So, we’ve all been home with our kids with nowhere to go. For a month. And there’s not really an end in sight. And now that my kids are in my face all day long every single day, I’ve noticed something: we have to teach them EVERYTHING.
It seems like the more obvious the task, the more they should just intuitively know how to do it. But it’s really just not the case. So if it saves you some exasperation as a parent, let me confirm, “Yeah, you have to teach them that.”
When they’re tiny, you have to teach them all the basics.
How to walk. How to use a potty. How to drink from a straw and eat from a spoon. How to communicate and clean up their toys.
How to, FOR THE LOVE, stay dressed in public.
How to put the correct shoe on the correct foot. How to buckle a seatbelt. How to not squeeze the entire tube of toothpaste onto the bathroom counter. How to listen and obey. How to be a good friend.
When they’re medium-sized, there are even more basics to teach.
How to take a shower. How to pour milk into a cereal bowl without spilling. How to close the door behind them and put their jacket on the hook. How to make their own beds and fold their own laundry. How to, FOR THE LOVE, stop whining when communicating.
How to write and mail a thank you note.
How to read and do math. How to keep control of emotions. How to tell the truth and to be a good friend, still.
When they’re bigger, there are still more basics.
How to iron a shirt. How to write an email and call a customer service helpline. How to drive a car. How to clean up after themselves and make healthy eating choices. How to respect others. How to manage their time. Grammar. More math. How to be a good friend, even still.
This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of all of the things that our kids need to learn from us. I called them “basics,” but some of these items are anything but basic. They’re actually super complicated and difficult to do well, even for most adults. But when I put myself in my kids’ shoes (or shoe), I realize that really, NONE of them are basic. None of them are intuitive. Everything needs to be taught.
Every. Single. Thing.
And sure, there are moments when each of our kids will surprise us and do something intuitively impressive we didn’t teach them. They’ll naturally pick up a skill or unexplainably have an inclination for something we never knew they could do. Might we celebrate those in a big way instead of glossing over them?
Because I don’t want to be an exasperated mom, always expecting more from my kids.
I don’t want to be the mom saying, “Why don’t you already know how to do that?” or, “Is this really my job?”
I want to be the mom celebrating each and every win.
I want to be the mom who they come to when they don’t understand. Who they trust to teach them truth.
And I want to be the mom they feel safe to ask, “Can you teach me that?”