My girls are growing up fast.
I am so used to saying I have two teen girls, but in a few days my eldest turns 20.
As much as I love having them both living at home, the reality is that over the next few years, their time will come to move in with their friends and leave this mumma bear alone.
Unlike real bears who teach their young early in life how to survive out in the big wide world, this mumma has perfectionist tendencies and will often do everything myself so that it is done the way I like it.
So I have been taking stock and making notes of skills that will help them cope with life when I am not there to do it all for them.
I want my girls to be self sufficient and not rely on others and not running home to mum every time a button falls off.
1. TREAT YOUR JOB WITH RESPECT – Both of my girls were eager to get part time jobs and earn money. Both of them have had jobs since they were 15. They have days where they don’t feel like going to work, but unless you are really sick, in this house you show up! There is no ‘but my friends are going out’ or ‘I am so tired I just want to stay in bed’ excuses here. If you take on the responsibility of a job, you do your absolute best at all times and show up on time!
2. BANKING AND BILL PAYING – Thanks to internet banking, controlling income, savings and expenses is easy. Both girls have mastered this skill and are now very savvy savers. They have a main account with interest earning sub-accounts attached. Pressing a few buttons on pay day sees most of their funds transferred straight into their sub-accounts. If their card accounts are hacked there is very little funds sitting in there to be swiped. It is not uncommon to see either of the girls madly transferring money quickly to make even a small purchase. They both have great savings savvy and this will help set them up for a bright financial future. Miss WW (19) has her own car so has a separate account to cover the costs and is only comfortable if she has a month in advance sitting there just in case.
3. CREDIT CARDS CAN BE DANGEROUS! – Miss WW has already seen her friends jump up and down for joy on receipt of a credit card with a big limit and before they know it, it is full! She wisely decided to get a student card with a limit of $1000.00. From the very beginning she learnt that paying it off on the due date meant no interest payments. Her credit rating is starting to build and with no defaults she is setting herself up perfectly for when it is time to buy her first home.
4. YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO BOIL MORE THAN JUST WATER – Coming from a family of really good cooks, there is not much that I can’t create in the kitchen. My girls are used to eating really well. Relying on take away and package food is not good for the budget or the waist line, so basic cooking skills are a must. Teaching them a good basic repertoire of meals will ensure they eat well. I have started compiling a recipe book (at their request) so that when they do leave home, they will have be able to create nutritious food that is quick and easy.
5. IF IT’S DIRTY, CLEAN IT! – Clothes baskets don’t empty themselves and there are no cleaning fairies that come to visit this house. Teens need to know how to make the washing machine actually do it’s thing, that a full dishwasher needs to be turned on and if they make a mess on the kitchen bench it is their job to wipe it clean. I have stopped emptying the rubbish bins in their rooms and other little things like that so they have to do it themselves.
6. SIMPLE STITCHES – Just because a button fell off does not mean the shirt has to go in the bin. Wielding a needle and thread is really easy if you know how. Tacking up a quick hem rather than using sticky tape or stapler yields a much better result too. Since becoming a single mum I have had to perfect the use of a screwdriver and know what on earth a Philips head is. Yay for not letting flat packs get the better of me. The girls won’t have to be scared to go to Ikea for furniture.
7. MINI MECHANICALS – Putting air in tyres, checking oil levels and refilling the reservoir for your windscreen wipers will help keep them safer on the roads, how to change light bubs and that there are two different kinds will help them see in the dark. Cleaning filters will help vacuums and computers run more efficiently. Removing built up bread crumbs from the toaster may help avoid a fire. Descaling kettles and coffee machines make your hot drinks taste better. Filling up the ice cube trays will ensure your cold drinks stay that way.
8. NEVER LEAVE YOUR MANNERS AT HOME – Mobile phones do not belong at the dinner table, please and thank you never go out of style, play fair, think before you speak as you can never take words back and get off your butt if something needs doing, so not expect anyone else to be your servant.
What do you wish your mum had taught you before you left home?
What else can I add to this list?