Sitting Back and Supervising

Truth be told, there’s a thin line between teaching your kids to fend for themselves and sitting around being lazy. I’m not sure if today crossed that line, but it may have.

In my defense, because our oldest was/is on the naughty list, I had little trouble assigning her the job of hanging the laundry out to dry. There was a bit of huffing and puffing but I helped her out by taking everything out of the washing machine and putting it in a basket on the table. Her job was to take it out of the countless mesh bags She Who Must Be Obeyed likes to use–giving us the very rare “individually wrapped” laundry–put it on drying racks or hangers and put it all outside so the sun could do the rest of the work.

After that, I shaved and took a shower (which for me, when I’m on vacation is a major accomplishment) and settled down to do some sorting and winter cleaning and print our new year’s cards and play some games. (Yeah, I know, one of these things is not like the other, but so what?)

Because I’d had the better part of an apple after I got up, I didn’t actually decide to eat breakfast until around noon. That’s when the first dilemma hit: should I cook for the girls, or leave them to fend for themselves? Was that the responsible thing to do, especially as our oldest is also responsible for doing dishes until she’s 20 (give or take a few years), or was I shirking my responsibilities as a father to make sure they were 1) fed and 2) fed properly.

That dilemma lasted a few seconds as I’m of the school that if our oldest doesn’t wash her school eating utensils then she can just take them the school dirty the next day. It’s not my lunch, it’s hers. I, therefore, went ahead and made myself breakfast for lunch.

After that, I kept reminding the girls that they had to make their own lunch and received the usual noncommittal grunts of “yes, there is a voice speaking to me” but no one actually moved until much later.

Eventually they managed to make lunch, and even tracked down and heated some items from the freezer. After that, our oldest washed and put away the dishes. I was impressed and proud.

I feel that’s what I’m supposed to do to help teach the girls some responsibility and I did feel a sense of accomplishment when they were working and I wasn’t. Of course, I also enjoyed being able to do nothing, so perhaps my motives weren’t as pure as they could have been.

I’ll have to ponder that more when they do dishes and hang the laundry tomorrow.

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