Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kindly Allow 48 Hours for Processing

The great thing about blogging is finding other posts you can SO relate to. Jennie at Preteens, Toddlers, and Newborns, Oh My! posted about her recent experience involving the "oh, yeah, and I need to have X, Y, and Z by tomorrow morning" adrenaline rush that we’ve all experienced at least once.

And if you haven’t, stop smirking. I mean it! Trust me, your little darling will pop it on you at some point before the cops take him away she gets kicked out of the house he or she graduates high school. Or middle school. Hell, most of us get it in grade school, usually in the form of “Mom, I told Mrs. So-and-So you could make the cupcakes/chaperone the field trip/sew costumes for the play by tomorrow, right?!?” Did I mention this takes place at 9:39 p.m. and it's a 20-minute drive to the store that closes at 10:00?

Personal responsibility must be taught; same with fiscal responsibility. Just reading the news reports about Gen X, Gen Y, and the Millennials tells you those generations are seriously lacking in those departments. Even now the parenting experts are doing 180°s, telling us that our kids need parents, not best friends, and rules and boundaries, not all-encompassing freedom.

But the way most of us were taught – chores, keeping track of our own things, doing our own projects, earning our own money – is still not the norm. So, how do you teach your kids personal responsibility these days?  How do you get through the daily grind?

From the battlefront, a few of my rules. 

1) You lose it, you pay to replace it
Started years ago when the Oldest lost 3 beach towels, a swim suit, and a pair of beach shoes in one summer at day camp. An Old Navy sweatshirt went missing the second day of school. Imagine his horror when I had him bring his money to the mall that weekend, marched into Old Navy, picked out the same sweatshirt, and demanded his money on the spot. He'd been saving for a Nintendo game. One more incident involving a lunchbox and he’s been good since. The Middle Child has learned from his big brother and has been able to hold onto his money.

2) The Not-Mom's To Do List
I have my daily to-do list.  Everyone else has the Not-Mom's To Do List.  I don't care who does it.  Just get it done.  Teaches great negotiation skills too!

3) If it isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t exist
I update the family calendar constantly and we all review the week’s schedule on Sundays. Everything is on it, including class projects. You're responsible to make sure it's on the calendar, or I’m not doing it.

4) Project Management
Still working on how to break up a project and plan out the steps. The final step includes making their personal due date to finish three days before the project is really due.

5) The school’s deadline isn’t Mom’s deadline
Sort of builds on #7, but includes first day paperwork - if the school wants it back the next morning, either send it via USPS the week before school starts or make the forms available on the website. Look at it this way: if you were traveling, in the hospital, or worked second shift (like my hubby!), would they expect you to FedEx the paperwork back to them?

Now, if you’re just sitting in the bottom of the closet with a cheesecake and a bottle of Kahlua, that’s a different story.

6) The crafts store isn’t open at 1:30 a.m.
What ticks you off more?  The intricate supply-laden projects assigned by the school that we're then expected to come up with the supplies for, or the expectation that we can drop everything else to drive on a moment’s notice to a store three towns over for those supplies.

Perfect example - last week, the Oldest was assigned a timeline project on Wednesday. Due date of Thursday. To be done on posterboard (NOT on the supplies list). We won’t get into the personal photos that were needed, or the color prints that he was asking for.

Now fast becoming an urban legend, a new student in the class told her mother that evening about the project and supply requirements. Rather than dropping everything to go get posterboard, the mother wrote the teacher the following note:

As you did not allow adequate notice of supplies that were needed for this project, you will give my daughter a one-day extension on this project and will not penalize her in any way because of your poor planning. If you should need to discuss this with me, I can be reached at ###-###-####. In the future, please allow at least one week’s notice for projects and supplies.

My Hero!!!

The entire class got an extra day.


Maria said...

The Not Mom's To Do List- I love it! My kids are too young for most of these, but I'm definitely going to remember that one. Nice blog!

Tricia said...

My favorite teacher story.My son penalized for not turning in a paper, in 10th grade. He HAD done it, and passed it in! I called the dean of students, who went into the class, made the teacher stop teaching, and find my son's paper. ( which he did!). He also found 4 other missing papers. We had been trying to teach better organizational skills with my son, I guess we were teaching the WRONG person!

Working Mom said...

Maria - thanks for the compliment!

Tricia - I've run into my fair share of THOSE teachers too! Good for you for calling the dean, and good for the dean for following through! Thanks for stopping by!

Two Normal Moms said...

LOVE the rules!! I like the you lose it-you pay for it the best.
And if there are parents out there that have not encountered these project issues, please tell me where your school is so we can enroll!!

Amy W said...

I am so going to do the Not Mom's To Do list.

I made Ashley buy a new pair of shoes out of her allowance when she couldn't find her old ones.

We keep our family calendar on Google and review it weekly as well. Crazy that our schedules are that crazy!!