Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mom for a day

So Friday was my day off!  Just kidding.  Friday, I worked twice as hard as usual to facilitate Leah being Mom for a day.  She got to serve breakfast, do laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, diapering, etc, all with my coaching and assistance.  I wanted her to get the feel of all the things that Mom does every day.  Well, the things that Mom is supposed to do every day.  She was excited and willing all day.  She kept forgetting that she was the Mom and I would remind her that we had more work to do before we could sit down and relax, and she would jump back up again to get back to work.
Her main motivations for being mom for a day were so that she could choose what we ate for our meals, allow movie and computer playing times whenever she wanted, and mostly so that she could stay up late.  We had chocolate milk with our breakfast and snacks at will, and she made what she would make every day if she could, Fruit Salad.  (She did a very good solo fruit salad!)

I interviewed Leah today to find out how she felt about the experience.

We ended up having free lunch at the school, and Leah was disappointed that she hadn't gotten to serve the meal herself.  On the other hand, earlier when she had asked Samuel if he wanted Macaroni and Cheese for lunch and he had replied with enthusiasm, she then replied dejectedly, "Oh, except I don't know how to make that."

She said that the experience was a lot of work.  However, she managed to go the entire time without complaining!  She commented that some parts were fun, but there was a lot to do at once and that she didn't want it to take so long.  All that work made her hungry.  She said it was especially tricky when the baby was awake and needed attention.   

I asked her what she learned.  I had high expectations that she would have a renewed sense of appreciation for me and a greater desire to make my work easier by being more helpful.  She halfheartedly agreed that she should probably be more willing to clean up after herself and complain less.  She was undecided on whether or not she would appreciate me more. I think she learned that I make decisions because I have reasons.  She did also ask me when she can be Mom again...

Well, I learned that Leah is a cheerful helper when she wants to be.  When the incentives are in place or when the suggestion of independence is appealing enough, she can be a great assistant.  When she's had enough, however, she checks out and returns to her own imaginative world. 

If we've learned nothing else from this experience, it is that in the hard moments when I'm overwhelmed and Leah is impatient or demanding, I can remind her of her day as Mom and ask her if she could have done it by herself.  With all we accomplished on Friday, I know for sure I could not have done it by myself.  I just need to put her (and myself) to work every day so that she knows she should always be my little assistant, and all that practice will help her be prepared for her next chance at being Mom!


Ellen Sorenson said...

Wow, Leah is very fortunate to have a Super Mom as her coach, so that she could enjoy learning about being a mom. I'm very proud of you both! Gramma

Kilee Luthi said...

You rock, Supermom! This is a really good idea.

Rebecca Reid said...

great job, Leah! And way to go Mom for teaching your little girl what it really means to be an adult!

Petersen Palace said...

Jenny you are such a good mom! This is an AWESOME idea! I think I will try this at some point. Before you know it you are going to have an in house babysitter! I love the chocolate milk for dinner and the "I can only do one thing at a time!" HA! classic. You're awesome.