This whole parenting thing is all about raising successful adults, isn’t it? That is what I am thinking and worrying about on a daily basis. Yes, they need to be kids, enjoy their lives, have fun, etc, etc but surely along the way, we have a responsibility to teach them a few skills to help them survive adulthood don’t we?
My little tribe isn’t so little anymore. One has successfully navigated his way through the teen years and my parenting and is a fully fledged adult, surviving on his own very successfully at university. But my concerns rest primarily with child two and three, the tween and teen. They are both great kids and I love them to pieces but inwardly (and all too often outwardly) I am screaming at them to just occasionally help me out a little by doing the simplest things.
I feel like going on strike and refusing to do these things that they could so easily do themselves but I know that even after a couple of hours I wouldn’t be able to cope and would end up doing it myself. They aren’t even big things. I’m not asking them to do all the washing, ironing, cooking. They are the simplest and smallest things that I find myself repeatedly nagging them to do EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Is it so hard …
To change a toilet roll?
This one really irritates me. I even put spare toilet rolls so that they don’t even have to leave the room or engage any real effort at all. But no. I get to the bathroom and there it is, the offending toilet roll looking rather sorry for itself. They can’t even be bothered to put it in the bin, let along replace it. What is even worse is that there is often an empty toilet roll on the holder and then four or five other toilet rolls all in use, dotted around the bathroom.
To pick up a wet towel off the floor?
This one irritates me even more. One of my children (who shall remain nameless) is fondly known as the soap-dodger as it takes a huge effort to even get him in the bath or shower. Once in there, they love it and stays in there until the water is stone cold but then where does the towel go? On the towel rail, radiator or in the wash basket? No, of course not. Why would you do that when there is a perfectly good floor to leave it on. Along with the dirty clothes which you also cannot be bothered to pick up and put somewhere more convenient.
To turn off a light
Sometimes I come home and find every single light in the house on. I kid you not. I can almost follow the trail of lights from one room to the other as I imagine my children going to going in (hall light), dumping bags on the kitchen floor, going upstairs (landing light), getting their devices (living room light), going on their Xboxes (bedroom lights) and going to the toilet (toilet lights). Even in the morning, as we leave I ask my youngest son every morning to switch all of the lights off upstairs and 9 times out of 10, I get home to find them all still switched on. They are pretty rubbish at turning anything off, in fact, TVs devices, chargers, consoles, there is definitely a pattern forming there. We are playing more than our fair share in causing global warming and don’t even mention the electricity bill.
To do your homework before bedtime on a Sunday night?
This is one that I might just have been guilty of myself all those many years ago (in prehistoric times according to my son!) All through the week I gently remind them that they don’t want to leave too much homework until the weekend. They do. So, Friday night we devise a plan of action. They ignore it. Cue Sunday night and it is a mad fight for the computer, one of them begging to use my laptop and a general panic to get everything done. I try very hard not to say I told you so, but I did and I do.
To get yourself a drink?
We live in a three-storey house. We have always loved living here but there is one disadvantage. The living room is on the middle floor. It is only one set of stairs down to the kitchen but you would think it was a huge winding stairway into the scariest place on earth. I want a drink, I want something to eat. These are regular requests and whilst both boys are really old enough now to sort themselves out, hell would have to freeze over before they would set foot on those stairs. My husband is a bit of a fitness freak and I reckon most of the steps he clocks up on his Fitbit come from running up and down stairs playing cook and waiter to our sons every evening.
To come off your screen or device on the first, second, third, fourth time of asking
I have mentioned this problem a few times in previous posts and whilst I would love to say that it has improved over time, it has not. If anything, it has gotten worse. There is always a game to finish, a level to complete, a conversation to finish, a streak to do (Snapchat in case you were wondering). It drives me insane. The number of meals that get eaten cold or the times we have been late for things just because of those damn devices.
To pack unpack your own bag
One of my children does do this job. Hurrah. It takes him about 30 seconds. 30 seconds. The other one does witness this but still, he cannot be bothered. He just chucks it on the kitchen floor and I am stupid enough to sort it for him. If I waited for him to do it, he would be married with kids before it would get done and sometimes it is just easier to do these things yourself isn’t it?
To brush your teeth
Personally, I could not leave the house without brushing my teeth. It is horrible. That feeling of plaque infested molars is not good and as for the bad breath? Urgh, I couldn’t bear it. One of my children, however, would happily never brush his teeth. I do not know how he can stand it. He does do it and usually twice a day but the effort involved in getting such a small job done and the moaning and fuss that he makes is really not necessary.
To get out of bed
You remember those days when you were awake before Cbeebies had even started and you wished that your little darlings would stay in bed until a time that didn’t feel like the middle of the night? Well, let me tell you that it goes from the sublime to the ridiculous. I have to physically drag mine out of bed these days, the teen and tween in particular. Part of the problem is that as they get older, they have an aversion to going to bed as they think they are so grown up they need sleep. The funny thing is that if they don’t need sleep, why can’t they get up in the morning? Very frustrating.
To flush the toilet
My final ‘is it that hard’ moan is about toilet flushing. There is an adult in this house who is also guilty as charged (not me) and it drives me insane. It takes two seconds. Two seconds!! That is all it takes to be hygenic and save the next person in the loo the displeasure and sometimes downright horror of seeing the contents of your bowels. You can tell me that you are thinking of the environment and saving water but I know that really you are just downight bloody lazy. End of.