The other day my five year old bitterly said to me "You don't do anything for us". That stung for a moment. And then as I pondered her statement I began to see that from her perspective she is quite accurate.
You see I have one wish:
for my children to be independent.
I want them to know the rules and to play by them when necessary but mostly I want them know when to break them and then have the courage to do so.
I wish for my children to be free thinkers, creative, independent people who care for the pack but also lead their own.
I send them off to school to learn societal expectations, norms, rules, and the unavoidable system found in life and then I allow them freedom at home. It's a wonderfully confusing mix to scramble their brain and hopefully teach them independence.
What this looks like in real life:
For two years my oldest went to Kindergarten and then first grade with bed head, terrible breath and typically pj's. While I wasn't thrilled with this, it was more important to me for her to accept responsibility for her hair, her teeth and her clothing than to do it for her. These things didn't become a priority to her until second grade. Thankfully, it happened but truth be told I was prepping for another year of pajama girl.
My children don't do back to school shopping. I've managed to keep them out of some cultural nonsense, like spending hundred of dollars on new fancy clothes to stake your social status int he first few days of school. In fact I don't care what my children wear as long as it doesn't sexualize them. They can match or not. They select and dress themselves, and I don't say a word, except to compliment them on their bee-utiful choice. Another note: we love and value hand-me-downs. Since their closet is 90% hand me downs sprinkled in with new gifted pieces, this is yet another way for them to be independent.
Instilling independence in young ones is a power play.
I hope they grow up to know their own personal power and forever live from that place. I wish the same for you as well.