As a mom, finding the balance between my expectations and what the kids can reasonably be expected to do is a constant struggle. Of course, this is not just a mom thing. It’s a Dad thing or any kind of caregiver thing. Really, it’s a thing for anyone who has to ever deal with other people. So it’s a struggle for us all!
My kids won’t clean their rooms. (Shocking. I know!) So, the other day, I collected electronics and said that they could have them back after they cleaned their rooms and the bathroom. I was soon reminded that these kids have no idea how to clean. I offered to help them but Lizzie was the only one who took me up on it.
And, Antwan, he took it very seriously and was cleaning away, in spite of the fact that whenever I went in there, it looked about the same. 🤪 Eventually he said he was done. I let him go ahead and play the Xbox until I got around to going up to confirm. When I finally went up and checked, my first thought was good God, it’s still a mess! And I think I said something like “wow…” That wow was probably going to be followed by me pointing out the things that I didn’t like. But then, that kid of mine, looked away from his intense Minecraft game, smiled so proudly and said “It looks great, right?” And I felt metaphorically smacked in the face as I realized that he really meant it and really had done his best. It reminded me of what matters. I paused for a moment to decide how to handle it and made what I know in my heart was the right decision. I followed the other golden rule, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. I just went over and hugged him and then hugged him some more. I was on the verge of tears because I loved him so much in that moment. (And the other moments, too!)
I didn’t really want to let go but I knew that this was not the emotional, sentimental moment in his head that it was mine. 🤣 So I kissed his forehead, thanked him for cleaning his room and left before I couldn’t resist the impulse to point out that his dresser drawer was still open, that there was still random stuff on the floor and there weren’t even sheets on his bed?!
I left him to his Xbox and decided that I would call the day a success.
We judge too much these days. And judging is bad. But, that moment with my son reminded me what we sometimes don’t do enough. Sure, his room didn’t look like I wanted to (and looks even worse now….) Sure, I am super concerned about teaching him how to be a responsible man in the future. But maybe, it will benefit him￼￼￼￼￼￼￼ just as much to grow up to be a man who knows how to give unconditional love and acceptance because he knows what it’s like to receive it.
It may seem like I’m putting a lot of meaning into a kid who successfully only partly cleaned his room, haha, but if you saw his proud smile, you would to. ❤️