Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happiness--or Not

I am no longer concerned with my children's happiness.

That, of course, is the Zen Buddhist me talking.

But it's true. I'm concerned with the boys' physical and mental well-being, their general education, their spiritual formation and their personal hygiene. If they are injured or appear to be unduly sad or anxious, I will seek treatment for them. If they appear ignorant, I'll hand them a book, and if they seem spiritually waylaid, I'll say a prayer.

If they're unhappy? Well, that's just tough.

Here's the thing: I don't even think it's good to try to make your kid happy. Okay, maybe on his birthday, you ought to bend over backwards, but every day? Looking back over my parenting career, I have spent too much time worrying about whether my children are happy. And here's my question: How much time have they spent worrying about making me happy?

Not enough, ladies, not enough.

It is time for the tables to turn. It's time to make Mom happy. Plan No. 1: My children are going to do all the chores I hate to do. Plan No. 2: They're going to quit saying, "But that's not fair!" whenever I ask them to do a chore not on their regular chore list.

My goal is no longer making my children happy. It is to ensure they are not a burden on society. Or me.

Stay tuned.


Yesterday I made spaghetti sauce out of fresh tomatoes. I added garlic and basil from our garden. I processed the tomatoes with my new food mill, and I kept stealing spoonfuls of the tomato juice as it collected in the pot. Heaven!

Today I'm making curtains and working on a quilt. And making my children do the chores I don't want to do. You know what's weird? The more I make them do stuff they don't want to do, the happier they seem. Go figure.


magsmcc said...

I am screaming with delight! Oh those turning tables! Oh that I could be a turning worm! The beautiful thought of it, the promise of freedom and release. Oh well.

Pom Pom said...

Ha ha ha ha! You are hilarious! That sauce sound wonderful. I wish it was in a pot on my stove at the moment. I had grandgirls here all afternoon. My feet are sticking to the floor and I don't want to make dinner.

wayside wanderer said...

Funny AND smart! I really agree with you. Let us know how it goes.

Could you please ship some of that sauce to Texas for me? Maybe you could have your kids do it! =D

Tracy said...

I really need to try the Zen thing!!!!

Since I now need to save up for some major dental work for DH, I am still not in line for getting a cleaning lady. *sigh*. You have me thinking that I need to get my kids on the go with some regular stuff. Like dusting. And mopping. You know, things I don't do from one school term to another (or semester, as the case may be!). What a shot of inspiration you are my friend.

Oh...and Miss Mischief has just asked if I "still talk to Frances". Yep...still do :)

debbie bailey said...

You've found the pathway to happiness! Now walk on it and kick their little behinds every now and then so they'll stay on it. Send then on a mission trip to a third world country as soon as they're old enough. They'll never whine again.

Gumbo Lily said...

I say give them all the hard work to do. It'll turn them into little men and heaven knows we all need some good, hardworking men in the world today. It's great they are happier doing those chores.

Yum on the spaghetti sauce! I've hardly a bloom on my tomatoes. Boo hoo. Too cool, I think.

Jody (who is not giving up hope yet)

Angela said...

Amen sister!!!
Teach them important skills,
LIKE saying "You look tired, Mum - sit down and I will bring you a cup of tea"
LIKE realising THEY only exist cos YOU and their DAD love each other -so if you and he exchange a kiss or cuddle, instead of saying "Yuk!" they should retire to another room and start preparing a family meal
LIKE accepting that sometimes MUM gets to choose the TV channel, the eating venue, or the first chocolate in the box.
LIKE replacing loo rolls, taking out trash, and emptying the dishwasher are FAMILY tasks, not mother's sole responsibility.
LIKE if mum spends a happy afternoon chilling out and sewing, then beans on toast is quite OK for the evening meal.

I am happy to say my girls were brilliant at all the above, and I SO miss having them around.

mags- hang in there, yours will soon be old enough to do this stuff, just start training them early!!

I have one small green tomato, the size of a garden pea, on my plant. No likelihood of spag bol sauce just yet!!

I am heartily sick of car stickers saying "Little Princess" - which usually mean "Inside this vehicle is a spoilt brat"