Parenting Tip 99

Mom! Are you using Parenting Tip 99 on me?

What’s that, Daughter?

Offer to do a chore and then do it so horribly that your kid can’t stand to watch anymore and just does it for you.

Hmmm. That wasn’t the strategy when I offered to mow the backyard, but I’ll take it. Parenting Tip 99, it is.

The lawn mowing adventure started this morning with cool temperatures, overgrown grass, and several able-bodied people home together for summer break. Knowing that it would not be an easy task, I summoned middle-school girl-child and asked if she wanted to mow front or back yard.

Offer choices. I’m doing great!

She chose front yard.

I went to find middle-school boy child to break the news that he would be mowing the back yard and received news of my own.

What! I always weed whack! No. That’s not my job.

Ah. Classic response AND mother snafu.

Know your plan and people’s regular jobs before announcing changes.

Since I mow better than weed whack, I offered to mow the back yard.

Let me clarify. Since I have mowed a lawn once and weed whacked never, I figured I would practice my mowing skills.

Ok. Then I will mow the back yard.

I’ll mow it, Mom, girl-child replied upon hearing the news. I usually do.

No, I said I would do it, and I need the practice.

I promise that I wasn’t being passive-aggressive.

Walking around the mower a few times and fiddling with this and that, I realized that I needed to ask for help. Back inside I went to ask eleven-year-old daughter to help with starting the mower.

That might have been when she realized I needed some supervision and direction. She began instructing me in the backyard mowing techniques and patterns that her father taught her.

Do you want me to go around the edges like Dad did for me the first times I mowed the grass?

Sure, that would be helpful.

She arranged the picnic table up on end to begin the first section, started the mower, and began to walk. I watched.

When it was my turn, I clumsily began pushing. It was harder than it appeared until my instructor showed me the lever that would activate the self-propelling feature. Then it was too fast.

Here, let me show you. Wait! MOM! Are you using Parenting Tip 99 on me?

That’s when I learned about Parenting Tip 99. It’s also when I remembered how hilarious all of my kids are when they are not driving me crazy!

I promised that I wasn’t. I really wanted to learn how to mow the lawn, and she was being a great teacher. We were making some amazing memories, as well.

The lawn is now mowed. Teamwork during the morning means one less thing for Dad to have to supervise in the evening. We are trying to navigate this summer.

With Mom at the lawn mower’s helm, anything can happen!

Thanks for heart-composting with me! I appreciate your words.

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