Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Lists and the Making Thereof

I awoke this morning and lay in bed for a few moments, putting off getting out of bed. I heard birds singing outside and felt suddenly happy and grateful to be alive in the here and now. It's not often I appreciate the now. I try to, but most of my waking inner monologue consists of lists: the making of and the ticking off of, things that need to be done in the future or have been done and are therefore in the past.

I know I'm not alone in this. Everyone with a family to look after knows that life only works because of the lists. What to eat, when to shop, what to buy, what to book, what toys/bedroom/clothes to sort out, what to research on the internet, what's next at work, where to go at the weekend, what birthday presents to buy, wrap, who's going to what party, after-school activity, sleepover, what child is owed a play-date, who to catch up with after school, work, etc etc etc.

While I think generally that the differences between men and women are mostly exaggerated I believe we are very different when it comes to lists. I know my husband does not have a running list manager always at work in his brain like I do. Granted, he's not very organised in many respects but I know many friends husbands who are more organized don't do the lists either.

Frankly I get fed up with being the list manager. I know the world wouldn't end if I gave up and let lots of the little things slide. But it would hurt the kids a bit and it would hurt me a bit. Forgetting a birthday party, forgetting to have decent food in the fridge for dinner. I guess what I'm really fed up of is not doing the lists but seemingly having to do the major share. My husband will do anything I ask him. He'll drop-off, pick- up, buy food etc. But I have to tell him. Which misses the point. It's not the actual shopping and cooking that annoys me - it's having to think about what to buy and what to cook that gets me down. What I want is not to have to tell him. What I want is for some things to be his responsibility.

I don't really see a way out though so I shall continue I guess. I do draw the line at some things though. I don't send cards or buy presents for his family or friends on birthdays etc. I figure that's definitely his responsibility. (They pretty much never get presents.)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Misuse of Firepower

Sometimes one of my children does something and I really let them have it. I know when I'm doing it but sometimes I can't seem to help myself. I'm better at avoiding triggers than I used to be but I still misuse my verbal firepower and boy do I hate myself after.

The thing is I'm tired of the endless trivial, pointless crap. Today I let rip after I sent my son to have a shower with instructions to wash his hair. He grudgingly went and showered then came back and submitted gracelessly to having his hair dried. After I dried it I asked him what shampoo he'd used and do you know what he said? He hadn't used shampoo. Just conditioner.

I mean what is that about? How hard is it to wack some shampoo on your hair then rinse it off? Why are we even having to have an argument about this? I'm trying to teach you to be clean so people don't start calling you smelly behind your back. Is that so wrong?

So I let rip, partly because of the hair and partly because of his reaction to being told off about the hair. Tears. He's ten. I think that's why I really lost it, because of the tears. Can you not take a telling-off on the chin without a big emotional outburst? It's just a telling off - not a smack, a time-out, a loss of pocket money or computer time. 'Just bloody grow up!' I want to scream.

I mostly work hard to be calm, reasonable, fun. But sometimes I get so annoyed because a simple request cannot be met without half an hour's worth of bullshit to go with it and after a long day I really cannot understand why it has to be this way. My children are loved, happy, safe, well-fed and have access to things most children in this world can only dream of. And yet often they act like whining, selfish brats who have to be cajoled into doing the slightest thing. Something is going wrong somewhere. My only consolation is that I know my children are more reasonable, thoughtful, helpful and polite than alot of their peers. God knows how the rest of the mothers put up with it.

So I need to rein in the verbal missiles. But what can I do? It's the constant drip, drip, drip of cajoling, negotiating, reminding, insisting that gets to you.

If, in ten years time he takes me to task for over-reacting the time he didn't wash his hair I'll try and explain to him that it wasn't just the hair. But I'll still be thinking 'Well why didn't you wash your hair you nutcase?'