Dear Mom Teaching a New Skill,
I know the mess.
Whether you’re potty training the strong willed two year old. Or helping the 3 year old measure cookie ingredients. Or letting the 4 year old sweep the kitchen. Or showing that 5 year old how to run a tube of jersey under the sewing machine to make a skirt for a doll. Or teaching that elementary school child how to read. Or that reckless teenager how to drive and respect authority.
It’s a mess. You could do it yourself so much quicker.
You could sound out that word for them and save half an hour. You could get it all into the dustpan all at once rather than sweeping up after a half finished job. You drive to the store on autopilot while listening to an audio book rather than stomping imaginary brakes in the passenger seat.
Don’t give up.
You may have never set out to be a teacher, but motherhood made you one. And the more of these skills you spend time teaching, the more prepared your child will be for the next skill he/she will have to learn. The more reasonable expectations your place on the child to continuously complete and improve the skill you’re teaching, the more prepared they will be for their own journeys.
Life is full of work. Your child needs to learn this and find joy in a well completed job.
You might be learning this joy yourself as you chuck the dirty underwear in the trash can and empty your purse of every wet wipe you have with you. Or as you watch half of the dirt make it into the dust pan for the first time. Or as you see your child sound out the word “read” instead of guessing “rat” for the hundredth time. Or as that teenager manages to break smoothly for the first time.
And at night when you slump exhausted into your pillow, thinking about the pill of fabric scrap from the doll cloths sewing adventure waiting to be cleaned up in the morning. Smile. That very exhaustion is the joy of motherhood. The sign of a job well done.
Smile remembering those proud smiles and their triumphant voices: “I did it, mama!”
Well done, mama. Joy is yours.
(Images in the post taken by Aeralind and Bronwyn while mama tried to slow her racing heart from both little fingers too close to the needle and my livelihood in a 4 year old’s hands.)