Our long day of travel began with a teary-eyed departure — we had all grown so attached to them and to their brood of animals: Lucy and Romeo (their dogs), Magnus and Moddie (their fluffy, plump cats) and Hamlet and Scoopy (their horses).
And here is Simone in her kitchen with the boys and me. She’s a great cook and makes a lot of fresh, healthy, organic food… I’m trying to convince her to do some videos!
We were sad to bid farewell to the vast expanses of land. Hedley and Lachlan were both crying as we drove away, which I thought was really sweet.
But we also couldn’t wait to see Annaliese and Marielle, who had a delightful time at home indulging in hot chocolates and trips to the park with Grandma and Grandpa. They also loved the new cowgirl shirts we brought back.
So we’re back to our everyday life, but changed. Leaving the routines of home was good for me as a mom because, to be honest, it made me loosen up. The sky didn’t fall when my kids had apple juice rather than milk with breakfast and my jaw dropped when they scarfed down organic waffles made with quinoa flour!
My biggest realization through this trip was that Hedley (8) and Lachie (7) are craving more independence and responsibility; they’re ready to break free to some extent from the parental coop.
Because I’m usually struggling to get everyone dressed, fed, bathed and out the door, I put a premium on efficiency and quickness. This usually means that we do everything together, but while we were in Colorado I realized that my older boys are ready for more independence and that I shouldn’t pile them in with their younger siblings all the time. They need the freedom to make some of their own decisions and the responsibility to do things on their own.
For the first few nights of the trip, when I said “bath time,” Hedley pouted his lips. When I changed things up and said, “Hedley, why don’t you be in charge of giving everyone their baths,” he ran off, giddily hatching his own little operations plan. I put Lachie in charge of making sure everyone got their pajamas on and he flew off to the task.
These are certainly minor tasks and you’re probably chuckling at me thinking your kids have already been doing these things for years, but it hasn’t been that way in my house. I think I’ve been so overwhelmed with making sure everyone’s basic needs were met that I forgot to allow them to begin to grow up.
As parents we grow weary of making decisions all day long: what to give the kids to eat, what to do, how to mediate the spats, what to make an issue out of and what to let go. Then we realize — or at least I have — that our biggest “decision-making hour” comes when it’s time to step back and allow our kids to do things on their own.
And so they emerged from the bathroom…sure the towels weren’t hung up and there was some water on the floor and someone’s pajamas got wet, but my boys were glowing. Happy that they had done this small thing on their own without their mommy. It was almost as if by stepping back and letting them do it I had given them the message that I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT; you are capable; I believe in you.
This morning, I still put out the milk and cereal and told everyone to eat their fruit before ushering them out the door to school. I’m not turning over the reins to the household entirely. But bit by bit, I’m going to look for little opportunities for Hedley and Lachlan to be bigger, act bigger, and feel bigger.
Did you reach this point when you could sense that your child was ready for more independence and responsibility? When did it happen and how did you handle it?