Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Independence or Neglect?

SOOOO, I have a lot of kids . . . I know some people have more, some have less. It's really a matter of perspective, but my four kids keep me busy and slop a lot on my plate. I am not complaining, really, I kinda function better in overload, AND I like their slop. If I get too much crossed off my list, Tyler says, I create things so I can have a full list, so I am glad 4 kids keeps me busy so I don't feel the need to continue birthing kids. Regardless of how or what I have going on, I find I am a firm believer in INDEPENDENCE. I love, love, love little babies. At about age one, though, I am ready for them to grow and develop and gain more and more independence. Let's face it, moms celebrate the milestones of pulling up pants on his/her own or walking out and getting in the car without assistance. When Kenzie was barely 5 and Brevin was a baby and Caylee was 2, I coached Mackenzie to walk to her gymnastics class by herself from the front door of the big multi-gen center and thinking, maybe this is a little too much for a 5 year old to do solo. BUT she was fine and was accustomed to it after I dropped her off the very next week since the babies were asleep in the car. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
So, fast forward three years, and now I have two very independent girls. Caylee will regularly tell me she doesn't need me to come (anywhere) with her. At an earlier age than Kenz, Caylee has decided she has carte blanche to make some big girl decisions. She answers the phone and secretaries for me. She dictates her wardrobe and hair styles (we have knock downs over this one.) Lately, though, she has wanted me to leave her home to babysit when I have to run carpool or around the corner or even to the grocery store. Usually it's because she is watching a show or involved in an art project, and especially if she knows Brock is asleep. And to confess, sometimes I let her stay at home. Not often, and only when I know I am going to be quick. So, yeah, my almost 5 year old gets to be the real boss while I swoop Kenzie from school. So, am I a negligent mom to let her stay home? Yup. I tell myself I am fostering independence, but in the back of my mind I know my criminal defense would be pretty shoddy.
Does anyone else think back to the day when you could be home alone all day or watched over by your barely older siblings or sit in a car while your mom or dad ran into the grocery store (even with the air conditioning off, GASP!)? I can't get convince these little girls that they need to stay little when I am usually encouraging them to be a little more grown and independent. I've probably messed this one up, too. Shrug. BTW, my boys, not really so in to being independent, at least Brevin. He's my "I can't" kid, even though I know he can, like buckling his seatbelt, picking out his clothes, etc. So, I imagine I am learning some real perspective that will probably follow thru with the majority of both my girls' and boys' lives.


Daniel said...

I think that you are not a negligent mom. But for real use DVR or Tivo and take them with you. Cause what happens if a neighbor comes over or a ups guy delivers a package. I dunno in this day and age that sounds scary to me. Of course I do not know your kids but we are talking about the 5 year old? I am not a parent and I am not sure how far you are going but all in all I would say probabley not the safest idea and probabley not something you would want to put in an open forum admitting really.
However on the flip side in the old days your 5 year old would be left home alone to do the Laundrey and start dinner but I am not so sure that arguement would work for CPS and some person that did not already know that you over think everything..

slave said...

Sooooo Sarah it is good to raise independent kids. I have 9 of them and yes I am guilty of leaving one or two of them home alone for a little bit. Legally there is no law at how old a child has to be to be left home alone. Sarah was babysitting at the age of 9. We had a beeper. I made her watch a first aid video. Different kids mature at different rates. Only the mother knows.

sarah said...

that's it i'm calling social services! J/K LOL you are so funny. You make it sound like it is a big deal. I leave Mikayla to wwatch Trenton in the house while i go down the street to get the mail is that bad? LOL