You’re Committed, Except When I’m Not {A Parenting Quandary}

You’re Committed, Except When I’m Not {A Parenting Quandary}


Role Models

I try to be a good role model for my kids.  Note: I say that I try, I do not say that I am.  I fail at it on a pretty constant basis, but I’m committed.  I’m committed to being the best role model I can, even when I’m teaching them what not to do.  Our kids are like little miniature versions of us.  Sometimes they do things, things that make us cringe, because we see them mimicking us and we don’t like what we see.

By Example

There are two reoccurring evening activities on our schedule.  One is Girl Scouts on Tuesday evenings and the other is gymnastics on Wednesday evening.  The girl doesn’t always want to go to either (nor do I), but I’ve made a big deal in the past about commitment and generally make her go whether she wants to or not.

After battling strep throat, having a sick boy and subsequently getting sick again myself, I have been drained all week.  I haven’t slept well, I can’t breath and I’m all sneezy, snotty and nasty.  *I* didn’t want to go to Girl Scouts this week.  Being the adult, I have the luxury of making that decision, so I did.  No scouts.

Wednesdays (gymnastics) are very rushed for us.  I have exactly 1 hour to make my 45 minute commute, scoop her up and have her dropped off – ready to go – at gymnastics.  She takes her leotard with her to school and changes at after-school, so all I have to do is pick her up and go.  This evening, I pulled up to after-school, hopped out of the car and hustled inside to usher her on.

She wasn’t dressed.  “Why aren’t you dressed?”

“I don’t want to go to gymnastics.  I’m tired.”

The part of me who left my house at 6:45 AM wanted to say that she didn’t want to deal with a child who hasn’t done what she knew she was supposed to do.  The rational parent part of me went down the road of commitment.  You committed to gymnastics.  We pay for gymnastics.  Blah, blah, blah.

Addison WEB04Then There’s That

We headed to the car, me trying to convince the girl in a very quick way that she needed to go to gymnastics.  Yes, I know you are tired.  Yes, I know it’s cold and raining and yucky out – but you committed to this.

My friend and co-worker with whom I often carpool happened to be with me today.  She was sitting in the car waiting on us to come out and do the normal Wednesday rush of pickup, gymnastics drop off and pick up of boy wonder.  Feeling a little exacerbated, I turned to my friend and said something about the girl not wanting to go to gymnastics and how I hated to see her think it’s ok to skip out on commitments.

That was when she reminded me that *I* had bailed on our commitment just a day ago.  Girl Scouts.  I didn’t feel like going, so we didn’t, but here I sit – trying to tell my daughter she has to do something because she committed to it – less than 24 hours after flaking for both of us on a commitment myself.

Game Set Match

I’ve been thinking about that since we got home.  How do I teach my daughter about upholding her commitments while allowing some flexibility?  Forcing her to do something she doesn’t want to do isn’t going to work (at least not for mine) and clearly I am not setting the best example with my own actions.

How do you teach your children about commitment and what it means to honor the commitments we make?  Any special tips or tricks to share?  Do you let your children skip activities without consequence?

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5 Responses to You’re Committed, Except When I’m Not {A Parenting Quandary}

  1. Amber says:

    My daughter just has gymnastics and yes, I make her go even if she whines about it. Sometimes I don’t want to go either but I think about how we pay for it and that gets my butt going.

    Love that photo you included. So pretty!

  2. Rosey says:

    That’s a tough round of questions, I wish I could help. I have four kids and am still learning such answers. 🙂

  3. That’s a hard one. I have a teen and I still find myself saying, “I won’t pay for dance if you don’t go.” Honestly though, sometimes these kids need a break and you have to give in a little. When you do, make sure she knows it’s the exception.

  4. That’s a hard one and one that I’m still learning myself. My husband and I don’t have kids but we still have commitments that we must hold to, even when we don’t want to. Finding the balance is one of the hardest things in my opinion.

  5. I have an 8 year old son and an infant daughter… I haven’t had these arguments YET but I know they are coming. I love your real thoughts vs what you said! I think we can all relate!

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