While my 13 year old daughter was reorganizing her room a few weeks ago, she asked for a hamper so she and her younger sister could start doing their own laundry. I should have been doing the happy dance, right? Instead, I found myself second-guessing her motives and my worth as a mom.
Was she asking because I could not keep up with all the laundry? Had I failed in yet another area of mothering and homemaking?
I began to worry. Would allowing her to do her own laundry make my life harder, not easier? Would she leave her clothes in the washer or dryer for hours or even days on end? Would I have to nag her to complete each load?
Suddenly, I realized that all of these burning questions reflected my desire to maintain control and not upset our normal routine. I should have been questioning my own motives, not hers!
After surrendering a laundry hamper to the 13 year old, I gave the remaining ones to my 18 and 19 year olds. If their younger sister could do her own laundry, it was way beyond time for them to start doing so as well. I made the conscious decision to trust the kids to wash their own clothes but follow up with gentle reminders to be sure they do.
I have been pleasantly surprised at how responsible my kids have been with the new laundry system. When their hamper is full, or run out of clean jeans, they know it is laundry time. Occasionally a load sits forgotten in the dryer overnight, but most of the time I do not even have to remind the kids about their laundry. We have all learned to be patient with each other as while getting used to the new routine.
My One Word for 2018 is trust. It is relatively easy to trust the other adults in my life, but trusting my kids as they grow up can be a real challenge. Maybe they will abuse the freedom I offer or fail to live up to their new responsibilities. On the other hand, perhaps they will live up to or even surpass my expectations. I will never know unless I give them a chance.
Have you ever caught yourself trying to continue doing everything yourself when your kids are clearly ready to take on more responsibility—perhaps even begging for it? What helped you recognize and overcome it?