Sometimes we might wonder why we so desperately need to equip our kids to do even the basic of duties around the house. I mean really, it’s pretty much always easier to do it ourselves (especially in the teen years where loads of moans and indignant responses hit our directives). Here’s an article from the Wallstreet Journal that might inspire us all to keep on keepin’ on … for our kids’ sakes.

Plus, for the record (so I won’t forget), working hard breeds hard work. Just tonight I plopped in the lap of my nine-year-old his semester project that is due on Thursday. Today is Tuesday. It’s due Thursday. Oh yeah, have I introduced myself lately? My name is Kay. I’m a recovering enabler, controller, manipulator, grammar hacker … and procrastinator (!!) Yes this project could have been started and completed months ago. Yes he has been asking for weeks that I would go to the store with him and get the goods for his project. Yes, I waited until tonight to hit the store. Why? Who knows. I just hope I don’t pass this annoying gene – okay personality trait – to the kids.

His project? One of the kids’ favorites – Manna Bags. Little brown lunch sacks filled with small things for someone in need. Slow Walker filled his with a bottle of water, a granola bar, some nuts and Hershey Kisses. The latter so he could snag a few while filling the bags. The kid is no dummy. His plan? To set them out at our school’s Grandparent’s Day celebration for people to see, take and give to anyone in need.

I had no time to help or supervise. Of course he needed neither.

After an hour … with a little help from a sister who stopped when walking by, he had filled the box. Oh yeah, he made that cute little sticker, too (scanned his drawing and printed on full page label). He wrote “Have a Nice Day” at the bottom.

Moments after starting and completing his task without so much as a peep from his mom, he started playing with Jack. Soon bedtime approached. I look in the living room to see him swooping in to help his younger brother clean up a puzzle and game – again without a single direction from me. His hard work on the project was inspiring more hard work – because it feels good and right. I think the other-centeredness of his project didn’t hurt either. As I watched him, I wondered – Is part of being a mom working yourself out of a job?


I think these folks might agree.

The Toll On Parents When Kids Return Home, The Wallstreet Journal 11/10/11

To read the entire article, click on the link above. Here are a couple short snippets:

“As recent college graduates scramble to find full-time jobs, numerous parents are helping their children pay bills or letting them live at home again. About 59% of parents provide or recently provided financial assistance to children aged 18 to 39 who weren’t students, concluded a May survey of nearly 1,100 people by the National Endowment for Financial Education.

According to Census data, 5.9 million Americans between 25 and 34 years of age—nearly a quarter of whom have bachelor’s degrees—live with their parents, a significant increase from 4.7 million before the recession.

But many parents can’t afford the extra expense. A full 26% of those polled by the nonprofit group took on more debt to help their offspring, 13% delayed a planned life event such as a home purchase, and 7% postponed retirement.

Young graduates’ protracted dependency can be emotionally draining, too. “Parents feel upset when their adult child can’t get the kind of job that he or she wanted because they raised them to believe ‘you can do anything you want,'” says Cliff Zukin, a Rutgers University professor of public policy and political science.

Some worried mothers and fathers have become closely involved in the employment searches of their adult offspring.

‘Parents want to get on with their own lives” and regain the privacy they have lost from sharing their empty nest with grown offspring, says Damian Birkel, founder of Professionals in Transition, a support group in Winston-Salem.'”

I guess as I think about it, I’m not working my self out of a job, but more into a job. The job of mothering which seems to be so much more than task-handler. Here’s to hoping chores and responsibility make a difference! With a little extra time on our hands (since they’re handling greater responsibilities) we can spend more quality time teaching, encouraging, sharing with, getting to know our amazing kids.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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