Leading the Responsibility Train

Whoot-whoot.... All aboard! Next stop, Resisting Temptation Station!

My husband and I encouraged our college-age son to get a job. My husband and I both worked our way through college and we felt it taught us a few things as well as gave us a sense of pride and a good path to financial responsibility - and we want this for our kids as well. (Whoot-whoot... sorry, I just tooted my own horn a bit. Okay, done with that, I promise.)

We want this.... but we don't want to be inconvenienced by it.

That is how the actual statement should go. (Pssshhhhhhhhhh, steam comes out, train starts to chug a bit...clearly we are going up a hill.)

We want our son to have a job, we are proud that he tackled the interviewing process and the paperwork and all those things that come with getting a job. We love to hear stories about his recent work experiences when we talk to him on the phone. His voice sounds happy and it makes us happy. We want to know that if he ever comes to us and says he needs to borrow money that he first tried to earn it himself. We want all of these things but - - contingency alert! - - we also want to make sure he's available to come home for every major holiday and for a few other random times that we don't have scheduled so much as just want to have some family time.

Is that too much to ask?

Apparently, the answer is yes.

Yes because when your child gets a new job they are newbie. (And you know this, as an adult, because you've likely started new jobs yourself - ahem, unless you were born wealthy and have never worked a day in your life in which case WTH ARE YOU DOING HERE??) The bottom-of-the-totem-pole. The bathroom cleaners and garbage-taker-outers. Moms and dads we know this, right? We've waited tables and scanned groceries and cleaned hotel rooms and filled drive-thru orders. We've been the new kid at work.

And newbs - in case your memory has failed you - are the ones that are working the hours that no one else wants to work. Which are - you guessed it - major holidays and random weekends.

Parent friends - if you find yourself in these shoes we need to resist the temptation. Because it will be there and it will be s-t-r-o-n-g! to encourage them to take the out. "Just quit. They can't force you. They'll be other jobs."

Nooooooooooooooo. We musn't. We must not teach that to this generation. There's a whole generation above them that does that (their names are mill-enn-i-als) and we get to shape a new generation that picks it and sticks it. ...Okay that sounds a little weird. Like a booger or something. For clarification - they pick (a job) and stick with it (through the newb stage.)

Newbies don't stay newbies forever. We know this. Eventually a new hire or crop of new hires comes aboard and your child moves up a notch (yay!) to a place where they can have a bit more freedom (I'd like Christmas Eve off please, so I can see my family. They're crazy but it's what we do.)

My point, in this rant-of-ridiculous, is that if you ever thought, because a nurse handed you a baby to take home from the hospital that you must be responsible - newsflash - that is not an automatic. There are plenty of dipturd parents out there that never should have been allowed to take home a child from the hospital (I'm sure you just named three in your head) so this whole "responsibility" title is sort of a-work-in-progress. We're given a little to see how we handle it, then we're given a little more. And so it goes.

If we are going to encourage our children to become responsible adults - we must first act like it ourselves. Fight the good fight, Mamas (and dads? Are there dads here? I always wonder that...) and there may be times of sucky (kid not there for Easter??) but hopefully the end result is worth it (kid doesn't live in your basement still at age 30.)

Rah rah sis boom bah - you can do it and all that jazz. (Sorry, cheerleader habits die hard. Mine are still alive and well.)