Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is is really so hard?

I realize my blogs of late have been rants and mostly annoyances with my kids as the top subject. But, really, I do not understand why it has to be so hard. The kids have daily chores. They are written down in plain view. They are simple and concise. If they are done each day as outlined, they take approximately 15 minutes a day. 15 minutes out of 24 hours is really not too much to ask. Some of the kids do their chores every day. Some do not. Some blatantly ignore them and see them as mere "suggestions" or "guidelines" rather than hard and fast rules.

For the past two days I have not said a word about the kitchen table, despite the fact that we have not been able to eat there for dinner because it's been covered. With what? Here are but a few of the items: a Choco Taco wrapper from the ice cream man, a Go-Gurt wrapper, two dirty plates, three dirty cups, a package of Twistables crayons, a cup of pens, scissors, a box of envelopes, several sheets of paper, and crumbs to name a few things. None of this was touched, put away, moved or wiped off in two days. So, I called in the troops to do their duty. And was I met with the wrath! How dare I request they pick up after themselves? The nerve! On the counter? The milk, a large container of yogurt, two large jars of peanut butter, jelly, dirty knife, Ovaltine, the Magic Bullet blender, dirty paper towels. The remnants of a snack you say? Absolutely! The snacks were enjoyed and the mess left behind for - who? Me? I don't think so.

When I heard the inevitable "that's not mine" I reminded them that I spend a good portion of EVERY day picking up things that are "not mine". To which I got "well, you're a mom, that's your job!" Not a good answer. Almost as bad as when I reminded them that I have a J-O-B and they said "oh, right, you play with two adorable kids and a cute puppy all day!" Excuse me?

I don't know when kids got the idea that they are equals, or worse, above their parents, but the buck stops here. I am sick of being sassed, ignored and disrespected and hearing the wrath when I dare to request that they pick up after themselves and be contributing members of this family. I even got a "you're pissing me off right now so I'm not going to talk to you anymore" (guess which kid?) and she promptly called her dad to "rescue" her from this dire situation, which he did (and guess who didn't do her chores today?). I'm sure at this very moment they are luxuriating in the permissiveness of daddy's house, watching TV, spending unlimited, unsupervised time on the computer and being happy they are not at their witch mom's house. Even though it's my night with them (and you better believe this won't be happening again - however, this time my anger got the better of me and I said "go ahead and call your dad and don't let the door kick you in the ass on the way out". But I digress.......)

See, the problem here, is I would NEVER have said some of the things my kids say to me to my own mom and dad. And why? Because I would have been smacked! And if I smack my kids? Oh, they threaten all the time to "call CPS" if I even joke about hitting them. That's the kind of world we live in. I tell them go ahead and call, and by the way, enjoy foster care! They have NO IDEA how lucky they are. Nor do they appreciate it. So, it forces me to be the "bad guy" and the drill sargeant just to teach them to follow some rules and have a little respect. What I don't get is that they have always known right from wrong. They have been taught manners and are well-behaved outside of the house. But inside the house? Whoa. So rude.

You know the old saying "this hurts me more than it hurts you" (supposedly uttered as a child was receiving a spanking)? Well, it really does hurt to have to yell at the kids. To have to tell them daily to do the things they already know they're supposed to be doing. I enjoy doing nice things for them, but it seems the only way to make them see the light is to stop being nice at all. I often bring them little gifts - a new shirt or a treat "just because" and I think instead of appreciating this, they have come to expect to be treated like royalty. I know kids will never appreciate all their parents do (and the hell they put them through) until they have kids of their own (and I can just hear my parents laughing now!) but I find it hard to believe that decent, empathetic kids like my own cannot see how much is done for them and show a little appreciation by being contributing members of a family, without the yelling and consequences and punishment and enforcement.

They are all excited that school is almost out for the summer! Yay! Freedom! But I think a little less freedom and a few more rules might be just what is needed around here. The many priveleges they have go unappreciated and so they must be fewer. They must be earned.

And, yes, my kids read this. I hope they get something out of it. I've gotten some good advice from those of you who read this blog over the past few posts and I intend to put some of it into practice. But most of all, I hope my kids see that asking them to clean off the kitchen table is NOT the same as asking them to cut off their hands, and they should not react as though it were. It would take five minutes of effort to avoid a whole evening of yelling, anger and "escaping" to the confines of their dad's house.


Sydney said...

I absolutely agree about how we don't appreciate our parents (our Mommy!) until we have kids of our own. I thought I appreciated my mom after adolescence, but until I had my almost-two-year-old shout "no" and then tell me I was "bad", I don't think I really ever appreciated that my Mom DIDN'T slap me across the face when I rolled my eyes and muttered, "whatever" (which I wasn't allowed to do). I can't imagine as my monkey gets older and more defiant, but Moms especially don't get nearly the credit they deserve. (Which is why I fully intend to it make up to my Mom for the rest of my life for being such a teenage bitch)

Mimi/Papa said...

I have never known kids who receive so much from their parents as your kids do! I also have never seen kids more unappreciative than they are to anything given to them. Oh, yes, "thank you" is blurted out, but is it really meant? Because I have witnessed them getting things that a lot of kids never get and then it ends up in some awful argument and then the "explosion" happens and everyone stomps off to their own rooms without even a reprimand. Yes, we would have smacked the holy crap out of our kids and if one of them EVER threatened that they'd call CPS, well, I'm sorry, but there would have been a huge dentist bill for replacing all the knocked out teeth. Teens/kids today have NO RESPECT at all. I see it everyday at work. Parents are afraid of their kids and afraid of the "system"'s so very sad. I cannot stand disrespect in any form. Parents today are trying their best to cope with all the weird world problems that we live in then still have to put up with smart-assed kids who think they are owed all the frills in life without even thinking how had it is to give them those frills. Your kids are good kids, but what in the hell are they going to do when they find out that not everyone will "give" them all the chances you and Jeff have given them? Oh, it's going to be such a rude awakening! I hope I can see their mouths drop open when some employer someday tells them..."we are not your mother, so clean up your own mess!" hahaha I also think that Doug makes it harder for you to maintain a certain form of teaching them to do for themselves. He knows he's making it harder for you and, I'm sure, enjoys it when the kids call him for an escape! OH well...just one more hurdle to get over. At least you are trying and that's all you can do at this point! Love you...