“What did we do this time??!!”

Strange reaction to our pre-planned, Dottie Jones prescribed, family meeting. Coming off of a fun and friend-filled weekend, I was looking forward to our inaugural talking “with” instead of talking “at” strategy session. Plus, the way he said it alluded to countless Abu Ghraib-esque torture sessions in the past. Like we’re ever hard on them. The fact of the matter is we rarely have meetings, but we’re working on it. So, instead of gently explaining the purpose, coddling his tender feelings, I opt for one of my favs (especially when dealing with a 2-year-old or teen)… I ignore him. His reaction didn’t really deserve a response. Catering to those attention getting “poor me” whines never seems worth the time.

“First of all.. GREAT job on the beds and bathrooms. We’ve been very impressed by your efforts and action without having to be reminded (too often).”
{the smiles can almost be heard}
“Now we’re going to add our Month of Meals to the mix. This doesn’t mean you get to stop with your rooms … kitchen duty will be added to daily dollar.”
{cheers from one side of the room, moans from the other … no surprise from whom}

Jon let me explain the purpose: Monday through Thursday, the kids will be responsible for the evening meal. This includes shopping, preparing, and cleaning up before and after dinner.

Then, together, we filled in the details. Instead of sharing the work on each day, they decided to each handle all responsibilities for a day. Next, they staked claim on their days. The youngest sat like a deer in the headlights, trying to figure out what “cooking” means while everyone else clamored for the best day. (This is the child who for breakfast will only eat a Nutragrain whole wheat Eggo waffle with the edges removed… cut into perfect squares that aren’t crunchy…. because if a piece is crispy at all, it’s inedible. … Have I mentioned I’m an enabler??!!) I promised I would help him. But, he still had to cook and clean.

By age, here’s our line-up: Monday, 7-yr-old boy; Tuesday, 11 yr-old girl; Wednesday, 9-yr-old girl; Thursday, 13-yr-old boy, who has already informed us that he will be buying our dinner at Wendy’s. His proclamation brought up an interesting point. So we decided, together, that if someone wants to “eat out”, the house will subsidize $10 for such purchase (basically a generous estimate of the amount it might cost to eat at home). We’ll see how that goes. I’m not so sure about that one.

Truth be told, I’m not looking forward to Meal Month at all! But, I drew the line in the sand and now we’re all having to live by it. (Yuck) It sounds like a lot of work – the store, planning meals, teaching them how to turn on the stove, figuring out recipes, the list goes on. Yet, I know that walking this road will equip them for success in the future.

So far, our Extreme Home Makeover – Revolution-Style has revealed one, blinding truth … I do way too much for my kids. They can and should be doing more in the kitchen than they do. Like their bedrooms a month ago, my kids have spent their entire lives being served in the kitchen. On rare occasions, they might rinse a dish that they happened to bring from the table to the sink; or they might empty the dishwasher, possibly sweep the floor … okay, maybe they’ve never done that. But they should! And yet again, I’m mortified to admit how lame I am in the chore department. I’ve always thought it much easier to do myself. So, I’ve been serving as Molly Maid for years. Not for long, though. I’m taking a stand. It might be a wobbly one, but it’s a stand.

I’ll keep you posted on the ins and outs of surrendering your kitchen to your kids. Along the way, if you have any recipes, strategies, etc. that you could share, please post them in the “comments” below. Comments are always welcomed and encouraged.

Until then, thanks for walking the road with me. I’m off to make brownies w/my 7-yr-old… he wants the family to have dessert tonight. (He’s no dummy – a little something sweet always makes the rest taste better!)

Ironing Board Tip of the Day:
The thing I would change about my mothering would be doing too much for my kids!!

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