.LANCMOMS.COM• JANuAry 8, 011
Allow me to set the stage.As I write this, Christmas isnine days away. There is lots,lots, lots to do. I’m frazzled, butdetermined to remain happilyfocused as I wrap, bake andaddress my way through theDecember daze.My daughter is busy with
school, and in the nal days of
rehearsal for “Nutcracker!’’ I’moverwhelmed with a franticschedule at home and at work sotime, to say the least, is stretchedlike a taut, red gift ribbon.My alarm, set for 5:30 a.m.on this particular day (and everyday), allowed me to check off extra items on the to-do list whilemy daughter enjoyed extendedshut-eye. I even whipped up abacon-and-cheese omelet for the slumbering, sixth-gradeballerina. (In the interest of fulldisclosure, this is not the regular breakfast menu.)I called for her to comedownstairs. She was cheerful.Even happier, when she saw the
feast of eggs, English mufn and
hot tea.I headed upstairs to check thelaundry, and get ready for work.ll was well.Until I returned downstairs.And entered the kitchen.And gazed toward the sink.There, at its edge, was theplate, fork, cup and saucer uponhich my daughter had justdined. Unlike the dishes, she hadanished. In an instant, so didmy Christmas spirit.I realize that the exhaustivetrek from the kitchen bar tothe kitchen sink probably took an entire three steps. But I’mguessing she wasn’t gasping for oxygen by the time she arrivedat the counter.True, rinsing off her dishes,opening the dishwasher door and placing utensil and plate insidewould have required additionalcaloric output. Closing thedishwasher door, even more. Butfor a healthy dancer who spendshours a day running, talking,stretching, talking, leaping andtalking, I’m thinking she canhandle it.And she did, quite adeptly,when she was summoneddownstairs to do what she should
have done in the rst place.
Which brings me to this: Whymust I repeatedly ask that things be done around the house? Andwhy do other parents think I’mnuts?Too many of my friends,exasperated by children and, I’msorry here, men, by husbands aswell, have given up, saying it’seasier to grab the dish rag and dothe work themselves.I refuse to surrender, but thatdoesn’t mean I’ve won the war.I know what I’m up against.For example, items I leaveon the staircase aren’t thereto accessorize the carpet.Toilet paper, books, shoes andtoothpaste are strategically positioned so they can’t beoverlooked by the next empty-handed person headed up thestairs.Or can they?Because my daughter hasno supernatural powers, I’massuming that she uses her feetand the steps a couple timesa day to get to and from her upstairs bedroom.Amazingly, however, itemson the staircase are unmoved.For days, even a week at a time.I can only surmise that they areinvisible to her.Yet I believe that kids capableof dribbling a basketball arounda court for hours at a time or chasing a soccer ball seasonafter season have the stamina totoss dirty clothes into the washer.Maybe even pull them from thedryer and fold them. I bet theycan push a lawn mower, or dustthe tabletops. And, yes, carry thetoiletries upstairs.Instead, too many parentsare doing all of this for them.But why? Why are we coddlingour kids? Are we afraid itwon’t be done perfectly? Thatthey’ll burn down the house?Will this approach help them to become responsible membersof a household and, ultimately,independent young adults?Being in a family is like being part of a sports team or a dancecompany or a musical group:Everyone must do his or her partfor the good of all. That means perfecting a pirouette ANDcleaning the commode.To do any less is, simply,unacceptable.At worst, we’re raising ageneration that feels entitled toeverything and responsible for nothing. At best, we’re setting a poor example for what it meansto be stewards of our homes andcommunities.So parents, stand with me.Say no to co-dependency.Take a cue from those amongus who’ve found the balance between childhood activity andhousehold duty. And take noteof kids who seem to have theroutine down pat.Omelet, anyone?
Barbara Hough Roda is momto Faith and managing editor of the Sunday News. Contact her at email@example.com or 481-7335. Check out her blog at LancMoms.com.
Put that plate in the dishwasher
Barbara Hough Roda
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Infamous Ryders founder, Chris Lopez, top, helps youngeInfamous Ryders, brothers Julian, from left, and JaidenBermudez, both 6, and their cousin Juju Holland, 9, distributetoys at Crispus Attucks Community Center last month.
( Justin Graybill/Sunday News Photo
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