Parenting woes.

I have decided that my next purchase is going to be a pair of noise canceling headphones. Or ear plugs so that I can stop hearing the kids argue about nonsense. They will be the best of friends, happy in each other’s company when suddenly, all hell breaks loose and they start screaming and screeching at each other. And at me. Cause obviously I have to choose a side.

It doesn’t help punishing them, all it does is unite them against me. So I’ve started ignoring them, or even better just hiding away from them. Generally they sort themselves out without any bloodshed. Parenting is hard!

Growing up

The kids are growing up too fast. Both of them have restarted school this week. I think it’s been harder on me! They are being so brave, facing obstacles on their own. I wish that I can step in and protect them from the big bad scary world, but I can’t. I hate it. I know i cant protect them forever, I just thought that I would have a little more time to prepare myself.

Another fun thing lockdown has done.

The kids have been in lockdown since mid March. Once of the things that this enforced togetherness has highlighted is that The Husbeast and myself have very different parenting styles.

Our kids are good kids. The are well behaved, respectful, kind, loving… like I said, they are good kids. But they are kids, they don’t like doing chores so they will do anything to get out of doing “work”. Before lock down, we had such busy lives that we all had our specific chores that we had to complete and if we didn’t do them, we spent most of Sunday afternoons catching up. A lot of things just didn’t get done, especially when it came to cleaning.

Since we’ve been stuck at home, I’ve spent hours in the internet reading blogs about how to increasing my productivity and decrease my stress. I’ve downloaded pages and pages of worksheets, flowcharts, checklist, all designed to bring order back into our chaotic lives. Needless to say, none of it worked.

The main problem is that I leave the house and go to work everyday, The Husbeast works from home. He closes the bedroom door and is glued to his phone and laptop the whole day. The kids have realised that he doesn’t check up on them as long as they are quiet. They have to complete their school work but other than that the day is theirs to spend as they want. I give them instructions and expect everything to be done when I walk into the house in the afternoon. I’m pretty lucky, when I leave work in DONE with work. No after hour phone calls or emails. The Husbeast is not so lucky, he still has to answer calls and emails.

And that’s where the conflict comes in. I walk into a messy and chaotic house and then FREAK out. If the girls don’t do their part, I have to complete their chores before I can start doing what I need to do. If they don’t pack away the clean dishes, I can’t wash the dirty dishes and clean the kitchen and start cooking and and and and … You get the picture.

So I’m upset cause I feel like I have to take on all these extra tasks over and above my normal daily work and the Husbeast is upset cause he feels like I’m calling him a bad parent and implying that he doesn’t pull his weight in the house.

When I ask the kids to do something, I tell them exactly what I want them to do (like clean their rooms), and by when I want them to do it. If I notice that they haven’t started their task, I will remind them of it. If it doesn’t get done, I will get upset with them and insist that they complete the task or I will do it myself while loudly complaining that it was not my task to complete. The Husbeast is different. He will ask them to do something once. If they don’t do it, he will ignore it. And that just drives me insane. He will see that something isn’t done and just leave it for another day. I have learnt, we can’t leave things till later cause we just wont do it at all.

There is no easy solution, we just see things very differently. We’ve started having little family meetings on Sunday afternoons, where we divide up the chores for the coming week. It’s not a perfect system but it seems to be helping.

Home schooling

I have never wanted to be a teacher. My mom is a teacher and I just never saw the appeal of giving up weekends, evenings, and school holidays for other people’s children. And now I have to home school my kids.

I have seen so many Facebook and Instagram posts raving about how amazing it is to home school. How lucky we are to have this opportunity. And I just want to hide in a cupboard and ready trashy novels. I am not a good teacher. I am not an Instagram mom who has hours to prepare lessons and lovingly create worksheets and activities for my kids. Fortunately, we have been really lucky and the kids’s actual teachers have been amazing with the worksheets and lessons that they have prepared.

My kids will tell you, their Dad is way better at teaching them than I am. I am in charge of the schedule, making sure that all the assignments are completed and returned on time. We all know our strengths, mine is making lists. And that’s cool. Gold star for me.

It started with a dream

It started with a dream, I dreamt of a little girl running through my bedroom. 2 days later I had the results in my hands. I dreamt you into existence.

And then it started.

I read news reports about girls in a country halfway across the world, being abducted and sold into slavery because they prayed to a different god. Their stories filled me with horror. And then rage.

I heard about a politician who was trying to police women’s bodies, telling them that their reproductive rights did not belong to them. I became incandescent with rage. I stormed against the injustice that you might have to face one day.

The suffering of every woman became your suffering.

I will smash the patriarchy for you.

I will burn down city hall.

I will fight every injustice

I will claw my fingers bloody breaking down the walls that they construct to keep you down.

My love for you has no borders, has no end. I loved you from before your first heartbeat and I will love you after the last breath has left my lungs.

I will move continents to keep you safe.

Is it The Puberty?

The Puberty is a monster that lives in our house. It lurks under the bed with your lost ballet shoes and missing hair bands. It sneaks into your cupboards and hides your favourite T-shirt amongst your sister’s toys. It eats all of your “special” cereal, you know, the box that you insisted that I buy even though we all know that you have never eaten it in your life. And then never looked at once it was placed on the kitchen counter.

The Puberty took up residence in our house just after you learnt about it in Life Skills, one of your favourite subjects in school. It crept in and started tormenting your little sister with eye rolls and dismissive sniffs. It brought tears and tantrums with it, along with moody silences, acne, and overly dramatic retellings of the day’s events.

The Puberty is a snarky bitch. It mimics your voice perfectly and says mean things when my back is turned. Which of course you deny even hearing. But you do hear The Puberty. Your hear the nasty things it says about you. That you aren’t good enough. That you aren’t smart, clever, pretty, or thin enough. That you aren’t enough. The Puberty is wrong. You are good enough. You are more than good enough, you are you. And nothing can ever change that or take that away from you. When The Puberty finally slithers out of your life it will take all the bad things with it and only leave the good behind.

And that day can’t come soon enough.

The part time single mom.

We’ve had some massive changes in our lives since the last time I posted. We’ve slowly restarted with our renovation, the Husbeast and myself have joined a running club, and I’ve become a part-time-single-mom. The Husbeast was offered his dream job, international travel and problem solving, all in one easy package. It’s great. It really is. He arrived home on Sunday and he’s already gearing up for his next trip. It’s freaken great. If I wasn’t so exhausted I would be smiling right now, I promise.

I’ve gained so much respect for all the single parents out there, it’s so hard being both good cop and bad cop. My biggest struggle so far has been trying to do everything. All the chores, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dropping off, picking up, going to gym, keeping the kids occupied, going to work, looking after the dogs, wrangling the cats, trying to fit some running time in…. it didn’t go so well. It actually went better than I thought it would but it took a toll on me. I had lots of sleepless nights while stressing about getting everything done. I can’t help it, I stress about small things. And I hate feeling like a failure. Even if everything went perfectly to plan I would still feel like I let my kids down cause it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough.

I guess that will be my goal this year, cut myself some slack. I don’t have to be perfect all the time, I’m allowed to fail, I’m allowed to disappoint other people, I’m not responsible for the behavior and opinions of other people. Cause being a part time single mom is hard, and I’m only human.

She hasn’t seen Star Wars….

It’s my turn to host Christmas this year, so (of course) we are having a Star Wars Christmas. I’ve been googling and pinning ideas all year so the kids have gotten pretty excited to dress up. KJ really loves dressing up so she’s been nagging me to get her costume ready. I told her that there is one character that reminds me of her. So of course she’s super excited to be dressing up as Jar Jar Binks for Christmas lunch.

We’re watching episode 1 tomorrow. I don’t know how excited she’s going to be after we finish all the episodes….

I’m sorry Mommy

There are very few “bad words” in our house, I’m sorry to say that most of those words pollute my own vocabulary.  But we do have 2 “bad sentences” that should never be uttered.  The first is “I don’t care”.  Nothing irritates me more that getting “I don’t care” as an answer, especially when I know that you do care about what we are having for supper.  It doesn’t matter what the question is, “I don’t care” is not an appropriate answer.  And if you are very brave and use the forbidden sentence, you better not care about the results.

 

The second forbidden phrase is “I’m sorry Mommy”.  My kids love using “I’m sorry Mommy” in a sing-song voice whenever they have been naughty.  The reason I’ve forbidden that particular phrase is that my kids usually aren’t sorry at all.  they repeat the phrase so often that it has lost all meaning.  they are so used to my temper that they completely ignore me when i am upset with them.  I get a “sorry mom” and they continue on their merry way.  It is superbly frustrating that they listen to other people but not to me.  *sigh* it’s even more frustrating that this is often used as proof that I’m a “bad mother” and that i have no control over my children.  there are set rules and boundaries in our house, the kids know and respect that, there are also a lot of things that are not important in the grand scheme of things  (like tidy bedrooms).  It’s usually the not-important-things that produce an “I’m sorry Mommy”, so my kids know that they will most likely just get moaned at and not receive any other form of punishments.

 

As much as it annoys me, I realise that I will be adding more “forbidden phrases” to the list.  After all, pushing boundaries and annoying your parents are a normal part of growing up.