Thursday, August 27, 2009

That feeling.

Ugh. Its happened again. I'm inadequate. My kids are awful. Their behavior is atrocious. And I just don't know what the fuck to do about it. I try to parent, punish, discipline, instill the right values, teach the good lessons, lead by good example, look both ways before I cross the street, hold hands in the parking lot, brush your teeth at bedtime AND in the morning, wash your hands before dinner, wipe your butt until there is no poop on the toilet paper, ask in a nice way, use your words, hands are not for hitting, etc. etc. etc. But it isn't always just screaming and running around in restaurants, or the skid marks in their underwear. Today, my kid decided he was curious if the neighbor's garage door was he repeatedly rammed his brand new scooter into it until the said neighbor poked his head out the door to see what the noise was. Mind you I was there, outside in the driveway watching him, but my huge, honking mini-van blocked my view of the top of my neighbor's driveway for this critical 15 seconds in time. And so wouldn't you know it...the brand-new scooter left several marks and small dents on the 1 day old paint job on the less than a year old garage door. And the neighbor wasn't too happy. And as I stood next to my neighbor looking at the damaged garage door, repeatedly saying I'm sorry, I couldn't see him for a minute and I'll repaint your garage door, and I'm really sorry...blah, blah, blah. I had "that feeling". That sinking feeling, that feeling that I know I did something wrong, but I don't know any way to fix it. And I never thought that feeling could get any worse...I've experienced it many times and hate it every time. But it does get worse...what's worse is when its something your kid did. How can I fix it? How can I return the world to the way it was 3 minutes ago? Why don't I know the right way to handle this? Why did I let this happen in the first place? Why did I get him a new scooter? Why doesn't he respect other people's property? Why aren't I stricter? I need to be stricter. I need more rules. I'm ephasizing the wrong rules. I need simpler rules. I need to watch him EVERY second. I need to keep him in the driveway. I need to keep him in the house. I have no business raising three children. I can't even keep the litter box clean. I'm stuck. I'm in this...I'm a parent...I want to do a good job...I want good kids...I'm so inadequate, but I don't have a choice. I'm it, I'm a parent and tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Boy Toys

I find myself buying toys for Bug all the time. I don't know if its because he's the oldest and his tastes are clearly defined or because he's a boy and boy toys are everywhere...or if this is some kind of subconscience favoritism. I'm trying to be more mindful of case one of the girls starts to notice.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Its my blog, so I can bitch if I want to.

Since my last post, T-Dad and I established some daily chores that he does and daily chores that I do. The intent was to try REALLY hard to do them all once a day for 30 days to make them a habit...and then we could re-evaluate and see if they needed to be tweaked. These are the specific tasks we discussed and assigned to each person:
T-Dad's Daily Chore List included...
1. The Bathroom (spray/wipe the counter, around the toilet and shower with Clorox Go Anywhere)
2. Load the washing machine and move clothes to the dryer at least once a day.
3. Once a week mow the lawn.
4. Once a week take the trash to the curb.
(Work outside the home 40 hrs/wk, commute to work 1 hr roundtrip 5 days a week, random "odd jobs" around the house suited to his skills)

My Daily Chore List included...
1. Clear/wipe the table after meals and stay on top of the dishes.
2. Fold and put away all the laundry.
3. Keep the living room picked up.
4. Scoop the litter box as needed.
(And exclusively breastfeeding a small infant, being the sole caretaker of 3 young children most of every day, random odd jobs around the house suited to my skills)

As you can guess, we did pretty well for the first 5-7 days...and then things started to wane. I reminded T-Dad to do his chores once or twice. And I barely got any laundry folded and the living room was messy all week. But I did a decent job staying on top of the dishes.

So then...I just returned from a visit to my parents. I left my house on Wednesday morning about 7am and returned on Monday at around 5pm. If you count it out, its about 5.5 days. That is 5.5 days that T-Dad had the house to himself. Mind you, he had to work on most of the days. And to just to be clear, being at anyone's house for 5.5 days isn't a walk in the park with 3 small children. I was the primary disciplinarian, food provider, comforter, etc. with help from my family.

So I returned to my house yesterday to find it a mess. There were still dishes with encrusted cereal (from before we left) on the counter, the living room/hallway was still littered with toys and crap and there were no groceries in the house. T-Dad did do things while we were gone...he folded a bunch of laundry and even put some of the kids' clothes in thier drawers, he did maybe 1 load of dishes, vacuumed by the table, he picked up the kids room enough so he could move thier beds into bunk beds (all by himself) and then last night while I went grocery shopping, he did another load of dishes.
So I come back from grocery shopping and he has the TV on and the chess board set up and want to play chess. How sweet. He said, "Do you want to play chess?" and I said, "No, I want to punch you in the face." But I sat down and made my fist move. And then he made a move. And he said, "I guess I could have gotten more done but I thought I did pretty well. " I said, "Look around you (piles of crap and toys everywhere)And he said, "I don't think you have any reason to be mad, you said you were going to pick up the living room last week and you haven't folded any laundry since we started out "new jobs"." I replied calmly, "You're right I haven't stayed with it like I should have. I was just hoping with 5 days by yourself, you might make some more progress on the house." His response, "I did about what I expected to get done and I think its enough. It was a pretty "even mix" between working and relaxing." I just stared blankly at him...and eventually got up and went to the car to bring in my suitcases and ignored him. Mostly I didn't say anything because...I think I say too much sometimes. He had some very good points and he had actually done a fair amount. But what pissed me off became obvious that we don't share the same life view. I want the house to be picked up and nice looking because that's the way it should be, that's the way the kids like it, that's the way I like it, etc. He pickes up and does chores because...I put it on a list. WTF. Why doesn't he care about having a nice looking house? Why doesn't he think "Hey Lav Lem would really appreciate it if I picked up the house before she came home?"

Apparently T-Dad is pissed at me because I'm pissed at him. He slept on the couch downstairs last night. The reason I'm mad...I resent the fact that I have to change my lazy ways in order to give my children the house and life I feel they should have. My resentment is directed at him. I don't really know why...I guess I thought we were both "in this together" so what I suffered, he would also suffer through. But really...that's not the way it is. I know that I want my house to be a certain way, and honestly, we've got a long way to go before its there. But I am really trying to change my "messy ways" and I think T-Dad should too. But he's not, he's contentedly remaining lazy and messy and I have to do all the work. (Okay, that's not a true statement, I don't do ALL the work...just most of it.:)