Crossing the Finish Line

Tomorrow is the last day of school for our boys.  The kids are excited about making it to the finish line.  So am I.  Any plans to win the Mom of the Year Award have faded like a chubby girl trying finishing her first 5K.  We’re just hanging on.  Gutting it out.  We've gone from breakfast choices that would rival a Bob Evans menu to me telling the boys to, "Just grab a pack of peanut butter crackers and eat them in the car!”

This isn’t our first rodeo, and I know that the lazy days of summer are just around the corner.  And that gives us the opportunity to regroup, recharge and reorganize.  A clean slate.  Our summer schedule begins Tuesday morning.  With it comes a new set of challenges.  I'll be working part-time a few mornings a week this summer.   The question becomes, what should be expected of the boys while I'm away?

Their expectations-

1.       Stay up late.

2.       Sleep in.

3.       Get in as much screen time as possible.

4.       Go to the pool, have friends over or stay at a friend’s house as time allows.

My expectations-

1.       Go to bed at a reasonable hour.

2.       Set an alarm and get up…the earlier the better.

3.       Make yourself a healthy breakfast.

4.       Do a few chores before I return. 

 

How do we go about blending these lists so that the boys can unwind from a busy school year without turning into stereotypical teenage boys?  My first idea was to turn to the web for ideas from other moms.  Here are a few that caught my eye:

A WORK FOR HIRE BOARD

I like this idea for extra chores above and beyond the call of duty.  I think it would help teach a good work ethic.

THE ZONE APPROACH

This one from www.livingwellmom.com suggests breaking your home into zones and assigning each child a zone to manage.  They offer a free printable too.

TRADING CHORES FOR SCREEN TIME

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This one seems based around the idea that everything you do is checking a box to with the ultimate goal of screen time.  While I understand the idea, I don't want my kids to get the idea that life revolves around electronics.  We fight that battle enough as it is.

We’ve already tried many of these ideas with limited success.  It seems like the answer I’m looking for may lie in the girl looking back at me in the mirror rather than in any Pinterest pin or even in my kids.  Here are some thoughts that have convicted me while trying to come up with a new summer system. 

Do as I say and as I do

To be perfectly honest, I am no Suzy Homemaker!  I would rather dig in the dirt, drive a tractor, hammer nails or shovel animal poo of any kind than do housework.  So I feel a bit hypocritical to fuss at the boys for messy rooms when I struggle with my own messes.  I can't expect my kids to be conscientious about chores and keeping the house picked up if I'm not.  I have felt conviction in this area lately and am making every effort to improve.  Lucky for our boys and me, we have a great guy who will pitch in and help keep us on track.

Prepare them to succeed

Every child is different but I have learned that I can't just tell our boys to, "clean the bathroom.”  They need to understand that my idea of “clean” may be slightly different than their idea of “clean”.  I also make sure they have all the supplies they need for the task at hand. 

Inspect what you expect

My dear friend once told me that, "You have to inspect what you expect".  That has stuck with me over the years rings true when working with my boys.  If I ask them to clean their rooms, but never inspect their work, I can't get mad when a couple hours have passed and their still not finished.  This also gives me the opportunity to praise a job well done and encourage them in their abilities!

The lesson I want our boys to learn is that hard work and discipline are godly characteristics that will serve them well throughout their lives. 

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)