Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Because Time Won't Give Me Time

I've lost my extra set of hands. Tweenie started school today. If it weren't for the fact that I know she really loves school, I would swear she was counting the days until she was off diaper duty ;) Really, she has been such a big help to me for the past couple of months. The one day I was by myself before she got back from summer camp I felt like I was changing diapers all day.

That is one of the many reasons I've been stepping up the potty training with Little Man. With 3 in diapers I am changing diapers all day.

Time is a precious commodity for mothers. And there just never seems to be enough of it to go around.

Before I had children, I was having a discussion with one of my co-workers who had two small children. She was confiding in me what a tough job parenting was. She felt it was really hard to resist that urge to baby your children and do everything for them, because really your job as a parent is to help them become independent. There's a fine line there. That discussion has always stuck with me because I knew it was the truth.

But I had no real concept of how hard it would really be.

My biggest issue is time. It takes a lot of time and patience to help your little ones become able to do things for themselves. For me, it is just so much faster to do everything for them. But it is also doing them a disservice.

The other issue that plays a minor role is the idea that in your mind they are still babies. Your image of them is that they are too small and too young to do things for themselves. Which is probably just your mind making excuses for all the time you will save picking their toys up yourself (taking 5 minutes) instead of asking them repeatedly to do it and helping them do it (maybe taking more like 15-20 minutes).

What really made me think of this was watching Tweenie help them do things over the past couple of weeks. Especially while we have been working on potty training Little Man.

Time is not an issue for Tweenie. She has all the time in the world. Her motivations are not to save time. Her motivations are to do as little as possible. Her motivations are having them do things for themselves because she doesn't want to do them. And it's worth it to her for the task to take 30 mintues instead of 5 if it means that SHE doesn't have to do it.

The amazing thing in all this is that SHE is the one that is on the right track.

Last night I heard her in the bathroom telling Little Man to wipe his own butt. My first instinct was to tell her that she needed to wipe his butt. He's just too young and incapable. But yet, a couple of weeks ago when I was thinking about sending him to pre-school I was thinking that he was going to have to learn how to wipe himself. Instead of telling her to do it, I listened while she patiently instructed him on how to do it himself. I was impressed, and also feeling a little guilty. Of course he's capable, of course he NEEDS to learn to do that on his own. But I haven't taken the time with him. It always seems that when he has to go potty I am in a hurry. I pull his pants down quick, set him on the potty and then quickly wipe him and get his pants back on because the baby is crying or because I was in the middle of something else...

A week or so ago I did realize the value of having him pull down his own pants and get himself on the potty as well as getting his pants back on. Probably because I was holding a crying baby at the time :) But also because when he goes to pre-school he is going to have to do all that by himself.

Time. Isn't it sad how sometimes everything boils down to time. The thing is, in the long run, by teaching him to do things on his own, I WILL be saving time! While it will take time and patience now to show him and teach him how to do things for himself... the more he can do for himself, the less time I have to spend doing those things for him.

And I just need to suck it up and claim him no longer a baby! How I hate to let that go :( My first baby boy is getting all grown up on me. He is going to be 4 in 2 days! He IS a big boy!


R. Wallis @ TrueBeauty said...

Just stopping by from SITS to say hi! Great blog! I love your blog background!
Happy Tuesday! Come by and check out my "5 DAYS OF GIVE-A-WAYS" AT http://truebeautyinsideandout.blogspot.com

April said...

What a great post. Really makes ya think. And you are so right, what takes time now will save time later.

Becky said...

That's neat that you acknowledged your learned wisdom from watching Tweenie.

I think you are on to something.

It IS hard. But you've gotta do it:)

Helene said...

This is such an amazing post and it is so true. I'm guilty of rushing my kids through things and then I just end up doing it myself to save time. I know I'm doing them a huge disservice, especially when they WANT to help. Like how often in the future are they gonna offer to help me sweep the floor or do the dishes....I need to just suck it up and let them do these things because it will lead to independence, as well as wonderful self-confidence in themselves.

Your daughter sounds amazing....can you send her my way sometime? LOL

~~Mel~~ said...

It's 2 days later now...happy birthday little man!!!!

Your post is oh so true. Riley is 8 and I still do way more for him than I should...boyfriend points it out all the time that he should be doing more on his own (ie. getting his own milk, or a snack, etc.) but I've just always done it and it's hard to break that habit. For me, he's my only 'baby' and if I want to spoil him I feel I should...BUT you (and the boyfriend) are right in that I am doing him a huge disservice! I'll have to keep this post in mind.

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