So this evening I stood between my children and the telly and said, “You are allowed telly not because you’ve been good – you haven’t, you’ve been little bumholes ALL WEEK. You are allowed telly because I’ve been bad, I’ve been a great big bumhole, and I’m sorry.”
I have been bad. Bad mother bad; which is not murderous fraudulent thievery, lying, cheatin’ bad but couldn’t be bothered to do bedtime reading, white-bread sandwiches, yelled a lot bad. Motherguilt bad.
And I put my children in front of the telly to make them think they have a better mother than they have.
You see, I had a moment of putting myself in their shoes and looking at myself and I felt enormous disappointment. “My Mum is a nag”, I thought, through their eyes, “I wish she were more fun. I wish she would let us do stuff that other kids get to do.”
It’s been worse since our holiday, the me not being fun thing. Firstly it was horribly evident to Richard and I that our children are the only children – possibly in the Western world – not to have a device to play on. The airline we flew with no longer have little televisions popping out of the ceiling, or i-pads for hire, not even a head set dammit, because they don’t need to. Everyone has their own screen with which to hook into. But not us. Our children, downcast, had to make to with the pencils and paper and packs of cards I’d packed for them. They did okay actually, I must say. They were positively vintage in their behaviour. But they still looked at me with eyes that said, “You are starving us to death.”
And since we’ve got back I’ve been pretty strict on what goes into their lunchbox. They ate their bodyweights in JUNK while we were away after all. And we have the dentist on Monday, god help us. Blueberries have been the biggest treat. I know they look at their friend’s rollups and resent me fiercely.
And then there’s the part where I got so completely over 1)Them not listening to me, 2) Me having to pick their shit up CONSTANTLY. And the same shit, over and over again, as well as all the different shit. 3) Me cleaning and them messing all over my clean.
The messing thing was exacerbated by the fact that I did a HUGE all-over house clean yesterday, only to have dirt on the floor and paper snippets on the couch within 5 minutes of the grubby little bastards entering the building. So I’d martyred myself all over the place all day, and not only did they shit all over it, they DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE. So, I told them I’d HAD ENOUGH OF THEM TREATING ME LIKE THE HIRED HELP IN 1948 I DESERVE A LIFE TOO YOU ROTTEN SPOILED LITTLE TWATS YOU CAN’T EVEN BE BOTHERED TO FLUSH YOUR POOOOOOOOOS.
And then I stomped about and slammed a few doors and flushed the toilet a few times for effect. And felt they’re eyeballs rolling pre-teen style.
And then I read This Article and decided that maybe it was time to surrender and stop giving so many fucks about how my children should be more self sufficient and helpful and just let them be kids. After all, the energy it takes picking up all the shit is far less than the energy spent losing my shit, which I then have to gather up again, in a sheepishly undignified manner.
I’ve tried reward systems and pocket money and daily chore charts and still I find myself barking the same reminders over and over again day after day after day. Am I better to keep the peace and just do it myself? Will they one day just see the injustice for themselves and pitch in? Or will they continue to let me do it and only acknowledge my efforts in my eulogy?
These are not rhetorical questions. I really want to know what other parents do – I need advice. I fear that my children are turning into spoiled brats (even though we went to all the trouble of showing them firsthand the poverty and harmony of a Fijian farming village, somehow, in a hideously condescending, middle class way, this makes it all worse) while I turn into a bitter witch.
So tell, me, do you pick up all the shit, some of the shit or none of the shit?
Thanks in advance. Happy weekend. xxx