A parenting dilemma
A pot of chicken soup, dropped around to sickie-me by my friend yesterday, got me thinking about my parenting.
"Oh, there's nothing like chicken broth made straight from the bones," I said to my friend, appreciating her work.
"I agree," she said. "It's the first thing I taught my daughter to cook."
Now, her daughter is the same age as mine. And my daughter couldn't cook chicken broth to save herself. In fact, there are lots of household skills that she doesn't have. And she's quite 'trained' in comparison to her brothers, who are both very incompetent when it comes to housekeeping and domestic chores.
There is a good reason for this. It's because life has been so very difficult because of my son's autism. By the time I've managed all the tantrums and the refusals, there's only so much energy left over to encourage the other children to pick up after themselves, do chores and clean up.
I suppose I could have started to do it more recently, but it seemed unfair to expect the little brother to do things that the older brother didn't do.
It goes in fits and starts, to be honest. When things are calm, I do try to give more jobs out. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to stay calm for long around here, and I fall back into the easier habit of doing it myself rather than putting up with the associated tantrum noise.
In some ways, I prefer the parent I have become since autism entered our lives. I think I'm more loving and more involved with the children. But I do regret that teaching them domestic skills has not been high on the agenda.
It's always a difficult balance between giving myself a little breathing room and saying, "It's ok, you're alright, and they'll be ok too," and knowing that actually, there is always a creative way to do things, and I could certainly put a little more effort into this whole area of life.