanted to go with Caroline.)

Emma got to be a companion for us in a way that we didn’t get to experience with Caroline and Holly. I’m glad we got that extended time together. We didn’t really do anything different than we did when she had her sisters here at home. It just felt different because there were no other demands for my attention. And Emma truly didn’t demand much herself. She was incredibly low-maintenance as a teen.

I have always thought it a good experience for young people to go away to school, to learn to manage their time and money, laundry and menus. And in the case of Emma, who wanted to go to cosmetology school instead of college, doing all of that with her older sister as her guide would be, I thought, a smoother transition since she would not get the benefit of a freshmen dorm segue to independent living. Provo has proven to be a more challenging move than I anticipated. I wish I could be there to make everything easy for her, but that would be defeating the purpose of going away to school.

In the animal world, parents literally chase their young away when it’s time for them to take charge of their lives. I’m glad we aren’t required to go to that extreme. Hopefully, if we’ve done our job as parents, our children want to leave and try new things and live new adventures. I’m so proud of Emma and the new life she is living. She has shown a lot of perseverance as she has faced unimagined challenges. I’m so impressed with the way she is intelligently questioning the world around her and coming to thoughtful, virtuous conclusions.

I used to tell people that I had my children young so that I would be young still when they left and it was just Rob and me. What fun we would have!

Well, we do have fun now. But  Emma leaving the nest has been harder than I thought it would be. For me.