Feeding the Schedule

Recently our oldest daughter was going to miss class and needed to make up the work at home. Obviously this isn’t unusual, but this particular assignment did remind me of yet one more thing I should start to think about, teaching our girls to cook. I have added it to the ever growing list of items we need to accomplish in the 828 days we have until she graduates from high school. It’s just one more thing on a list that is growing daily.

They aren’t helpless and can find themselves food, but they don’t know how to cook a meal or follow a new recipe. So, as I watched her destroy my kitchen making lemon bars, it crossed my mind that we might have some work ahead of us and am grateful that she is learning the basics in Foods class at school. What wasn’t so obvious was where we were going to steal the time we need to teach Cooking 101 at home.

As a family with three teens we are constantly trying to find balance in our schedules. We succeed some days and other days we never see each other at all. They each focus on their favorite sport, have one or two school clubs and to this point have remained honor roll students. It seems reasonable until you realize each activity comes with its own four year plan to college. College showcases for sports, volunteering for clubs, SATs, ACTs and the many more tasks that are divided out into lists to be completed each year of high school.

I have mentioned many times that I need a full wall size calendar divided by year and child to figure out what we are supposed to do and by when. I am overwhelmed and I take a pretty laid back approach to these things. I want to follow some guidelines so our girls eventually move out, but I am also happy to remind myself that lots of people take a last minute approach and life works out just fine. I just want to be somewhere in the middle. Let’s check some stuff off and make sure they are ready to graduate.

Then I am reminded they have to eat when they move out and haven’t learned to cook. Whoops. I have assumed that one of the assets we have as a family is being able to eat dinner together most evenings. I have it ready when the people pour in and we eat immediately. On most nights this gives us about 60 minutes to eat, laugh together, see who escapes clean up, get changed, do some homework and move on to the evening schedule. I love that we aren’t too rushed in the evenings.

But, I have learned they like to eat, so I guess I need to add that to the calendar.

I fully intend to take advantage of everything Regan learns in Foods class at school. I also encouraged our Emma to sign up to take the class next year. However, I do feel I have the responsibility to teach our children how to be able to prepare some food, so I guess we will find some time in the calendar. We are pretty free on Wednesdays.

Regan’s food project turned out great. She made amazing lemon bars and they are a family favorite. We laughed a lot about the disaster she created, we talked a lot about her classes, and we had a dance party to ridiculously loud music. Maybe this won’t be such a terrible Wednesday night schedule.

Hey Mom…Get with the Times!

The world is a big, challenging place that is different for each of us. Our job as parents is to enable our children to navigate the world independently while acknowledging that they need a support team along for the journey. Our children ARE going to survive this world, but we have to teach them to thrive by showing them that they control the quality of their world. We have to teach them how to limit the world’s negative access to their lives while encouraging them to be a positive influence on the world of others.

It isn’t an easy thing to teach. As parents, we sometimes don’t even understand the world they know. Our children have access to information that we were never challenged with as youth. Social media, internet news, and a world of instant everything from everywhere makes the world seem small and personal and often mean.

I am grateful that I have learned not to let mean people into my world. I have created a network of family and friends that share my values. They may not share my every view, but they are kind, generous, unique people that make my world a positive place to be. Every now and then I end up in a situation that reminds me, yes, there are some mean folks out there. I am grateful each time this happens that I have learned I don’t have to allow them to rock my world. They deserve for me to be respectful, but I don’t have to be a friend. It took years for me to learn this and lots of painful lessons and I wasn’t facing the challenge of having it delivered to me on a text, a message, or a tweet.

We have to learn about the world our children live in to be able to guide them through the maze. Denying access to social media or ranting about its’ evils won’t make it go away. They are a reality. We have to embrace the world and find the good to be able to steer them from the bad. We have to be a part of this world our children spend time in.

We are a part of many of the social media outlets our children use, especially those with a very public setting. I am pretty sure they weren’t thrilled at first, but over time it has become a pretty fun experience with them. We refrain from commenting too much and try not to be a part of every conversation. If we have an issue with something one of them writes, we just mention to them or send them a text asking them to delete the comment and usually have a conversation about it later. We have learned a lot about their friends and even more about our girls. They each use social media very differently.

Over the past few years we have watched and used conversations to talk about self esteem, respect, and bullying. We have talked about surrounding ourselves with people we respect and people that respect us. Two of our children are in high school now so the conversation has also included ensuring their social media presence represents who they are as college and employment become more important.

We also have a lot of fun. I have learned it’s a great way to s/o (shout out) some quick support to our girls. We can # (hashtag) with the best of them. Most importantly, our kids know we have their back and get what their world is like. We have learned we really, really like their friends. This doesn’t mean we haven’t had issues or hard lessons. We have three teenagers and it is their job to test their independence. It is our job is to make sure they know we will be their support system ensuring they get there.