Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em

I have done a pretty good job of ‘getting the bluff’ on my kids when it comes to the whole discipline thing. Both my kids knew when I meant business and not to push me on an issue.

For years, Colton has tried to see if he could get me to back down on anything and of course he learned each and every time he just can’t do it. And he is good at it. When he was little and it was bedtime, he somehow became extremely dehydrated while also needing to empty his bladder. There was also the regular nightmare that woke him up after 1 minute of being tucked in. Now as a teenager, he’s seemed to have lost all abilities to read simple instructions to prepare food and when asked to clean something, he becomes the most incompetent individual alive.

So here’s the thing, much to my son’s disappointed, I don’t fall for these very obvious tricks like my husband does. But I will confess and actually show a little of my hand to my son, Colton (that is if he ever reads this). I will say I do believe Colton has got me on laundry.

Less than a year ago, I made the decision I was tired of doing everyone’s laundry, my daughter already did her own, but I still took care of my husband’s, son’s, and the shared household items. So I felt like I did laundry all the time. Well my husband took some time (after an hour of discussion) to adjust, but he finally accepted his new fate of being responsible for his own clean clothes.

My son, though, handled the news differently. Colton willingly agreed to take care of his own laundry. Apparently though, one of us didn’t check the fine print on this new agreement. I didn’t know that letting my son take care of his laundry meant that he would have a mound of clean clothes on the floor beside the mound of dirty clothes. I was shocked to learn that he would rarely ever wear matching socks or that his attitude would be “I just wanna buy new socks and underwear instead of wash them”. And to my surprise I never expected my son’s capability to tolerate an overloaded dirty clothes hamper, sleeping on piles of clean clothes, or walking on piles of dirty clothes would outlast my desire to no longer be the laundry maid. But it did. He won the laundry battle of wills.

I tried and tried to outlast him, but I couldn’t do it. He continues to win the laundry battle. And I, the loser, find that every couple of weeks I am spending a day helping him with getting his laundry caught up while saying ‘I’m going help you this time, but don’t let it pile up again.’

But here’s the thing I’ve realized about this whole laundry issue, I think I’m okay with doing his laundry a little longer. It is just laundry, and if I really wanted to wield my parental power over him, I could. It’s not even been an issue or argument. For me, it’s been one of those ‘pick your battle’ things. It’s never been a rebellious stance on Colton’s part. He’s just wanting to avoid doing laundry as long as possible. I get it, I avoid doing laundry.

So I’ve decided I can do his laundry a little while longer, because it won’t be long when he will have to do his own laundry. I’m aware that very soon his room won’t be filled with dirty clothes. The piles of clothes will be gone because before long this won’t be where he lives anymore.

I’m gonna let him enjoy having his mom take care of the laundry thing. I’m gonna give myself the freedom to dote on him in this small way and not worry about trying to prepare him for the world he’s about to enter. I’ve decided I want to spend the next year letting him feel the familiarity of childhood for a brief moment and not continue to bombard him with lectures on how he needs to learn to take care of all these things. Because he’s going to be out in the world very soon and he’ll have to take care of all those adult things then.
So while he is not little anymore, maybe for a while longer I can do some extra laundry and let him remember the comforts of being little.

Disclaimer for my husband – this temporary laundry negotiation only applies to said person namely Colton Nichols for the duration of his being a dependent in our household.

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.

Proverbs 1:8-9

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward

Psalm 127:3

Until next time

Lots of love to you and yours

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