Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Tales from the Front Lines

Lately, motherhood feels somewhat like a minefield. I find myself stepping carefully around my childrens' moods and emotions, often setting off the resultant explosions associated with their issues. Sometimes I just don't care and run through the field trampling over all of it, not caring about the collateral damage. But like a good soldier, I'm learning to pick my battles and step carefully.

I'm on the verge of cutting my losses on the cleaning issue. I've tried everything short of firing squads to force my kids to clean up after themselves. It doesn't work. So then I just don't do it and hope they get tired of their own messes - they don't. And though I try and ignore the messes, I eventually stumble upon them and get really crabby. In short, I guess I'm less stressed-out when I know that things are basically cleaned up and picked up. So I'm back to doing it myself. I know it's wrong. It's SO against everything they teach you in Mommy Boot Camp but for me, it's the shortest distance to relief.

I'm also learning when and how to nag. You'd think that after 17+ years of motherhood I would have figured this out, but no, that would be too easy. Lesson one: It's not a good idea to nag before school. It makes the kids crabby and unruly. They go to school hating you, you spend your day feeling like crap. An alternative is to wait until you've just granted them a privilege - friends over, a new DVD, their favorite dinner - and then ask them to please help out. On the other hand, if you must nag, it must be the center of focus. Dropping it into a casual, light conversation is a sure way that it will be forgotten and never done. It has to be calm, direct and serious. (I hope you're not taking this advice, especially in light of the fact that I've already told you that all of this has failed time and time again.)

I can see that we need to have a meeting of the troops in the near future. There are far too many unresolved issues such as the fact that I have children with virtually no responsibility but many privileges. It's a recipe for disaster, or a mutiny, at the very least. Butjust when I want them to start to do things, they get blitzed with tons of homework or extra-curricular commitments.

In the meantime I guess I'll just get on my belly, grab my rifle and crawl through the muck that is motherhood.


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