Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Un-Mom

I've been contemplating changing the name of this blog to 'The UnMother' or 'How to UnMother your Children'.


Because most of the thoughts I have lately relate to unmothering my children.  UnMothering is likely not a word or even a societal concept.  It has become one in my household.  After 20 years of mothering I have had enough.  I'm done.  Toast.  Totally over it.

I've never considered my kids spoiled.  If they have the latest gadgets it's because they paid it themselves.  And still at the end of the day they lay around while I clean the house; leave dirty dishes on the counter and their dirty clothes on the bathroom floor.  Normal kid stuff really.

There was one area of mothering where I finally snapped.

It happened about a month ago.  After hearing "What's for dinner?" and "There's nothing to eat in this house!" for the millionth time in a week I realized I needed to make a change or heads were going to roll.  I was (am) fed up with being the only person in the house that could see a full pantry and refrigerator.

My children all know how to cook for themselves and are quite creative when they need to be but unfortunately if food doesn't fly out of the cupboard and land on their plates ready to be devoured they just don't have it in them to bother.

This is where I decided to 'unmother' the food situation in the house.

I decided it was high time (my boys are ages 14, 17 & 20; perfectly capable and might I add old enough) that I put the responsibility on their shoulders to make sure there is always food in the house that they WILL eat.

Two weeks ago I handed each of my boys $40 in gift cards to a local grocery store to last them two weeks.  The deal?  Every two weeks they will receive $40 for groceries; they have to plan and budget and prepare what they purchase for themselves.  I will still provide the necessities of course; bread, milk, cheese, eggs, crackers (basically ALL of the regular groceries I normally buy).  I am no longer in charge of lunch foods and anything they would want to eat for dinner should they find themselves not liking what I've cooked for the family.

PS - I have never cooked separate meals for the boys.  It's always been like it or lump it.  We don't live in a fast food restaurant and yet they still have it in their heads that one of these days I will magically change my ways.

I'm pretty impressed with the way this 'unmothering' experiment has worked out actually.  They get out the weekly flyers and look for things on sale.  They get their own carts and shopping bags and set out in the store on their own in search of the things they want and need.  Not once have I had to step in and give them more money.  And I don't analyze what's in their carts either.

Today is grocery money day.  They are patiently waiting to go grocery shopping tonight.

The youngest was actually excited to be learning how to budget his own money and being able to have control over what kinds of snacks to take in his lunch.

My husband had some reservations about this experiment.  He thought they'd spend all of their money on crap food.  They might.  They have.  I don't care.  The release of stress from my life with regards to the food situation is totally worth it.

In two weeks I have not heard one "There's nothing to eat in this house".

That's blissful.