Babies are born 100% selfish. This is not mean, or the ravings of a disgruntled parent, but simply a fact. They come into this world with traits and genetic predispositions, but otherwise, as other psychologists have said, babies are a “blank book.” It is our job to raise them and teach them.
And I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but selflessness and gratitude are NOT one of the traits with which kiddos are born.
Having said that, how do we teach our beloved ingrates to be grateful? First, by example. Always thank your children and teach them to be thankful regardless of how they feel.
For example: I hate a meal a host fed me after inviting me for dinner. If I were a “typical” 2 or 3 year old, I might shuffle things around on my plate, my face contorted so as to properly show my disgust. I might even groan, or shove my plate or say how much I hate broccoli. But I’m an adult and I’ve learned manners. I’ll stomach the dinner and smile and thank my host graciously.
Are opinions bad? No. They’re normal. We’re not robots. We have feelings and tastes that aren’t the same as everyone else’s. As a parent, that’s annoying. As an adult, get used to it.
So, here I am: a mother of seven, beautiful, wonderful blessings. Seven children who also happen to be suffering from a serious case of complaining and ingratitude. And I, as their insufferable mother, am now suffering from a serious case of FED UP.
I wake up at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday to shower and make my sweethearts breakfast. I then get them up, pack 5 lunches, and send them off to school (OMG I miss homeschooling). Then, in the evenings, I make a healthy dinner. At this point, “thank yous” are whatever. But not complaining?! I would pay any amount for that! But ain’t no one paying me. Let alone, thanking me.
Enter my crash course (with a follow- up to be included in seven days’ time):
The rules are really simple: I’m not making s**** for a week. I bought all the ingredients for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Do the rest yourself. I even bought cereal (as a rule, I think cereal is garbage, with no nutritional value whatsoever)! If you make dinner, make it for your younger siblings also. If one of the older 4 doesn’t like it, make your own. I will make breakfast and lunch for my youngest 3 (6 year old, autistic, 4 and 3).
Here’s the catchy part: I didn’t tell them this is punishment, or that I’m sick of their complaining, wastefulness, ingratitude, etc. I announced it Sunday evening with excitement and anticipation. “It’s a learning and personal growth week!” I said. It is, actually. But it is also very much a fed up mommy wanting her kiddos to appreciate what they have.
As I write this, I close in on Day 1. Not huge, I know. But for this mommy, it’s everything:
They chose cereal in the morning because waking up and cooking? Who does that?! *Hand slapping face*
After eating and dressing, they packed their own lunches. One kid microwaved bacon, packed cheerios, applesauce, made a sandwich, and a drink!
When they came home, they relaxed a bit. Then the 14 year old browned some ground beef and made nachos for all his siblings.
Normal dish duty ensued.
Day One? SUCCESS!
I’ll update soon 😁