Did I Leave the Oven on, or Did You?

The display of snacks by Jordana’s kids. Photo by Jordana Green.

“Mom, can we use the oven?” Was the last thing I heard before I drifted off to sleep Sunday afternoon. I’m pretty sure I didn’t answer because I would have said, “No.”  But I’m glad my laziness overrode my mouth. I woke up to a mess, a delicious snack, and a parenting realization. My two younger kids (10 & 8) made mini hotdogs and baked peanut butter cookies…all without me. AWESOME! There was even one bowl in the dishwasher, so they attempted to clean up (cue hallelujah angels).

I was only asleep for a little while, how did they grow up during a nap?

One of my greatest challenges as a parent is deciding when to loosen the mom-leash and give my kids more independence. Recently I began letting the kids walk in pairs to the corner gas station and buy snacks. One of their friend’s mothers called to let me know her son was not allowed to do this anymore. Oops, parenting-faux-pas. So the questions remain: When should they be able to cross a busy road by themselves? When can they stay home alone? When do they use the oven unsupervised? This weekend I was forced into the realization that not only do they want to cook, but they really can prepare a snack safely and by themselves.

So, if they’re going to cook, I’m not just going to loosen the mom-leash, I’m taking it off. The hot dogs and cookies were delicious. Food really does taste better when someone else makes it, even if that someone wasn’t supposed to use the oven. I often tell my children, “I’m not raising kids, I’m raising responsible adults.”  This weekend, my kids surprised me into taking one more step toward raising those people, I’ll be on the lookout for more signs, and maybe take more naps!

This week I wish you a plate of freshly baked cookies and a pleasant surprise from someone you love.

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