That’s not FAIR!!
I have a super- amazing photographic memory!
I can recall exactly what chores my now 13 year old had to do when she was 7.
I can remember the ages each of my 5 girls had to start emptying the dishwasher, making their own lunches and ironing their own uniforms.
I can remember how much spending money each was allocated on family holidays, how many dances they were allowed to go to each term, how much time they were allowed on msn, now Facebook, and at what age they paid for themselves to go to a movie.
I am also a clairvoyant.
I can tell you when each of my children will be paying their own mobile bills, board and vacuuming their own rooms.
Okay, maybe I can’t really read the future, or have incredible recall.
But what I do have is a pretty, nice swirly-print-covered, red book with all of that written in it.
Because I have no clue if the 7 year old had to start feeding the dogs a year earlier than the eldest.
I’m really fuzzy about whether the first born was allowed to going to a school dance once or twice or even 3 times a term and I dont remember saying, “you can get your first ipod when you leave primary school.”
Are you kidding I can’t remember who set the table last night.
But they do!!!
Oh yeh, they forgot who was last out, when the door is left open. No-one left the ice-cream wrapper on the table and it “wasn’t me” who didn’t turn the Iight off in the bathroom.
But, if someone got a mobile phone the first day of high school, they know.
If they got docked $2 pocket money for not making their bed and their younger sister only got $1 deducted ..they know.
If their older sister was allowed to go to the local shopping centre, more than once after school in grade 8, they know.
In my family, the age gap between the 5 girls is 6 years. So when the youngest was 7, the eldest was 13. I almost lost my mind. I had rules and responsibilities for a teenager and rules and requirents for a little girl and then a whole host of in-between bits.
Before becoming a step mum I only had two age levels to deal with and remember. I could deflect any discrepancies by arguing that I was right, even if I wasn’t.
With blending though, the cry of, “it isn’t fair” takes on a whole new scope of scrutiny.
If I wasn’t consistent, I was favouring my own children or alternatively I was favourring the other girls because they weren’t my own.
So I bought a book.
It’s definitely not fool-proof and as every parent knows, circumstances change and individual needs have to be met, but that book has given me some power to drown out the “it’s not fair” whine. (Of course the other sort of wine helps as well)
So now whenever a new parenting challenge arises, (and intuitively you know the ones that will matter) my husband and I write down our decisions in the book.
Such as; what jobs they have to do for how much pocket-money, when they can have a mobile phone, when are they allowed to walk to school, how much time they are allowed on facebook, how much board and at what age will it start, can they go to a movie with a boy and when, can boyfriends sleep over, will we give an 18th or a 21st, do we contribute to a car, how many driving lessons will we pay for, what’s the contribution for schoolies week…….the list is endless and every year new decisions need to be addressed.
The trick is trying to be consistent and write it down.
For us as parents, it’s just not fair is it?