Sometimes I Fecking Hate Being A Parent – So There

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.

34 responses to “Sometimes I Fecking Hate Being A Parent – So There

  1. Soldier on, Katy, it will be worth it in the end! Although I only have DD, for years I too nagged and demanded and cajoled and raged to get her to clean up after herself. She has now moved out, and yesterday I went to her place for a visit. It was clean, uncluttered, vacuumed, dust-free, scrubbed (even the bathroom!), reasonably well-stocked with food, and she served me tea in a most hospitable way! Something (everything?) actually did get in her head and she’s turned into – well, me, I guess, in terms of housekeeping! So don’t give up, your kids will remember all this and put it into practice some day!

  2. On Thursday morning I burst into tears as I folded a mountain of washing. I had just folded a pair of shorts that had to be returned to a friend. My child kicked the pair of shorts off the bench I had placed them on (accidentally – he was lying down swinging his legs back and forth instead of eating his breakfast). I bent down, picked them up and asked him sit up and eat. He then managed to do it again. It was at that point that I burst into tears. The futility of saying the same thing over and over and over. I didn’t have a fine parenting moment then either. In fact one of my children during my tirade said: ‘You make everyone’s life a misery.’ It didn’t go well from there. I could have written your post word for word.

    In fact this is what I wrote on Facebook that very day:Serious question: are there any boy children who actually tidy up after themselves? Despite me saying at the end of every single meal time since they were able to walk and hold things: ‘scraps in the bin, plate in the dishwasher’ they still ‘forget’. That is their actual excuse. ‘It’s not our fault, we forgot.’ Really? really!! – what the hell is actually going on in that space between your two ears – loud fucking whooshing sounds???? Oh and that is followed up with, ‘But I don’t know how to put it in the dishwasher because no-one has ever showed me’.

    So take heart my lovely, apparently all children do this. The part of motherhood that no-one tells you about when you’re cuddling your new bundle of joy is that you become that bundle of joy’s bitch, their invisible slave, a nagging harridan.. And you have to keep on keeping on because the alternative is to raise little shits with no life skills.


  3. I hear you.
    Huge hugs for you. It does sometimes totally reduce me to tears too. It is just so exhausting, and so not how we are supposed to spend our lives. I asked the children if when they see me with friends, or with their father, if they hear me constantly nagging all the time, to which they replied with a puzzled ‘no’. I tried to explain to them that the non nagging me is much nicer and easier to live with and life is more pleasant for all of us, and how much I hate turning into that woman. They shrugged.

  4. Funnily enough last couple of days iv beem going over the exact same thing my kids are 6 n 4 n been teaching them to sort their clothes out put away or put in wash basket tidyin toys away im sick of the constant reminder its like they do it on purpose coz they know I will do it or their just not bothered about keeping clean n tidy, im sick of feelin a slave and sick of always on at that them rather then enjoying them relaxing and worried that the stress and been adgy will rub off on them n them turnin into the exact same person. Oh the joys

  5. I could have written this yesterday !! I cried because was so frustrated with my family at having to nag constantly about homework, tidying up, putting clothes away, showers, teeth etc And nobody ever thinks to empty the dishwasher or tumble dryer without being asked. Good to know I’m not alone and in a small triumph teenage son had actually managed to make his own bed this morning.

    • Yay! the little victories do help. What is especially irksome is that the majority of things we have to nag about actually benefit them. Grrr

  6. i hear you too! At school my kids sing a “tidy up ” song , there are times when they are singing it at home, sitting on the sofa, while I am tidying up all their plastic rubbish…
    Good on you for sticking at it !

  7. Thank you. I recommend ear plugs for the ‘tidy up song’ time! xx

  8. Just wanted to say you’re a seriously good writer – really enjoyed reading that (and I’m picky). So not much consolation on the messiness front (well, a bit, think my kids are older than yours and the older two do help out a bit more now, in fact no 2 now gets up for school extra early to make her own packed lunch without being asked, and both will do chores – reluctantly – when asked) but at least you’re a damned fine writer.

    Re the chores, they recommend routine (never my strong point) before they’re old enough to quibble with it, timers (so it seems like a game) and I had some success with hideously draconian punishments if they didn’t do the really easy-peasy things like take plates into the kitchen. It also helps that I’m short-sighted, so can’t see dirt and have a husband who’s a dab hand at cleaning toilets.

    • Hi Carol
      Thank you very much for saying so. Much appreciated.
      My oldest is pretty good to be honest. The two youngest are the ones that drive me doolalley. We do have routines for chores and I quite often mete out hideously draconian punishments. Sadly they are pretty sure I love them to pieces and that even after the punishments I’m not going to flay them alive, so they slip back again. Ho hum. If things don’t improve I shall buy a Sasco wall planner and cross off the days until they leave home. x

  9. Pingback: A mother’s work is never done. | Talk About York A mother’s work is never done. | a southerner explores the North

  10. I read this. It is most excellent. xxx

  11. Ha ha ha hurrah! God. I feel like this soooo much. Last night, whilst directing them in the shower/ teeth cleaning / boring bedtime run, I also ran around like a mad woman, picking up books, clothes, crayons, bits of fecking paper that they leave ALL over the house, then did reading with both of them, then read to them, then went off to work into the evening. Went up to get them up this morning, room UPSIDE down. They’d even pulled up the (temporary) carpet tiles to make a den. So unimpressed. Thank you!!!

  12. Good godfathers I love you!! Not only did you climb inside my body or live a parallel life to mine but you also saved me from writing about this as I couldn’t possibly write it as well as you did. Hats off to you Milady and keep fighting the good fight against impending slobbery.

  13. I used to get into bed every night and say to myself “I wont yell at the kids tomorrow” as I always felt guilty because I did .The next morning about an hour after we were all up they started carrying on again and yes I started yelling .Im seventy one now it was hard to take ,I used to think I would just love to go out to car and sit there in the peace and quiet for thirty minutes just to escape from them …lol not,but I never did .But now I can until the grandkids arrive .

  14. Came here from Melissa’s blog. Don’t have any words of inspiration, but there’s solidarity in numbers! Glad to see from your later posts that things have got a bit better.

    • Hi, Iota, I just rescued your comment from the spam file. I wasn’t ignoring you honestly! Thanks for visiting. Yes, things have become much better. xx

  15. It sound like you’re doing your best (possibly 110%), and it doesn’t sound like anyone in the house recognises this. Its hard to feel underappreciated when you sacrifice so much, especially when it often feels like a lot of what you do seems to have no effect. Some of the comments here noted that despite it feeling like nothings taking effect, many young people do turn out OK as adults. I would agree with this. Parenting is often about doing things that may not have much of an effect right away. I hope we’re not the only one who heard about your experience…I hope your partner got to hear about it as well… I know sometimes when things get hard it helps me to know my partner understands and is willing to back me up 🙂 I hope you have a much better week. 🙂

    Gerhard (Familiality)

    • Hi Gerhard
      I am indeed doing my best, and I suspect that in their own, weird way, the children are too. My husband is being an absolute brick this week and is helping all he can. Previously he was working abroad for most of the week and couldn’t even if he wanted to, but sharing the load makes a huge difference. thanks for your lovely comment. x

  16. Hallelujah! I thought it was only me! I thought I’d missed a mystery parenting class which teaches how not to have to spend every day growling and grizzling and grumping towards my children! I so want to enjoy being a parent but right now I’m really, really not – it just feels too much. Thank you for sharing and letting us fellow sloth bearers know we are not alone!

    • You are totally not alone! I am amazed by the comments here. I really thought either nobody would relate or everyone would be mean! It is so refreshing! x

  17. If it is any comfort – my mom never did what you do, she never nagged me to tidy up, do chores etc., she did everything for me. Mainly because she felt I was undermining her job as the stay at home parent, because I could never do them as perfectly as her, it took too long if I did them, it was more important for me to concentrate on my studies … My husband’s mother was the same, never let him do any chores. Our house is untidy, messy, needs a good wipe down and vacuum. We try our best but we weren’t allowed to do housework/chores until we left home so we’re learning it all from scratch and it isn’t easy. I’d rather she made me do the tidying and stuff, probably not at the time, but definitely now.

  18. My stepsister posted last week on FaceBook that she had thrown all – ALL – of her 14-year-old son’s clothes out his bedroom window onto the front lawn (penalty for the zillionth incident of throwing the folded, clean clothes back into the laundry hamper because he couldn’t be bothered to put them away.) Just a thought.
    And let me say that one of the most beautiful days in parenting for me occurred when my son (aged 19) was home for Christmas from University and actually apologized to me for his slapdash ways while growing up. Apparently having 3 slovenly housemates had cast things in a new light for him, and he had realized exactly how justified I’d been in all of my nagging.
    I made him repeat his comment just to savor the moment. It was glorious.
    Your day, too, will come.

  19. I completely hear you! In fact I could have written this post! i hate having to tell them 5/6/7/8 (and the rest, hey!) times to BRUSH YOUR BLOODY HAIR AND CHANGE YOUR PANTS IN A MORNING! why is it so difficult for a 9yo, who actually says she wants to look nice THATS why she spend 20 minutes putting her makeup on…not so that she looks like Kiss!, to brush her bloody hair! And to get breakfast without being reminded!! And that when the car is running THAT means we are almost ready to leave would it be so difficult to just sort yourself out with shoes and a coat with out being told! What else…I’m on a roll here…erm oh theres the disgusting mess of a hole they like to live in (also known as the bedroom)and moan they cant find so an so when really a) they havent looked and b) if they picked up that pile of dirty pants (that i have told them to change out of) they would find their ermm loom band hook and other ‘nice’ things hiding out in their!

    But nope its much much easier to listen to me nag and moan every single hour of every single day than just do it! You would think by the way they just dont do it that I do t for them! that isnt the case they have to do it every time they get the nag!!

    Woooo that was a rant on my half…felt good to gt it out!

    Thanks for reading (if you got this far!!!) Now I’m off to put a wash load on that, wold you believe it contains non of my 9yo clothes because they are all on her floor/under the bed/shoved in the top of the radiator!

    • I did get this far. It is true that misery loves company! Isn’t it great that we are all experiencing the same thing? Now we don’t have to feel like we are the only ones.

  20. I love this article & the comments. Every morning I lie in bed promising myself that I will be calm, patient & won’t shout…… doesn’t last long & I feel so guilty.

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