Unschooling Monday: Mother’s Day edition
Since beginning our “Mom stops telling the kids do stuff around the house” experiment, the kids have cleaned out the car, done the dishes, mowed the lawn, done the laundry, helped clean up the kitchen, helped me make food, helped me prepare to go pick up raw milk, cleaned up the backyard and picked up the big sticks that have blown down–some of which I asked, some of which I didn’t, all without me asking more than once. They have also made dinner, baked a cake (grain free GAPS friendly), spent a lot of time watching movies and playing video games (specifically Harvest Moon and Minecraft), rode bikes, spent time laying in the grass watching the clouds, helped with the laundry, made multiple messes, cleaned up some messes–both their own and others though not all of either, made some great choices, made some bad choices, and frankly have very much been kids. And honestly, it is pretty much the same stuff they would be doing anyway, but with a lot more helping out around the house with a lot less whining from them (I can’t guarantee that I am not doing more whining though mine is silent…waaaa.)
I didn’t say anything about the experiment to the kids until the end of the week (when I pulled them aside and told them what had happened and why.) However on Thursday my middle “miss perceptive” child came over to me as said, “Mom, since you stopped yelling at us and telling us what to do we are doing a whole lot more stuff” (mind you I didn’t TELL them I was going to do this, that was part of the experiment, just stopped cold turkey). She then went on to say that she thought it was because they felt more responsible and grown up and able to choose what they felt they should do to help out and so it felt good when they did help out and they didn’t resent it.
I should also mention that right before they came and started helping I was feeling VERY overwhelmed and poor me and no one is going to help me and waaaaaa. And then I remembered that this had been a HUGE thing in our marriage for a while (about 8 years ago all the way back to us as newly weds 14 years ago)– me doing the housework and resenting every second and my husband resenting me resenting him. Like I said, obviously I have huge heart issues regarding housework. Of course right after all that they started helping but I also got sick (with the same cold thing that they have had which accounts for much of the not helping that has happened.)
And between feeling sick, hormones, and not wanting to deal with Mother’s Day because my own mom died a few years ago and I still am not keen on Mother’s Day I was a crank for Mother’s Day so my heart attitude didn’t get much better there especially since everyone else is also still feeling kind of cruddy and no one wanted to help with anything. Then the kids picked up and decided to make dinner (meatball soup and eggplant Parmesan– very good and perfect for feeling cruddy me).
So, we are continuing the experiment because it really is working, even though just like with school work, it means the kids are doing different things than they would be if I were insisting they help out. It actually means they are doing more, and more willingly without all the fighting over who does what when. So I guess that is a win, even if it also means more heart surgery for me because the “but THEY aren’t doing it” whine comes out at the most inopportune times.
(And the recipe for the cake can be found here: http://www.thespunkycoconut.com/2009/06/gluten-free-dairy-free-sugar-free.html.)