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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Guest Post "Raising Princesses...or Princes?" By Teddy N

Teddy N.

Guest Blogger married and mother a beautiful 2 year old boy.     

“The thing that impresses me most about America,
is the way parents obey their children”
-King Edward VIII

In a month, my son will be 3 years old. This morning, I saw him pick up his breakfast bowl and with his little hands, take it to the kitchen counter for me. I see how he often takes things to the trash, a snack plate or a cup back to the kitchen. When my husband and I do our weekly clean up on weekends, he gladly asks for paper towel so he can wipe the glass table, or hop on the dinning chair to wipe the dinner table, or simulate me cleaning other furniture pieces. If he spills something, he will mop it out best he can with a paper towel.
Does he just like to clean?  Or like someone told me today, being clean and wanting to clean around is something you are born with or without. Either you have it in you or you don't?

Today, over lunch with a few co-workers, we had an extremely heated debate concerning chores for children.
Now, before I go deep into the details of the debate, let me give you guys a little bit of my background. I was raised at home in D.R. Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo) which I left at age 18 to pursuit studies abroad. Some of us can testify to the fact that at home, having maids wasn`t an issue. So like many, we had maids, without counting the many family members that were always there and could help around. However, mom always found a way to have us LEARN how to clean, cook, do dishes, laundry etc. Yes, they were times when it was done with tears because you'd rather be playing than cleaning or cooking. There always were some chores to be done. And while at time (most of the time) we truly despised them, it wasn`t a subject of debate! Mother did not have to remind us. You did it because that was your chore, your duty, your responsibility at home, as a family member.
Mom always used to tell us in reference to the maids or the cousins and aunts that could help ``No one can ever love your place, your nest, better than yourself. If you can`t clean it, no one will do it better than you. ``!

Well today debate came about during lunch when someone who has a 14 year old daughter claimed that she does not do a thing at home. She does not help in any way; she does not even clean her room or her own bathroom. There was another lady with an over 20 year old with the same claims. So, I went into explaining how I was raised and how thankful I am that my mom was tough when it came to chores and how grateful I am that she did! Married with a son, If I did not have those bases, I wonder how much tougher my life as a mom and a wife would be.
I got many arguments and comments, to name a few:

  • Because they are raised in a clean home where their moms do EVERYTHING for them, when they get out, they will be forced to clean to keep up the standard
  • Nowadays, you can`t Make kids do the things they don’t want to do, they are strong headed.
  • Kids have it hard at school, so they need all their time to study and at downtime, relax!!My kid goes to one of the best schools in the state.
  • Oh my Gosh! Your parents made you do too much, sounds like you were abused!
  • Not everyone has the cleaning genes in them, if the kid does not like it so what?
  • I was told today I will be the mother in law from hell because I expect girls to know so much around the house!
  • My kids like beautiful, expensive things, I see them in beautiful homes which they will be cleaning to keep it up
  • Eventually, your children will revolt against you because of your belief in chores.

I am scared of the state of generations to come. As parents, many of us are not doing well our share. We think that by dotting our kids with everything they want and by letting them do what they want and how they want it, we are doing them a favor. Now, our receptionist who is a 22 year old raised as a princess testified that she blames her mom for letting her be that way. Saying that had her mom enforced the rules, she would have known how to do those things instead of learning when she moved out to stay with her fiancé. She told me I was absolutely right, she wishes her mom or dad, had put their feet down when it came to chores.

I am surely not one to judge, I have no teenagers yet. But I am strong in my opinion that it`s not doing our boys or girls any favor. I mean since when do our kids know better than their parents to decide what`s good for them or not? I have a hard time picturing a family dinner where the children just get up after every single dinner not helping out to clean the dishes (be it by hand or dishwasher!!! at least load it up!)
How many men have you seen caught up in dating -even women they did not want to be with- just so they could have someone to cook or help them around the house? How many of this generation of princesses have been dumped because they could not fry an egg? Or simply make a decent meal? My husband has a nephew who is 24 years old and he recently told me that it sucks out there with girls, most of them don`t know their way around cleaning, or cooking  so he thinks, marriage in his generation will just be a big dirty houses!.(This is a man who when he comes over for weekends, I don`t lift a finger to clean dishes, he helps me mop my kitchen floor, he helps me when am cleaning and this, without me asking).

Today`s debate really affected me. I was in constant state of gratefulness towards my mom. She did well by us! I may not have seen it then, but after I left her side, I thanked her countlessly! I feel that I owe it to my kids to do the same by them. Boys or girls, I will expect them (No negotiations or rewards involved) to stand up to their chores. So that someday, they won`t have to regretfully say ``I wish I had learned this earlier with mom``
All I know is, I won`t be raising princes and princesses. My mom did not raise one, and I turned out pretty good!

“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground,
put some responsibility on their shoulders.”
~Abigail Van Buren

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