This is a post from Melissa Langford of Life Off the Paved Road
The title to this post has changed many times over the last few weeks. It began as “Dear Judgmental Mom of One.” My husband said that title was altogether lacking in any of the fruits of the Spirit. Then it was “Dear Mom of Many, Ignore the Judgmental Mom of One.” Again, my hubby vetoed that title. Finally, he suggested I change my focus completely, and this post is the result.
I was completely frustrated after one of “those” encounters, where another mom came across all judgmental because one of my children was “doing my job.” Every mom of many has been there at one time or another. I came home and immediately vented in a draft post. After a few days of discussion, I realized that I was so upset because I was actually questioning if this other mom could be right. Was I shirking my duties? Was I piling work on my eldest daughter and stealing her childhood?
I asked my daughter about the situation and she assured me that she did not feel that the responsibility was “dumped” on her to parent or care for her younger siblings in this situation or any other. She further explained that she appreciated the practice, because she would have to be a mom someday.
This discussion led me to my next step. I asked my eldest son and daughter to make me a list of “jobs” in the family that mom and dad typically do that they would like to do or learn to do. I nearly fell over when reading the lists. Here are a few of the items listed:
Abigail (Age 11)
Loading and unloading the dishwasher
tucking in the little boys (this one brought me to tears)
Caleb (Age 12)
Mowing and trimming the yard by myself
Cleaning and Organizing the Garage
After reading these lists and talking with my oldest children, I came to the following conclusion:
Dear Mom of Many:
Relax! It’s all good. You are doing a great job! Your children see you and your work ethic. They see you and Dad working hard and they are only mimicking what they see. They are learning valuable skills, and they know it. You are not only raising well rounded and prepared children, but you are casting vision for the future. You are not raising the next generation of entitled, self-serving, unprepared adults. Think nothing of the disapproving glares and uninformed conversations.
Also, at the end of your tired day, do your best to show that disapproving mom of one or two a little grace. She has never walked your path. She has no idea what your day looks like.
Finally, talk to your children, especially the middle and older children. You may be surprised at what they are willing to do and even what they are capable of. Give them tasks that matter in the home and thank them for their contributions to the family. This will make them feel valued and instill a sense of responsibility in them.
A Proud Mom of Many Capable Helpers
You may have to take into consideration the age of that judgmental “mom of one/two” child/ren. If they are younger she has no idea what she’s talking about. If they are older she is jealous or entitled herself. This is our generation’s issue ~ children should be allowed to be children. The generation before ours was ~ children should be seen and not heard.
I am a mom of one and I’m constantly telling my son he CAN do something, he is only choosing not to or is preferring ignorance. My son is 12 and we read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books this summer. He couldn’t believe how young the children were and the types of chores they were doing way back when. There is nothing wrong with teaching children responsibility.
I think it’s wonderful your children see it as a privilege.
Yes!! Thank you. I often find myself questioning “having” my older children take on so many jobs. Josh reminds me that we all long to feel needed, that everyone wants to contribute. Children need to know that families NEED them to function, they need a purpose and a “job”. They aren’t just visitors, or guests, but a much needed part of the family unit and that without them and the jobs they do, the family unit would not function properly.