I promise you, if I could save all the extra Rand’s I spent replacing stuff which my kids lost over the years, I would have enough money for an international holiday. A holiday that could have totally saved me from all this ‘Mum, I lost my stuff…’ stress!
So, picture this, it’s a Thursday morning and I’m running around, late as usual, (blame that snooze button) trying to get the kids ready for school. I’m frantically looking everywhere for Jude’s school tracksuit pants and low and behold, it’s nowhere to be seen.
I think back to the last time I did see it, it was well over a week ago. Now, I know what you are thinking. How can it be that in the dead of winter the last time your kid wore his tracks was more than a week ago? Well, we do reside in probably one of the hottest parts of the country, 27-degree and higher winter days are a norm for us. We do probably have like 2 seriously cold days. The first, of our cold day spells was a little more than a week ago and the second of those cold days was today. And just my luck, my child has no warm tracks for school. So, to say I was upset that, yet another item of clothing was missing would be an understatement. I was fuming.
I know what else you are thinking? How come I didn’t see it was missing while doing the laundry? Well, it’s because I have an awesome domestic helper who does the laundry for me. How good she is at the laundry is a topic for another day. But I somehow doubt that the whereabouts of my sons’ tracks is her main priority.
The thing with kids losing their stuff at school usually means that whether we like it or not we have to replace those items. And to these kids it means absolutely nothing. To them, it’s no big deal, cos my mum or dad will sort me out. There’s no responsibility or accountability what’s so ever. So, this time I was set out for a lesson to be learnt. This time I sent him to school with his full school uniform and the punishment was that he will have to sit out the soccer match or whatever was planned for PE for the day. He was not happy, but I felt that I did the right thing…or did I…
Being the mother, I am, after the kids left for school, and after I had calmed down, the guilt set in. I realised that maybe I could have done more, so something like this would not have happened. I realised there are a few things I could have done differently, so I came up with a list of my mistakes…So here is my list of what I should have done to avoid my kids from misplacing their stuff at school.
- Label everything.
So, this was my first mistake… my label everything energy is incredibly high at the beginning of the year, I literally label everything. Every pen, pencil and juice bottle will have a name tag, even the cap of the Pritt will have its own label… but this energy drastically subsides as the year goes on. The trackpants was purchased in the second term, so by then I thought surely my boys are responsible enough not to lose their pants, so I was not gonna waste my energy labelling it. Not happening…Big mistake, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
- Remind, Remind, Remind
This is self-explanatory, very easy to understand. Kids need reminding, as they forget things all the time. They are always easily distracted by other fun and exciting stuff happening around them. So, the last time Jude wore his track, it was cold that morning. He wanted to change into shorts for his PE lesson, because it heats up so much during the day. So, I should have reminded him to re-pack his clothes and make sure he brings back everything. Second mistake, I didn’t remind him.
- Double Check
Third mistake, and really, I should have started with this. Had I done this in the first place Jude would never have lost his trackpants… Double check, double check, double check… triple check if you must. Check every cupboard, wardrobe and drawer. Because maybe, just maybe, after washing, the lost item was packed away in his siblings’ cupboard instead. (Insert palm on face emoji). So yes, the trackpants was there the whole time and I made a big fuss all for nothing. Even more guilt set in thereafter.
By the time I saw my son later that day, all was forgotten. (What? How was that even possible?) Any thoughts of what transpired in the morning was now a distant memory. He came back home happier than ever, completely thrilled after winning an inter-class story telling competition. (Well done Jude! I wonder where he gets his story telling ability from. My husband will vehemently argue not from me…) But the funniest thing was that He didn’t even need his PE kit that day, due to the competition… So now, here I am, thanking God for how things worked out at the end.
But how many times do we find ourselves in situations like these? This is what I feel is one of the hardest parts about parenting, it’s making sure that before you dish out any punishment that you have your facts straight. And making sure you are not overreacting to a very small issue in the grand scheme of things. But it also amazes me how resilient and remarkable our kids really are. As much as we try to teach our kids about how to live the best life, we can learn a thing or two from them, especially about not sweating the small stuff, focussing on the job at hand and how, despite what happens, to go out and do your very best.