I lost my temper with the small children yesterday. It was not my finest moment as a human being.
To be fair, they started the day squabbling over who had the right to read the back of the packet of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, even though they’ve both read it already and it didn’t make riveting reading the first time round. It then had to be removed from the table so they would stop hissing at each other. If they do it quietly they think I can’t hear them attempting to verbally eviscerate each other.
Their day kind of went downhill from there, mainly because:
I resent having to be constantly picking up after people who have arms and legs and functioning brains, but who just can’t quite be arsed to think about the aggravation of their own belongings/stinking washing, because they hope that someone else might crack before they do. Ditto pools of wet towels, damp coats, mountains of odd shoes that have been cast asunder because they’re not ‘right’.
I am sick of doing the laundry and then putting it into folded piles only to walk into a bedroom to find that the piles have been dumped on the floor and then trampled over, stirred with sticks, and salted liberally with the previously ignored dirty washing for added insult to injury power.
I am heartsick at constantly scrubbing food off of every surface a child might think to leave crisps/fruit/squash/puddles of water/lumps of mashed potato/peas, because they don’t see why they should hit their mouth every time or are totally ok with just sweeping food onto the floor.
I am insanely bored of constantly reminding people that they need to brush their teeth twice a day, every day, even though they have been reminded twice a day, every day, ever since they can remember. Or that they must brush their hair, and wear clean clothes every day. Personal hygiene is not a difficult concept to grasp if you are not a fourteenth century peasant living in a ditch. Why is it so hard?
I am enraged that I must remind people that they need to eat all their dinner, including fruit and vegetables, every day, because people who live on crisps and chocolate cake don’t live long enough to appreciate the joy of living on crisps and chocolate cake.
I am brought to tears by the fact that I need to remind people that they need to go to bed at a reasonable bed times, especially when they shout: ‘BUT I AM NOT TIRED. CAN’T YOU TELL HOW NOT TIRED I AM BY THE FACT THAT I AM SHOUTING INTO YOUR EYEBALLS IN A PETULANT MANNER?’
So I snapped. Big time.
Not my best parenting at all.
The last two weeks seem to have consisted of one long round of intensive nagging.
I ask myself, as I start to nag, whether it is worth it? Should I just let it slide and opt for an easy life?
But I do not see why I should put up with their nonsense, because actually it isn’t an easy life. Letting it slide means that they win. They don’t have to hear me nag at them, but at the same time they don’t learn to do things for themselves. Nor do they learn the value of what other people do for them. And the cycle perpetuates until they turn into adults who can’t function and who expect the world on a plate, and are amazed when it turns out that dirty cutlery doesn’t clean itself and botulism is more moreish than you would imagine. And that nobody who didn’t bear them in the womb has any incentive to pick up after them at all.
They learn in fact, that the more annoying and incompetent they are, the more likely they are to get away with it, because there will always be someone thinking; ‘Ah, it’s not worth it,’ and moving in to do stuff for them. And that someone turns into their resentful handmaid instead of being their loving parent, and that’s not easy at all.
I’m not talking about complicated tasks by the way. I’m just talking about the nuts and bolts of existence. The stuff that needs to happen if you don’t want to be filthy, toothless, nit infested, naked stinkers with no manners and a house the health and safety officers would shut down in a heart beat.
I don’t understand why they persist with the stuff they do. They NEVER, and I mean NEVER in the strictest sense of the word, get away with it. They have always had to take responsibility for their own stuff, ever since they were old enough to know how to do things. The fact that they still try to get away with it is a triumph of hope over experience.
It is depressing frankly.
So. It isn’t an easy life if I don’t nag.
Ironically, at the moment it isn’t an easy life when I do nag, and make them do their chores.
I feel like I am losing every which way at the moment. I hate the sound of my voice nagging on about the same boring old shite, day after day. I hate cleaning up after them if I don’t. What chafes most in this scenario is their unspoken (and sadly, sometimes spoken) assumption, that it doesn’t really matter if they don’t do whatever it is they need to do, because I will do it for them.
It is their blithe appropriation of this thought, and the carelessness with which they bandy it about that drives me most mad. It makes me feel like a slave. Nobody should feel like a slave. Nobody should grow up thinking that their mother really, really enjoys cleaning their shit stains out of the toilet, or hoovering up their crumbs, or wiping their sticky fingerprints off of things.
I have hopes that it will become easy at the point where they realise resistance is futile. I just don’t know when that will be, and my patience is running mighty thin. The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that I am not a quitter, and I refuse to allow my children to grow up with a) no life skills that matter and b) the potential to become full time slobs.
It also helps that I love them insanely much, and am not about to put them out on the street, or indeed, stab them with a hat pin, even though it sometimes sounds like I might.