Sharon usually saw her kids off to school every morning. She cooked breakfast and made sure they had everything they needed before they headed for the bus.
However, as the summer months came and there was less to do, she was worried her kids would lose all incentive to wake up early and get things done.
She's come up with a surprising way to keep them active and involved in house chores and even cooking breakfast. It all started in the winter when the days were so much shorter, and she felt more tired and slept in occasionally.
Since then, every time she gets up late, her son does the things he's used to seeing his mom doing for him. And his siblings are following his example. They don't just ask their dad to do what their mom can't. They are learning to rely on themselves.
As it turns out, this exchange and constant care for each other has filled Sharon's home with smiles and plenty of good cheer.
What are the details?
"My kid was gone by the time I came down for breakfast that morning—not in an alarming way. Just off to school, on the bus, with his lunch and all his stuff. The good kind of gone. I used to see my kids out the door every single morning. One of the perks of a work-from-home job is I can enjoy the morning send-off and do my best, so they get a good start to their day. I happily helped with lunches and did preschool drop-offs and walks to elementary school. I still take walks over there with my youngest, and it's a lovely time of day for both of us," Sharon shared with Your Teen Mag about how her days usually start, particularly since she switched to working from home, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Despite her efforts, she accidentally slept in some mornings as her son was going to school. And that showed her a way to improve her parenting skills.
"Somewhere along the line, I slept through my seventh-grade son's departure. That was in early winter when all the days were short; it's still dark when he walks out the front door. And then I slept past it again, and I decided this was getting silly: I should get up to say goodbye to him. The next time I heard the familiar morning stirring, I blinked my way downstairs to find my son and husband in the kitchen."
And suddenly, she realized they had been able to manage while allowing her to get some extra rest. No one was stressed or agitated. Instead, they greeted her with smiles, and everyone was upbeat. And it wasn't because her husband was doing everything. Her son was learning to cook his breakfast and prepare everything he needed.
"What was going on here? All those mornings without me, he had done the job on his own. He was getting the bus on time, and not because he was asking his dad to do the same things he was asking me. He just did it. My son was absolutely fine without me. But the second I showed up, he suddenly needed me."
That didn't surprise Sharon; besides, she still likes to feel she can help her kids. And, she realized that getting a bit of space from each other was actually comforting.
"I can't blame him. I was the one who'd come into the kitchen and ask whether there was any fruit in his lunch and, oh, did he know his socks didn't match? Was he sure he didn't want long pants today? So it wasn't really that he needed to separate from me. It wasn't a get-tough-on-lazy-kids thing. It's just that sometimes I need to separate from him, too."
Since then, Sharon has slept in more mornings, but she doesn't make it a habit. She simply tries to create an opportunity for her son to learn to do things on his own but is still there for him more than half of the weekdays.
"I'm still working on it. Tomorrow is picture day. That outfit—whatever it is—will be all him, just like his mornings. If I sleep in, my son steps up," Sharon concluded about the fun way she learned that being a mom is not about always getting up before everyone else.