Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kids and chores, the struggle is too real.

Have your kids help out around the house.  Teach them responsibility.  Set them up to be big winners in the game of life by having them load the dishwasher
every night.
The kids are pretending that the vacuums are proton packs and that they are Ghost Busters.  This was my husband's idea. He's a genius.

There’s only one problem with that.  Getting your kids to do chores IS a chore.  I can spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen after dinner OR I can split it down into tiny taskletts and parcel them out to the children and then observe and correct them (No dearest!  Sweeping doesn’t just mean dragging the broom in a circle around the floor, you have to actually look at it to make sure the bits are getting swept up.) but not ACTUALLY do it for them, keep them on task, and then of course deal with the inevitable melt down where one child loudly denounces the other children for not doing their fair share, one child curls up into a ball and moans that they are TOOO TIRED, and the other children screams at you that you have RUINED THEIR WHOLE DAY AND DOES THIS MEAN THEY WON’T GET ANY TABLET TIME?!?!? An hour later, we’re all late for bedtime and the kitchen is not clean.  But they’ve been taught about responsibility!  And then as I always do I imagine them acting in exactly this way when they are grown up.  My kid.  Lying on the floor after the manager at their first minimum wage job asks them to sweep the floor.  “BUT MY LEGS ARE SO TIRED! I can’t hold the broom, or stand.  I’m too tired to BREATHE.”

And goddess forbid that they want to help you cook dinner.  I hope you have three hours to cook.

Fold a shirt, or sit next to someone and describe in precise details 10 times in a row how to fold a shirt….or have your folding corrected by a 5 year old who thinks that your way of folding is DUMB and will greet her father at the door loudly proclaiming “GUESS WHAT PAPA!! I TAUGHT MOM HOW TO FOLD UNDERWEAR TODAY BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T KNOW HOW AND I DID, ISN’T THAT FUNNY!!!”  Hillllllarious.

Here’s the thing though.  Between the nature programs they devour on television and the environmental curriculum that they get at school, these kids will run out into oncoming traffic to pick up a piece of litter.  Baby bird fell out of a tree? ARMAGEDDON.  But pick up the thousand shreds of paper that fell to the floor during the afternoon art project?  I’M SO TIRED I CAN’T LIFT PAPER.

I’ve decided that the way to inspire them to help out around the house is to use the words from their school lectures.  Clean the living room?  Hell no. We are working on our “ENVIRONMENT.” Make your bed?  Oh no.  We are tidying up our nests. 

It’s totally not working.

Then I thought maybe some music would help them keep on task. Let’s be honest, the only time my house has ever gotten anything close to clean is if I have been having a jolly old rock out.  If I had a cleaning service it would be called “Punk Rock Get’s it DONE,” but also don’t hire me to clean your house I’m a horrible housekeeper. 

Have you ever seen 3 under 10’s mosh out to “Let it GO?” Well come by my house during after dinner clean up and you shall, oh yes, you shall.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Once upon a time, on pinterest...

I’m stating clearly, so that there can be absolutely no doubt about my opinions as you read this, that I think parenting advice is absolute bunk. “Parenting” books are a million, probably BILLION dollar industry that exists solely to make money for authors and publishers at the cost of your confidence and instinct. I’ve been the parent of a newborn three times and hope never to return to that bleak hellscape.  There’s a reason that sleep deprivation is used to torture people.  Every parent that has ever parented since the beginning of time has thought “I must be doing this WRONG! There’s NO WAY this could be the normal circumstance of raising a child!”  Spoiler alert.  Parenting is a fucking hard job and there is NO EXPERT that can tell you how to do it because no one has ever parented your child before. 

And now, bless us, there is the internet where any asshole with a digital camera can wipe the frosting off their kid’s chin, prop them up next to “baby’s first periodic table” and pretend for 30 seconds that they know what the fuck they are doing.  And hooray! Maybe they have it all figured out, I can’t say for sure, but I do know 100% that they don’t have it figured out with YOUR kid, and YOUR life and YOUR schedule of crucial but inevitably neglected tasks. 

Pinterest is a breeding ground for helpful advice from well meaning strangers.  Pinterest will tell you in NO uncertain terms that YOU are failing at life.  There are literally thousands of to-do lists, meal plans, check lists, work out challenges etc. for you to print off and post on your refrigerator to be lost among the expired coupons, soccer practice schedules, and lists of unpurchased school supplies. These “free printables” (excuse me but WHAT?  You are going to, FOR FREE, create another piece of paper to clutter up my life and make me feel guilty about not doing ENOUGH? THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH!!) are always full of words like “simple” and “just” and “routine,” promising that if you “Just include these simple steps in your daily routine,” that your life will be magically transformed something from the centerfold of Martha Stewart’s special House Porn edition. 

I got news for you.  There is “just” nothing “simple” about a household “routine.”  “Just do 10 push-ups before every shower!”  Sorry but I fail to see how doing 10 push ups once a week is going to do fuck-all for my core strength.  “Just print out this simple meal schedule for routine weeknight dinners!”  Great,  sounds good.  I’ll just go shopping for all of these things that I don’t normally buy during the ten minute long gap in my schedule and then spend an extra half hour making something that half my family won’t eat.  Simple!  “Just follow these simple steps to streamline your housekeeping routine.”   I would FUCKING LOVE to wipe down my counters every morning after unloading my dishwasher and making my bed.  That would be utterly fan-fucking-tastic, except that the school is actually super uncool about dropping your kids off unfed in their pajamas.  I KNOW?!  Judgemental fuckers, right?!

I do have one life hack that will totally simplify your daily routine though.  Stop believing in the perfect routine where everything gets done and everyone is happy all the time.  It’s the modern fairytale, and it’s basically as likely as opening your door and finding your fairy godmother standing there with a pair of glass slippers for you.  Good enough is GREAT. There is always going to be SOMETHING that falls short.  The best that you can do is to define for yourself how bad it can get before it’s REALLY falling apart. That’s going to be different for everyone!  And the bloggers and the pinners have a different breaking point than you do.  Maybe you really do fall apart if your bed doesn’t get made every morning.  That’s great! Make the bed! But something else is going to slide a little bit while you’re doing it.  AND THAT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL AND OKAY. 

Good enough.  It’s as good as you get.