Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wasted time?

Its 9PM, the boys are sound asleep and here I sit at my computer….. I just wrote a note to 10YO in his “after school instruction notebook.” This is the notebook I leave sitting at the front door outlining the responsibilities he must take care of before I get home from work. Usually it reads something like:

Dear 10YO,
I hope your day was a good one! Fix yourself a snack and get started on your homework. When your homework is done make sure you
1-take the trash out
2- empty the dishwasher
3-dirty dishes into washer
4-make sure your room is straightened up
Remember, soccer tonight! Be dressed and ready to go when I get home in 45 minutes!
Love you tons,

I had a visit with a dear friend this afternoon and here is the letter I just composed:

Dear 10YO,
I hope you had a good day! Fix a snack and don’t start on your homework before I get home. Sit and do nothing if you want….stare at the ceiling even but enjoy it whatever you choose! If you would rather read –go ahead…. Whatever you want to do. I will figure out your chores when I get home, until then enjoy the time to yourself. Do what you want –just veg out and relax, we will take care of all the boring stuff later.
I set out your soccer stuff if you want to change before I get home.
I love you ,

While venting to my friend about how I got home from work yesterday and 10YO's homework and chores were not done. I was about to begin a rant when she stopped dead in her tracks and exclaimed “WHAT?! HOW HORRIBLE! Oh my gosh HE’S a KID! Let him zone out –let him do absolutely nothing –stare at the ceiling if he wants but he needs to unwind after school!”

I took a step back and tried to register whether the problem was that he did -or did not do the chores…. She was talking so fast and so loud- I had a hard time comprehending her words. Finally it started to register…. I was being insensitive to my childs natural tendencies! She went on to say how she was a big believer in kids needing time after school to relax. She explained how after being told what to do all day he should be allowed to come home and relax before starting into the rigors of responsibilities….. Needless to say, after about five minutes I was shocked at myself for being so insensitive to his needs as a child. That’s right... he is after all –A CHILD! He is a good one at that. He knows responsibility; he works hard, and obeys….. He is not an unruly –out of control spoiled brat. My extremely wise friend suggested I make a new rule –no homework or chores until I get home.

It was extremely difficult to “let go” of him being productive and accomplishing tasks all day. However, as soon as her words resonated, it was simple to see the situation through her eyes and say to myself “Oh my gosh –she’s so right.”

It’s a precious thing when you are connected to someone in such a way that they say exactly what you need to hear when you need to hear it….. and they don’t even mean to.


  1. It's a hard balance to know when structure is good and when it's bad. But I agree. Most of our kids are OVER structured. They need zoning time. Glad you two friends have each other. :)

  2. Thanks for this terrific reminder!!!! It's so easy to get caught up in the "To-do" list...I'm guilty, I are one terrific mom! ~Janine XO