Dear Dr. Laura,
We have two respectful, responsible, academic and moral sons ages 12 and 15. Notice I didn't say "beautiful" - haha. Both boys spend much of their time working on school projects, playing tennis, volunteering for our church, and various community service opportunities. My younger son is excited that he is old enough to volunteer his time at a children's museum this summer, as his older brother did last year. My oldest son just received top honors and was elected valedictorian for his graduating class, and will be attending a teen police academy this summer for a new and different community service experience.
As a stay-at-home mom, time is racing by, and I see on horizon them moving on in just a few short years.
Friends will often ask me how to handle discipline, school work, allowances, chores, etc. When I describe the way we handle these issues in our home, the reply is often, "Wow you should write a book!"
From childless acquaintances I often hear, "When I have a kid, I want them to be just like yours..." I then talk about the privilege of staying home and the impact of a mom's influence when the time comes for them to start a family.
Sadly, 100 percent of the time these "friends" have chosen to return to work and put their kids in day care or a nanny situation. They want what we have, but are not willing to put in the time, and are then dismayed that their kids are struggling academically, emotionally and spiritually. They justify this decision because they have found a "great nanny" who can speak a foreign language and the child will learn this new skill. Or in day care they can make friends and that is so important for kids. No. What's important is having a loving parent day in and day out. I have often said, "I don't care if the nanny is Mother Teresa, they are not ME."
As my youngest and I left our pediatrician's office today there was a ceramic artwork sign hanging on the exit door into the waiting room. It read "You are not raising a major inconvenience, you are raising a human being." I wish every parent would embrace that sentiment.