“Did you change the bed and put on new linens?” I asked my daughter on the phone, crossing my fingers.
“Of course I changed the linens, mom. When I’m a guest, I know to make the bed with fresh linens.”
I followed up, obviously not knowing how to quit while I’m ahead. “Did you make the bed with hospital corners?” I asked.
“Uh, no…I don’t know how to make hospital corners.”
I cringed at that one. I paid a lot of money to send her to overnight camp, after all.
“Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to make hospital corners?”
“You did…but I wasn’t listening.”
So, my youngest daughter does not know how to make a bed the “right” way. So what? Was this a #parentingfail? Does it matter? I think it does.
And then one day last winter my niece drove around with a windshield she could barely see out of, because the car had run out of window washer fluid hours before and she didn’t know how to fix that problem. We made a trip to the gas station and had a lesson.
And that got me thinking.
What are the basic life skills should we be teaching our kids before they leave the nest? What should they know?
Here’s a few:
- How to make a bed with hospital corners.
- How to unclog a toilet.
- How to fix a flat tire.
- How use the washing machine and dryer, and how to fold a fitted sheet properly
- How to check the oil in a car…and change it, if necessary.
- How to write a proper snail mail thank you note.
- How to sew on a button.
- How to sew a hem.
- How to cook a basic meal.
- How to make a pot a coffee (instead of going to Starbucks)
- How to determine which clothes you really need to take to the dry cleaner.
- How to hand wash and dry a sweater that needs to be hand washed.
- How to get out pen, blood and wine stains.
- How to load the dishwasher correctly.
- How to use a fire extinguisher.
- How to jump-start a car.
- How to add air to car tires.
- How to add more window washer fluid.
I must admit, I have barely mastered all of these things in my 50’s, but I expect better of my kids.
But, let’s reverse rolls for a minute. We do rely on our kids to teach us stuff. More than we realize. If they are going to be independent, it’s time that we become independent of them. Here’s what I think they might say parents need to learn before the kids leave the nest for good:
- How to fix your own f%*king computer!
- How to shut up and not give your advice all the time (for example, by writing posts like this one.)
- How to use twitter.
- How to use Instagram.
- How to use snap chat.
- What to post on Facebook and what not to.
- How to use the correct acronyms for things: FOMO, YOLO, GTFO, etc.
- How to order Starbucks so the coffee is waiting for you when you get there.
- What the difference is between a betch and a bitch
- How to shop and cook for one or two people
- How to send a text without periods
- How not to worry every time you do not hear from your children for 24 hours.
- How to get a life separate from your kids.
- How to get by in life without ever owning a checkbook or stepping foot in a bank.
- How to eliminate the 1043 emails in your smartphone inbox
- How to get by in life without owning a car (eliminating the need for all those basic car maintenance lessons)
- How to recycle properly.
- How to use hashtags properly.
So you see, we have a little work to do too!
Please feel free to add to either list in the comment section below!