Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Probable Overreaction

You know the phrase "the straw that broke the camel's back?" My straw was ice cream.

My kids have been driving me CRAZY with their total irresponsibility with the house. I know, kids are kids the world over, and most of them don't understand or care that parents like to have the house looking clean and decent, and that assistance with this is not only appreciated, but very often necessary. I know, many kids don't understand that everything costs money, and they just randomly use the things they find in the house without thought to the idea that someone had to go get those things, and spend money to do it, and that money doesn't grow on trees, yada yada.

My kids have been blithely going along acting like the house is a free hotel with built-in maid service and an unlimited mini-bar, and this morning I absolutely snapped on it.

I've been attempting this morning to actually shovel through the mountains of friggin disaster that is my house. That I have received little to no help on, regardless of the number of times that I have asked or demanded help. I have been scrubbing and running up and down the stairs, and I HAPPENED across this mess.

I found, on the dining room table, amidst piles of kid crap that I had been asking to get taken care of, and a bag of clothes brought back two days ago from their father's house, a grocery bag containing an unopened container of ice cream. That had been left there since the day before. Somebody had gotten it out of the big freezer and pulled the OTHER container of ice cream out to eat some, and instead of putting this back, had just left it. And of course it was ruined.

I. Just. Snapped.

I am SO completely sick of this crap. I am sick of being treated with such incredible disrespect that they think that I have nothing better to do with my LIFE than to clean the house every day, all day, while they just leave things wherever they feel like it. I am sick of working my ass off trying to figure out how to get them tons of fashionable clothes, deals so they can have the current electronics, each have their own computer for crying out loud, and plenty of food and snacks and toys and whatever, just so they can treat it all like nothing.

I have just screamed my throat raw telling them that I deserve more in my life than this. That I have other things in my life that I could be doing. That I am just ONE person, a single mom trying to make the best life for her family, and that I'm not doing it alone anymore. I. Deserve. Better. mk


Amy said...

So they don't get any better as they get older, huh?

I snap oh, several times a week, I think.

I would probably use some mother manipulation on them. "Oh, well, I guess I don't have to bother find cool clothes/iPods/cell phones for you guys anymore, since you obviously don't care about it anyway." In fact, they would probably have to hand over the gadget of choice until they shape up. But I'm just mean that way. (Just ask them. They tell me daily.)

And spoiling the ice cream is a VERY serious offense, in my opinion. They deserve every bit of punishment they get!

Anonymous said...

Yes, you DO deserve better. No meltdowns over melted ice cream!

I, too, recently snapped...will tell you about it later. Suffice it to say that there have been some MAJOR changes around here.

Anonymous said...

I think it's totally fair and reasonable to let kids see you have a tantrum once in a while, particularly one that is realistic and based in reality. They screwed up, lots of times. You got mad. It's all logical.

Because if they don't see you get mad, and even lose control, once in a while, then they'll never learn how to recover from that sort of thing.

That's my rationale, and I'm sticking to it.

Cynical Nymph said...

I agree with katesaid! I think if my mom had snapped when I deserved it a few more times that she did, I'd probably be MUCH better at getting my husband to act like an adult in term of housework.

"Parenting: Ur doing it rite," as the lolcats might say. Hang in there. Next time I hop on one of my OCD cleaning binges, I'll email you. Maybe you'll have figured out how to teleport me by then.

markira said...

Amy, he had to pay for the ice cream. It had caramel in it, too...just *wrong* to destroy something so good. Also, I told them that the first time they walk past something without picking it up, I was taking it away. My house is actually looking *much* better now.

Ro, you will tell me all on Saturday!

Kate, thank you for validating my tantrum. I like your rationale. ;)

Ali, I am working on the teleporter right now!

Anonymous said...

Hi mk....and ladies....

Markira....just catching up on your postings, ..really sorry to hear about your blow-up, but I truly do identify with it!! When you wrote about your kids and "their total irresponsibilty with the house"; and "acting like the house is a free hotel with built-in maid (or butler!)service "....etc.; I really wanted to write to you.

My two are now 15 and 19 years old....and it was ALWAYS exactly what you are going thru. You may recall that I work nightshift, on a 12-hour stretch (1/2 a day, right?) 3 nights a week. Well, I'd come home in the morning of the last night of work, only to see the same 'piles of S#!%!' sitting everywhere, for 3 days. Like you, I'd lose it. "I work long, crappy hours trying to provide for this family! // Why are you ALL leaving the dishes-laundry-toilet-vacuuming for me?? // Don't any of you care what this place looks like??"..etc. And, MK, I've been doing nights for 20 years.....I'm tired.

What has changed....and made an actual difference in this household...was for me to STOP "screaming my throat raw" to people who would only do the right thing for a few days...(then, right back to the same old crap). Markira, when you wrote about the 'incredible disrespect'....and that "I have other things in my life I could be doing'...well, you actually got me a bit misty......!

I don't know if your blow-up will have positive, lasting effects on Mark and Kira. Your kids are much younger than mine. But I know that you don't want to have these blow-ups on a regular basis...you feel bad after, (and dammit, sometimes 'ya actually get chest pains!!)

I told my wife and kids that the show was over (without raising my voice). Nobody really took me serious, and they all knew that in the end, Dad would do the dishes, wash/dry/fold/carry up everyone's laundry, scrub the toilet, whatever. Wrong! Everyone is now "on their own". You dirty the dishes and don't wash them...they grow mold. You don't clean the toilet....go behind a bush outside. You don't do your own laundry...go out in public looking like a slob.

Mk, it has worked well for a few years now. Why on earth should we do for our kids...what they need to be doing for themselves??

I am a commuter....I could be taken out of the equation at ANY time....then what would they have done? As of today, they know precisely what they are responsible for, and if it doesn't get done -- tough for them. This hard-edge tactic is the only thing that has brought peace, at least to me.

And, ladies....SOMETIMES husbands aren't the only ones who need to act like adults when it comes to housework. There were issues with my wife, and she sometimes would just crack a smile, sometimes just join in the disrespect. Well, "what goes around comes around". She has been working as a letter carrier for a few months now. She works 6 days a week - just Sundays off! It has been brutally hot the last few weeks....she comes home VERY tired and beat. She has almost zero time for herself, now. (Sucks, don't it?) I'm NOT saying that she puts me up on an altar....but - at least there is NO disrespect anymore. She appreciates having me do laundry for her....washing SOME of her laundry...and generally finding that she can come home and put up her sore feet, and relax. I'd say that there is now an actual 'degree of respect' from her.

MK - I want to give you 'props' for doing all you do as a single parent. If you didn't fall asleep reading my diatribe, then I hope you'll take something from it, like the fact that you maybe need to do more things for yourself. From what I've read, and the pictures you've posted, you seem to be a truly great Mom, who loves her children. You are way too young (and cool!) to be feeling so very stressed out. I don't know many parents who've gotten so into their kids' activities! Maybe you need to look back through your own blog, and look at all the fun stuff you do with and for them!

But DON'T forget you!! Someday, they will have to leave the nest. Who knows where their lives will take them...near, or far away? Outside of Maine? Just don't wait until they reach 15 & 19 to take real action. Let them know "how it's going to be" now.

Sorry to have gone on for so long...but I don't like to see you (read you?) upset and stressed out.

Now, if you'll excuse me...I have to go register for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Rider course (Hey, a ride up to Maine!), and then I'm taking a spin up to the Bass Pro Shop in Foxborough. I wanted my daughter Katie to come along, but she has massive amounts of wet laundry in the basement that she has to re-do, because she didn't finish the job to completion 2 days ago!!

Let me know what you think.

markira said...

Paul! I've missed you! And yes, I read every word of your "diatribe" (more than once)...you made some very good points. Mark, in particular, is definitely old enough to shoulder more of his own responsibilities (not to say that Kira isn't capable of more, also!).

Most of the time I don't mind doing more, *because* my kids are so busy in school and other activities, and my full-time job is being a mom. I do want them to be able to concentrate on learning and keeping fit, so I'm willing to keep the house running during the school year (with basic assistance like not making more work for me!). But it's summer vacation, and they've got to step it up. Plus, it's important for them to learn now how to do all of these things. Life skills!

Thanks for your comment (thought-provoking)...how was Bass Pro? mk

Anonymous said...

MK - I've missed you, too..! There were some long stretches of time (after your friends' wedding) with no entries from you.

Bass Pro Shop was great, (but very expen$ive!!). Almost exactly like Kittery Trading Posting....same idea.

Forgive me for not always commenting. Sometimes your postings/topics are strictly "ladies only". But, hey.. I'm still here in the background, always ready to give you a boost!!

Talk to you later....