HuffPost Parents called 'The Bubble List: 31 Things My Sons Should Be Able To Do Before They Move Out,' written by Emily Mendell.
The list was impressive and around this time last year, I was probably compiling something similar as my twin daughters were heading off to university in just a few short months.
With both of them pretty stressed leading up to coursework deadlines and the exams themselves, I resolved that as soon as they had finished, they'd be learning some life skills and leave home knowing how to function in the adult world.
Epic fail doesn't begin to cover what happened next. Heading off for a two-week vacation after the exams, my daughters weren't even remotely interested in any of the umpteen tasks that needed to be done. Instead, the updating of iPod playlists was very high on their agenda. And after arriving home, it was yep, you guessed it... me who got up early and tackled the laundry until all twelve loads were completed.
Next, I decided it was time for no more Mrs Nice-Mum and refused to iron anything belonging to either of them. They fixed this by only ever wearing crumpled clothes. Requests to help with housework were met with extreme apathy. I divided the house into three separate zones and we cleaned one section apiece on a three-week rotation. By the time I got to the third week, I had my suspicions that very little had been cleaned by my daughters.
After the elation of results day, I asked the kids to come up with lists of kit required for university and realised that we needed to shop fast as we had five weeks and two daughters to deliver to new home towns 400 miles apart. I forced the issue on this one by heading up to Ikea, the pair of them begrudgingly in tow, grabbed a couple of trolleys and yelled. "Go." Fortunately, I had a back-up list as there was much they had forgotten.
Offers of cooking lessons largely fell on very deaf ears and by the time they left they could make French bread pizza, garlic bread, stir fry and pasta.
They did one load of laundry each declaring that they had it sussed - turns out they didn't. Oh, and they were also completely clueless about finances, how to renew a prescription and change a light bulb.
Packing the two of them up for university was painful. I kept being told there was plenty of time and I was being unreasonable. I single-handedly packed everything and the tension at home was unbearable.
Since arriving at university however, it's been an incredibly steep learning curve, as they've had to learn everything the hard way...
- My heart filled with pride (and I was trying not to laugh) when Olivia announced that she'd managed to get a tomato ketchup stain out of her ballet top earlier this week. Just a year ago, she'd have ignored it and dumped the soiled item into the laundry basket.
- She's also had to buy a sewing kit to sew on a button and told me off for not sending her with one. At the time I just couldn't see the point.
- Writing a shopping list is actually an excellent idea - it's too easy to forget the important stuff without one.
- If you use the last of the toilet roll - tissues (and hopefully you still have some of those) are your only option.
- Food goes off in the fridge if you leave it for long enough.
- If you pop a meal into the oven and wander off without setting a timer, it burns.
- Sticking a foil tray in the microwave causes the aforementioned appliance to overheat and cut out.
- Cooking cheese on toast in a toaster without a toaster bag isn't such a great idea.
- Nor is washing white bedding with a new set of red towels.
- If you use all the dishes and dump them in the sink you have to wash something before you can eat again. If you can't be bothered to do that, there's always Pot Noodle but you'll still need a fork.
- If you sleep through both alarm clocks, there's no back-up Mum-alarm to drag you out of bed for your seminar.
- If you lose your driver's licence and student ID you're not going anywhere, or being served alcohol.
It wasn't for want of trying to teach them how to live independently on my part.
Welcome to the real world.
Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton