On demanding order and not achieving it

In my attempt to control things and keep them orderly, I may have, perhaps, just a little, overdone it a bit.

Time to sit back and reflect on this. Because frankly, I am SICK and TIRED of being a maid to two tiny people.

Or a chauffeur, entertainer, cook, cleaner and referee.

I also neglected myself, and my needs, during the past two weeks. Because you know what, there is nothing wrong with them being on their own and finding something to do without me for a bit here and there.

I woke up this morning and thought my freakout last night gave them what they wanted, which was basically negative attention (and we all know that negative attention is better than no attention). What strikes me as weird though is that I had been giving them positive attention all along, even if they don’t see it that way.

I had internal conversations with myself about whether explaining what I do for them is going to register in their walnut-brains or not. The conversation went something like this:

You know when we go for swimming lessons and we bring along the wagon? That wagon is full of stuff for you to do while your sibling is swimming. It is also full of snacks and a picnic lunch. Do you think these things pack themselves? It is actually ME who packs them (and shops for them and prepares them) so that you guys can play at the park afterwards with your friends. It’s ME who has to do this stuff while you guys incessantly talk to me about your endless wants and needs. And when I finally sit down with a glass of wine, or at the laptop, you get into fights or arguments or break or spill something that requires me to get up and help you out. And at the end of the day, you still act ungrateful by ignoring my requests. Simple requests like ‘sit down and finish your dinner’ or ‘take your baseball bat outside, do not swing it in the living room’ or ‘go brush your teeth’.

I chalk it down to PMS. Either that or this extreme heat alert thing the city keeps issuing. Or maybe the fact that the two precious hours of daily child-free time I enjoyed during the school year has been eliminated by summer vacation.

Next week they go to halfday camp. The week after we’re camping with extended family so the co-parenting will be in place. And DH finally starts his vacation at the end of today, as well.

So I trek along. Summer so far has been great. The kids have been great too…until the last few days. But I must find a way to step back and let them take more control over their own destinies and responsibilities, even the short-term ones. And the best way to start this (again) is to stop repeating myself.

(Aside note: I just, as I typed this, asked the boy what he needed to accomplish in order to get ready for his swim lesson. Two things he had to do: put on his trunks and goggles, and brush his teeth. I can hear him bickering with his sister who is also instructed to do two things: put her breakfast plate in the dishwasher, and put on her bathing suit. So instead of sitting here yelling across the house, I must now get off my ass and walk over, remaining calm, and stand there supervising their activity. Instead of freaking out or repeating my requests. Over on MuddleOn I wrote about how silence is an effective parenting tool – well, here’s my chance to prove it to myself again…)

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