Life Skills Boot Camp

I came to a troubling conclusion the other day.

I asked the girls to do a very simple task for me. Put the next load of laundry in the washing machine. Easy peasy, right? Except not, because they looked at me like I was speaking Chinese.

“What?” I asked them. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Because,” Ana said, just a little indignantly, “we don’t know HOW to do laundry.”

I called foul on that right then and there, because I distinctly remember teaching them this skill back when we lived in Houston. I remember doing it because it was a beating to watch the two of them sort, wash, fold, and then put away the laundry for a couple of weeks. It took so long and required so much of my attention that I remember saying to myself, “It’ll be easier if I just do it myself.”

And it is easier. It’s LOADS easier. (No pun intended.) So is doing everything else around here from cleaning to cooking to laundry to… well, basically EVERYTHING is easier when I just do it myself.

But the sad reality of that kind of living is that I have an almost eleven and almost ten year old who are completely inept when it comes to the simplest things. “What is this?” Ana asked me the other day while looking at the microwave. “The stove or the oven?” For real, y’all. FOR REAL.

I’ve declared this the summer of “no more.” No more being lazy and doing all the work myself. What? Yes, the lazy part comes in when I don’t call up the reserve energy and patience it takes to teach these skills and actually let the girls practice doing them. No more calling off their work so I can just do it myself. No more taking the easy way out because it’s… well, easier. I want my kids to be better equipped for life in general, and believe it or not, it’s not just going to happen on its own. Gasp! I know, I know. I’m going to have to be intentional about these things. Ugh.

Up ahead for the Faulkettes at Life Skills Boot Camp… learning how to cook so that they won’t starve. (Genius.) Kitchen clean up. Doing their own laundry. Learning what exactly an iron is and why they’ll grow to loathe it. Sweeping Up Dog Hair, 101. Bathroom cleaning. Grocery shopping, including being able to locate and identify spices. Money management. Balancing a checkbook. Filling up the car with gas. Yard work.

In other words, if I survive this summer and Life Skills Boot Camp, I’m going to be taking it easy for the rest of my life. Well, at least until the girls are out of the house as adults who are able to function on their own and who know the difference between a stove, oven, and microwave. (Appalled, y’all. I was appalled!)

I was going to insert a cute picture of them smiling at the prospect of Life Skills Boot Camp, but there ain’t been no smilin’ around here about any of it. So I found this cute cartoon of a mother who actually did her job and started training her daughter to do these things back when she was young enough to still enjoy it. My bad, girls. I would say I’ll get it right with the next wave of kids, but I’ve already eliminated the possibility of more children, so… eh. That’s life.

Wish me luck…

One thought on “Life Skills Boot Camp

  1. Lisa says:

    Don’t forget how to sew on a button, or stitch up a seam. I work with high school kids, and we have life skills Fridays a couple times a year. How to use measuring cups (Oh no! It’s math). How to convert recipes if they are in metric. We also did manual letter writing, addressing and mailing . That was a killer! Prehistoric, but sometimes necessary.


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