Monday, August 29, 2011

What Would Nanny Do? (really LONG post)

DD and I have been watching "Nanny 911"--a reality TV show where a British nanny visits the home of an American family (supposedly for a week) and tries to help the family with their biggest/most problematic parenting issues.

It's been quite interesting and I was pleased to note that a lot of the problems faced by the families with younger children were not things we struggled with when our children were small. Things like bedtime and chores and sleeping in one's own bed.

These days, only the two youngest are still at home. Sonshine is 15, soon to be 16 and DD is 21.

As we watched episode after episode after episode, I began to ask myself: if one of the two nannies spent a week in our house, what would she see and what would she say? So I've been thinking about that...

On a side note, one episode featured a family who moved a lot. Dad was a contractor and flipped houses. The family's own house was unfinished. One of the children felt very insecure--every time he made friends and got settled, the family moved and the kid had to change schools and start all over. That got me to thinking about Sonshine's room...physically it's finally finished--flooring, molding, etc. I feel bad having let his room go unfinished for so long, but that's water under the bridge. But now that that part's taken care of, I want his room *finished*. His bed is back together and all his furniture is back in place--minus one ugly white sewing table that had been a catch-all for junk and dust. I cleaned it out and moved the bookshelf in it's place. Even with the large bunk bed (all wood with the double-size bed on the bottom) his room is, well, roomy. :) He has a collection of hats, so my next goal is to get him some sort of something he can use to display them. What good's a collection, if you can't see and enjoy it? And after that the closet. He's got a lot of children's books shoved in the top of closet and other toys and things he never uses/plays with. He and I are going to spend some time next weekend going through that stuff. And then I'll be ready to call his room finished.

DD's room, on the other hand, is a disaster. She's an adult, so I think there's a fine line between what I can and can't do. But it is my house and she doesn't pay rent, so I do have some say so. I'll be thinking about my expectations this coming week and then they'll be made perfectly clear to her.

(And all the while as I type, I can hear Nanny Stella's lovely British accent.)

So what would Nanny Stella say about our household?

I think she'd say the kids don't help enough around the house, especially considering their ages. And she'd be right. DH tells me that all the time. :)

I also think she'd say...

It's ridiculous that Mom has to play alarm clock for the two men in the house. DH is 42, Sonshine is 16. They are both old enough to be responsible for getting themselves up in the morning. And she'd be right. Honestly I can't tackle that one right away, but rest assured it is on my list of home improvements.

She might also say eating dinner together as a family and not in front of the TV is important. I know she's right, but I don't know how easy it would be to pull this off. We don't even have a proper dining room table--though we do have a card table and chairs which I'm willing to set up. I'll have to think about that one.

And the biggest thing she'd probably say is that Mum has to assert her authority. Many times I let them get away with smart mouths or bad attitudes and not completing tasks I've asked them do. I've started working on that. :)

My biggest problem is consistency and follow-through. I know that these are probably the most important factors. And I'm awful about them in almost all aspects of my life, but *fingers crossed* that I stay firm.


mtnchild said...

I don't watch that show, but I like the ones that makes a person take a look at themselves and the life you're living. DD's room probably looks like yours did while you were growing up ... LOL. But you were not 21 though.

Does Sonshine know how to cook basic meals? or sew on a button? If he doesn't know basic survival skills, how will he fare when he leaves home ... how 'bout his own laundry ... I'm sure that you can think of lots of things he needs to know, and you should get with him before he brings home his laundry for mom to do ...
Love you bunches

Regina Richards said...

My husband also says I don't ask the kids to do enough chores. But sometimes it's just easier to do it myself and have it done than wait for them to get home and "maybe" do it.