It first occurred to me one day when I saw that once again my sweet Peyton had straightened the entire downstairs. Peyton is my little nanny/personal assistant/ housekeeper. She folds laundry, sets the table, takes care of Flynn, and helps with the overall running of the house. I immediately began to think that Madison never does these things without being asked. Again and again. And again. Then I had a moment of clarity. A honest to goodness light bulb moment.
As much as it is important to be fair and consistent in regards to chores and responsibilities, it is also equally important to recognize each child's individuality and interests. Children are indeed individuals. Each child has his or her own interests and strengths and passions. It is hard to remember that sometimes, and children often get grouped together and expected to respond and behave in the same way.
As I looked around that morning and saw the work Peyton had done, I realized that Peyton enjoyed straightening and baking and pushing Flynn on the swing for hours on end. Rather than become irritated that Madison rarely seemed to help with these things, I thought about all the things she DOES do. Madison loves to help me with my hair and makeup. She always makes sure I look my best when I have a special place to go. Madison paints my nails and Flynn's too. Madison is also a very social person. She spends a lot of time visiting with my mother and helping her around her house. She plans and hosts parties at the senior center too. These are wonderful things and I realized they are equally important as the household chores Peyton does for me.
Rhett also does his share, and while it isn't exactly the same as the girls, it is part of who he is and what he enjoys. Rhett is very close with my father, and spends a great deal of time talking to him on the phone about movies and baseball and soccer. He is extremely loving and patient when my sweet father repeats the same question or gets slightly confused. Rhett also makes sure that my refrigerator is well stocked with my favorite drink of choice...Cherry Coke.
Flynn, as young as she is, shows tendencies toward organizing and home keeping. She loves to help with the laundry and is a pro at making my coffee. Oh, and did I mention she loves to Swiffer the kitchen floor?
This does not mean that my children always love what they do. Of course, Madison still has certain responsibilities like unloading the dishwasher or vacuuming that she is less than excited about. Rhett still needs to be reminded to replace the garbage bag several times. And Peyton still needs to be prodded to call her grandma on the phone, because that is just not her thing. It means that I have realized how important it is to meet my children where they are, and to celebrate their gifts and strengths and interests. It also means that I have found that my children seem to do a job better and with less grief when it is something they enjoy. ; )
Motherhood is indeed a blessing...a vocation...and a chance to learn as well as teach. And I thank God everyday for allowing me to do just that.