It all started with a snowsuit. I had worked through the 1,799 of the 1,800 steps necessary to leave the house with a six month old and a two year old. The baby and I were bundled (and roasting) in our mudroom. The two year old was a puddle of himself on the heated floor. His cheeks were red from screaming and writhing. I was calculating how late we would be to our appointment my blood pressure rising with each growing minute and decibel.
Back home after a frantic doctors appointment and an aborted grocery store run I finally unzipped the snow suit and the toddler bounded out of it, his mood seemingly unaffected by the temper tantrum that would never end. Yet it had floored me. I was literally still on the floor, a sleeping baby beside me and the feeling that I might never stand up again.
So I got help. Not in the form of therapy or child care (although both of those are excellent options) but the straightforward, humorous, helpful and life changing parenting workshop by Vicki Hoefle.
Steve and I created a road map, coordinated our parenting philosophy, set up morning and evening routines, and reaped the benefits of a weekly Family Meeting. Ten years later I have two boys who help around the house without discussion. They manage their time and their school work. They save their money and buy their friends birthday presents. They keep track of their backpacks and sneakers, or they face the natural consequences taught by the world rather than a nagging parent. They remind each other of tools they have to work through an angry mood.
All of this means that Steve and I have the energy to be present for them emotionally and are eager to share our free time. At least most of the time.
As I write this and sip my tea my boys are leaving for school. They are early and call out a series of goodbyes wishing Steve and I a happy day. Their teeth are brushed, their snacks are packed, their stuff (probably) in their back packs. I have not nagged this morning or since two days after our first parenting class. Denver is bright and sunny today so neither of them leave with a coat, let alone a snow suit. If that weren’t the case I know they would have wrangled it alone. Or left it behind to learn from the cold.
My kids are 9 and 11 and they have more than half of the skills they need to live on their own. Do yours?
There is not a thing in my life that has been more valuable than taking her class. I invite you to join Steve (I am in Vegas, baby) at a two day Intensive Workshop “Growing a Grown Up” in Denver on April 15th and16th. http://vickihoefle.com/workshop/
Be prepared for some straight talk and calls to action.