Tuesday, July 12, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Jenn: Sleep away camp

We just returned from Upstate New York after picking ballerina up from camp.  It was so great to see her. She had a wonderful time and I think she would have spent the whole summer there if she could.  I was expecting this big reunion and hugs and tears and the whole lot but apparently she didn't miss me as much as I missed her.  Or maybe she did and she is just too cool to admit it.  She told me she was never really homesick - but she did text 20 times a day and call 2 or 3.  She learned how to do laundry.  She learned what it is like to live with 20 other girls - and how much drama is involved.  She learned there is no place like home.  She also worked on her ballet - which is why she was there in the first place.

When our kids leave us - whether its for a short time to go to camp or a longer time to go to college, they are going to experience things they never have before.  They have to learn to make choices. What time do I go to bed? When to do laundry? When and what to eat.  They are going to learn that dorm food isn't nearly as good as home cooked.  That laundry is a pain in the ass.  That time management is a skill.  What I learned is that my daughter has many of the skills she needs.  There was little supervision in the dorms at her camp. They spent the days dancing but at night were free to roam the campus or swim or head to the beach.  For some girls this lack of direction and supervision was disastrous.  For my daughter it was not.  She read books, watched movies, went for walks and entertained herself. She didn't need her evenings to be organized.  Other girls called their mothers every night crying - because they had too much time on their hands - didn't know what to do with themselves, were lonely or bored. 

My daughter is very independent.  I expect a lot from my kids.  They need to contribute to the household not just live in it.  They are part of a family and in my world that means helping with the cleaning and cooking and spending time together.  I don't baby my children and I hold them accountable for things.  I demand good grades and hard work.  I also give them plenty of time off for good behavior.  One mom I spoke to at the camp told me her daughter was miserable because she was always with one of her parents at home and didn't know how to be by herself.  Being self-sufficient is a life skill.  I want my kids to be self-sufficient.  Do I miss them when they are gone? Like crazy.  But I know they can take care of themselves and that's all any parent can ask for.


Anonymous said...

Well said! We always need to "demand" things and good behavior from our kids. I used to tell mine that freedom came after they fufilled their responsibilities. They didn't like me much then (probably still don't...lol!)

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