I’ve never been one of those people who has a talent and knows it and pats themselves on the back for it. I’m actually usually one of those people who rarely recognizes a talent until someone points it out and I really can’t think of an argument and then I’m like, “well, damn, maybe you’re right maybe I am good at (insert whatever ‘thing’ here).” Parenting is really no different. I will admit that I never think of myself as a failure as a parent, but on the flipside I rarely think of myself as supermom either. Have I successfully raised two healthy and fairly well balanced adults? Yes. Do I think my third and final kid will follow in their footsteps? Sure. Do I give myself all of the credit for it? Not so much. As I was pushing my lawnmower today mowing the small forest that I had neglected behind the fence in my backyard, with every pass of the mower, I was thinking to myself why the fuck aren’t you making your kid do this? And then I had this whole internal dialogue with myself about why, in fact, I was not making him mow the grass. Some people might say that I spoil him. Some people might say that I’m too easy on my last child. Some people might say I’m not teaching him to be responsible and I wouldn’t necessarily argue with any of those people, but like everything else I do in my life, I raise my kids the way I see fit. And I guess my philosophy is this (and I know the majority will not agree and that’s ok, this is where we can just agree to disagree): I taught my kids how to be kind, how to be social, how to stand up for themselves, how to stand up for others, I taught them how to use a screwdriver, how to do the dishes, how to cook a meal or two, how to mow the grass, how to drive a car, I taught them that it’s ok to cry, I taught them that if they don’t do their homework, the consequences are theirs, I taught them if they don’t use a condom, those consequences will be theirs too. I taught them that it’s ok to love and get hurt. I taught them that it’s ok to make mistakes. I taught them that it’s ok to say I’m sorry. I taught them that it’s also ok to say fuck you and walk away. I may have taught them too much about independence and stubbornness, but I’m ok with that. I’ve taught them that it’s ok to help people and it’s ok not to. I think I taught them that their feelings and beliefs are valid even if nobody else sees things the way they do. I hope I taught them that they have value as humans. But what I never did that would have the whole parenting community up in arms, I’m sure, is make them do “chores.” My kids never had a “chore” list. We never had things that they had to do all the time in exchange for an “allowance.” I’ve always felt like I was the mom. I brought them into this world that, for the most part, really freaking sucks and they didn’t ask for that, so I’ve always felt like it would be selfish and irrational to force them to “do chores” With that being said, I am not saying that they never had to do the things that would be classified as “chores” but those things were more of a family contribution. Like I said, I taught them all those chore like tasks and when they needed to be done, I asked them to do them and they did, but I never really forced them to do it. Maybe a time or two I did, when I was still trying to prove my ability to parent to their other parents and grandparents, but they had the tools to succeed. If the day came that, God forbid, one day, I just didn’t wake up, I know that I have given them the tools to be successful. They can cook, fix things, deal with people, clean up after themselves, etc. But as a teenager, I don’t feel like my kid’s life should revolve around those things and I don’t feel like those things being done is contingent on my child being able to enjoy his childhood. Then again, I also don’t “ground” my kid for random things. I will take away privileges, but not his basic rights. I have never sent my kid to bed without dinner. I have never withheld affection because he/she did something that made me mad. I always tell my kids I love them just in case one day I can’t, they will know I always did. So maybe I am not supermom and maybe I have messed up ideologies when it comes to parenting, but I have pretty darn good kids even if I never forced them mow the grass or wash the dishes or scrub the bathtub. All that stuff going through my head as I mowed a little patch of grass. You would think I was out there all day pondering this….