Our oldest turned 11 this month.
We are past the fog of the early years and moving away from a moment-to-moment focus.
The way things have played out:
- 0-6 years old => learn to get along with others
- 6-12 years old => learn how to learn
- 12 years old onwards => learn how to live independently
With a desire to prepare the kids for Phase Three, I ask myself, “How do my kids see me act?”
I find myself lacking at this transitional point.
My kids’ teen years will not be well served by listening to me complain. Complaining is endemic in my demographic, usually about the shortcomings of others.
Most my complaining is internal.
Likewise, they won’t be served well by watching me manage a team of staff to cater to their every whim. You see, my strong marriage (today) is a function of a decade of outside assistance around our home. Creeping ever-upwards, this outside help had a side-effect of my kids getting used to being waited on (and me doing less at home).
Beware of the double-whammy => complaining about the staffing required to take care of things you’re unwilling to do.
So I need to change, but what should I change?
My situation or my attitude?
Start by considering what you know is true. In my case…
We have stable finances, a loving family and good health
I’m thinking that this indicates that I need to adjust my attitude rather than my situation.
That block quote is a worth considering in your own life.
Are your problems your problem?
My problems aren’t my problem. I have great problems. I’ve done a good job of improving them.
But it is more than my attitude that needs adjusting.
An improved attitude will correct the faulty thinking inside me but it will not prepare my kids to live in the world.
My kids have _really_ short memories => they are completely dominated by the recent past.
With this in mind, I’ve been playing a new game => introducing my family to TINA (there is no alternative).
The game is cutting outside assistance (nannies, sitters, au pairs and cleaners) and consolidating our schedules. It’s a test if outside help really helps.
We are three-quarters of the way through a reduction of ~4,000 hours of annual assistance. TINA forces us to “work it out” and gives us an incentive to train the kids.
Now, being pointman on cleaning our toilets has not improved my life.
However, and this is an essential insight, my_life_is_no_worse after I have removed the outside assistance.
This lack of negative impact makes me wonder, “Did the decade-long upward creep of spending actually made my life better?”
In the heat of the preschool years, it most certainly did.
However, my kids aren’t the only ones growing up.