“Being a parent is hard work” This my friends is an understatement! For me and our family, we are trying to find a happy balance. In our household, we have two totally different age groups when it comes to our children. On the one side we have two young adults (20 & 18) and on the other side we have two young children (8 & 3). It makes things difficult when there are different rules for the children. It makes it even harder when we all have to share space.
My girls share a room and there is a very delicate balance between finding privacy for Bree (college student) and play space for Bella (elementary student). For the boys, it is extremely hard. How do you share a room with a 20 year old (college student & part-time worker) and a 3 year old? At this point, Jeremy is living in the room and Bubba is in our room. For a while, Jeremy had been living with friends but in December he came home on a semi-permanent basis. The tricky part? While he and his friends were living on their own and he was adamant about staying in his living situation, we then gave his room to Bubba. By moving Bubba into Jeremy’s old room that meant that we got all of the toys and clothes out of our room (and there are LOTS of toys for Bubba) and he had his own space and we got our room back. The room went from being a teenage den to a toddler play room.
Fast forward a year and Jeremy is now back home and Bubba is our roommate again. Bubba’s toys, clothes and books are still in the room but so are Jeremy’s clothes, computer and other personal items. How do you find a happy medium for two boys who are in different stages of life? Honestly, I have no idea! We are still trying to figure this one out. If anyone has any ideas, please share.
When it comes to curfews, chores and bedtimes, this is tricky too. It’s hard to give a “curfew” to Jeremy as he works odd hours at his job (he was just given the title of Manager) and he comes and goes depending on when he’s needed at the store. Bree tends to become upset when we remind her that her curfew of 12:30 a.m. She doesn’t understand why she has to be home at that time and Jeremy comes and goes. Yes, she is 18 and in college and about to leave for Marine boot camp and I must constantly remind myself that if she was away at college we wouldn’t know about her comings & goings, but isn’t away at college, she lives at home and I know this is going to sound sexist but she is also a girl. (Insert eye rolls and reserve nasty comments please) Unfortunately for the older children, there is a double standard. Jeremy is a 20 year old young man who has lived on his own and works at a store that closes at 1 a.m. For Bree, the main point of contention is going out with friends or on dates with those who have a later curfew or no curfew at all. She then gets mad when I am stern and refuse to bend on the 12:30 a.m. curfew. She doesn’t understand that there really is no reason to be out so late at night. I was always told, “Nothing good happens after midnight“, and I believe this to be so. I don’t think she will understand my point of view on this until she has a daughter of her own.
When it comes to bedtimes for the little ones, there is no less of a rivalry there too. Bella has a firm bedtime of 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. She is a cranky child if she does not get enough sleep and she too just does not understand why she has to go to bed and Bubba is still up. Bubba on the other hand is a different story. We try to get him in bed when we go to sleep. This boy does not like to sleep and never has. Even as a newborn this boy did not like to sleep. I have to admit that we (and by we I mean ME) got him in a bad habit of going to bed with the Kindle when he was sleeping in his room and that habit has followed him now that he is back in our room. Unfortunately, breaking him of this habit has proven hard. There are times when he will go to sleep without the Kindle and then there are nights that we hear Netflix going. Although lately, this has gotten better and he goes to sleep before we do.
Chores! This one is so hard. The older two children have always had chores to do. Getting them to do the chores now is a bit of a touchy subject. For me and my husband, we believe that as long as you are living in our home, you should help around the house. Heck, I was 26 years old, living at home with my mom (while my house was being built) & had three children and I STILL had to do chores living with her. The problem, for some odd reason, my older children think that they are now some how exempt from doing chores. How they came to that determination is beyond me. I swear it’s like pulling teeth to get the older children to do chores. There needs to be a constant reminder of what needs to be done. The funny thing is that we have had the same chore chart on the refrigerator for years. Only a few modifications have been made but the chores and who does them hasn’t. Now we are looking at adding chores for Bella and Bubba. Yes, we are adding a chores for our 3 year old. If he is old enough to make a mess then he is old enough to clean it up.
I wish there was a manual to give direction on how to raise two different age groups of children. Unfortunately, we are learning as we go and sometimes there are going to be mistakes made. From those mistakes, we learn and keep that one file because whatever mistakes we make with the older kids we will learn NOT to do with the younger kids. Here’s to happy parenting and making through the next round of teenage years relatively unscathed.