Years ago I founded Village of Life to bring back the Village atmosphere that I knew growing up. Where any adult could correct a child or teenager when they saw them doing something they shouldn’t. When I was unable to create that atmosphere fast enough in my community, I moved home where that atmosphere still exists. My girls were nearly teenagers and I felt I needed help raising them.
I have been so fortunate to move back to a community where parents join together to help each other. The amount of service we have received has been amazing. Friends and neighbors are often stepping in to help even when I do not ask for help. My neighbor two doors down is always so good to mow my lawn when he notices that it has not been done for more than a week. My children’s friends often give them rides to activities when I am too busy. And I know that I can call on anyone of them in a moments notice to stay with my children when I have to travel for work. As much as I appreciate all the love and support I receive, sometimes these blessings are a curse.
My children have started to expect too much from others. I’m trying to teach my girls to be self sufficient and hard working. So I often make them do a chore before they can go do anything with friends. If chores are not done, I quietly tell them I would be happy to give them a ride as soon as their chores get done. Unfortunately, they have noticed that if they put off mowing the lawn long enough, the neighbor will do it for them. They have also stopped asking me for a ride and just ask their friends for rides instead so I can’t hold a ride to an activity over their head to get chores done.
I hate to say, “Please stop helping me.” I know you are doing it to be a good neighbor and friend. But please stop helping me. Your help is undermining my authority as a parent. If you really want to be a good friend, invite me over for lunch or tea. Go out with me for a Lady’s Night. Give me an excuse to have an uninterrupted, adult conversation. So much of my life revolves around my children. Help me remember to make myself a priority every now and then. That will be the most helpful thing you can possibly do for me and my children. Creating appropriate consequences for my children while making myself a priority will inevitably make me a better parent. In turn, this will help my children to grow up to be the kind of employees that America desperately needs.
Thanks for reading. Please leave your tips in the comments on how to render acts of service to busy parents without undermining their authority.