Back for more? Don’t hate me yet? Awesome.
Yesterday I ranted about my children and today I will rant some more. We also mentioned Anne of Green Gables and the newest adaptation. I started off discussing a book I’ve never read and other peoples opinion of it and it’s adaptations for the screen. And then… Have you/will you see(n) it? (is it even out yet? I’m not entirely uncovered from my rock hiding place) What do you think?
To begin, let me say that my second “round” of children were born into a second marriage with a husband who had no other children so at the age of 49 he was thrust into parenthood with TWINS. Poor chap. Or rather, poor me. He begged, pleaded, wrote sonnets about children and he even wrote to congress in order to convince me to have 3 kids with him. (ok, not really, but I like to think it’s ALL. HIS. FAULT.) I agreed to 1. God said, “let there be 2” and hence we had twins. And since then, all my parenting skills have been put to the test. Daily.
To their benefit, the twins are only 7 years old presently and not expected in most cultures to be particularly helpful or useful beings. In our culture it seems that children at this age are supposed to be sources of clutter and chaos, people we should be shuttling around and generally child like. My children live up to this admirably. I do not, however, think this is the way it should be. Or has to be.
There are warring factions on the mommy-front. There are those who say let kids be kids for as long as possible. Others say we should keep them busy as it builds character and team building skills and sportsmanship. Whatever that is. Some are all for common core (haven’t met one, but I’ve heard they exist) and others who hate it (ME, ME, ME. What the hell is this “math”? ). Some think that children are able to do chores from the age of 4 or so and even that we should minimize all the toys (Me again). I don’t think anyone believes children should work in the mines anymore but can’t they do SOMETHING? Or at least, not make constant messes and leave, as we call it, a trail of tears (and empty wine glasses)? I think probably boarding school would be best.
My personal quest is to find a way to convince both my children and my husband that the children NEED to do chores on a regular basis and that they don’t need to have a basement filled with toys. I’d like then to be dutiful in putting their dirty clothes in the basket rather than strewn about the room as some type of deranged decor. I’d like them to put one thing away before taking out another and I’d like them to be able to follow simple directions and to eat the supper I prepare. I’ve read about French kids eating everything and one kid pretty much does. The other lives on peanut butter cups and rice or mashed potatoes. I’ve read about minimalism with kids and even paid for an online course in minimizing everything with kids. I purged their room. It still looks like a tornado hit daily. I’ve tried daily written down routines and chore lists. I’ve tried outright bribery. The best I seem to be able to do is give them melatonin at bedtime in order to get a break before midnight. What the heck? Bring back children working in mines!
I fully blame the father. Fathers aught to be scary and dark and scowling mostly, brandishing a large belt or whip wherever they go. They should appear formidable. As if the wrong word would unleash a reign of terror to blacken the earth for eternity. That should sufficiently ensure obedience with just a look. My husband however is more like the fall guy. The fun guy. The guy who buys them stuff at the store. Like watermelon and blueberries in the middle of winter. And peanut butter cups. And whatever else they seen in the aisles of Wegmans. I am left to be the mean one but as the mom, it’s just not the same. I may be loud but I will never be as scary as the full force of a daddy bellowing at them to JUST GO TO SLEEP! or to CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!! NOW!!! I’ve even tried my beloved Pampered Chef spoon to limited success here. I doubt they will even look twice when I pull it out again when they are 22, like my son is now. <sigh>
So whatever is my point here anyway? Well, mostly to say that I totally understand why people don’t have a lot of kids when you think about children as something you have to do and take care of forEVER rather than as additional helpful coherent likable human beings sharing your space. And this has nothing even to do with the amount of pain that is required to bring them into the world so they can suck the rest of the life out of you in the first place. It’s a wonder we have more than one. God surely works some kind of magic over the mothers to allow it. Also, I agree that it is sad to change stories to suit the culture rather than to simply present them in the way they were written in the time they were created. Are we so incapable of considering how other people and times and cultures see/saw things? I don’t think that spending money on a course to learn to clear the clutter is particularly useful. Best to save your money and hire someone to actually come and do it for you. Next, carefully consider boarding school. It may be the only valid answer. Or run to your office and pour another glass of wine and pretend the house isn’t covered in dust and dog hair and toys and remnants of things that you are not sure what they used to be when they were whole. There is no good answer to all of it. Just read some good books and hang in there. They will move out eventually.
Here’s to all of the other exhausted, puzzled parents who may have thought they knew what they were doing and have been proved terribly wrong. We are in this together.
And lest you think I am a terrible awful person (I probably am), please know that you should take most of what I say as sarcastic ramblings of a woman who has 2 children in college and 2 in first grade and hasn’t slept through a night in 7 years. I love my children dearly. I am simply entertaining myself by saying what (I hope) a lot of other mothers are thinking and might feel awful actually saying. I have no such qualms. KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON 😉