Unexpectedly short-lived resolutions!

2017 has arrived and the Christmas holidays have drawn to a close. While the return to some semblance of structure will be welcomed, the return to morning madness, frantic searches for missing pieces of school uniforms, lunch-making and bloody homework means that my new year’s resolution to “live in the moment” will be truly challenged this week.

Looking at the long faces of my children last week as we took down the Christmas tree and packed away the decorations, I reminded them that they have so much to look forward to this year. I spoke to them of upcoming communions and confirmations, mid term breaks and zoo trips and the not too distant return of the longer evenings which means more playtime.

It was then that I had to stop myself. So much time is spent wishing away the now, believing things will be better at this time, that time, holiday time, weekend time and not enough time is spent appreciating what we have in the here and now. “You don’t have to wait until the weekend to have fun” I reminded my children. “Most of you finish school by 2:25, the evening is your own- if you just got stuck in and got that homework out of the way”.

Unconvinced by my reasonings, the usual protestations about the injustice of life and homework took place, so I persisted. I spoke to them about redirecting the daily effort that they put into complaining, into productivity. I reminded them that if they just focused they could get that homework done in a reasonable time and if they stopped killing each other mid-task they could also sort out their rooms in ten minutes.

“This year I want things to be different, we will enjoy our weekdays”, I insisted ever so slightly manically.

A call came from upstairs to say that there was a half-eaten teacake and the baby’s soother in the bottom of the toilet. For good measure someone had already pee’d on it.

As I fished the offending items from the bottom of the loo another call came, this time to tell me that the dishwasher wasn’t working.

I looked at the soother and tea-cake and thought about the mountain of dishes that would need washing by virtue of the fact that Chicken Tikka Masala was on the menu for dinner tonight. I figure there are exceptions to every rule and this must be one of them.  This is not a moment I want to live in.  I want to fast-forward to that moment, when at some stage this week hopefully, the repair man arrives!!


Housework is not just for mums!

Housework is the bane of my life. In fairness, it’s not the doing of housework that especially bothers me – if anything there’s something quite therapeutic about taking a room apart and putting it back together again, discovering a hairbrush, baby talc and the portable dvd remote control all of which have been missing for the past week, in the process. It’s the less therapeutic effect of returning to the same room two minutes later only to find it has been restored to its former lack of glory as Spiderman scrambles over the now cushion-less couch while Ironman drags the decorative throw along the floor giving Superman and The Hulk a sleigh-ride. Darth Vader meanwhile turns the playroom on its head in search of his lightsaber and a watergun.

This summer, I decided it was time my kids learned to do a few things for themselves. To start with I wasn’t looking for miracles, just basic things like putting their underwear in the wash basket.  The sort of things that are supposed to distinguish us from the rest of the animal kingdom. And after daily reminding of approximately 5 – 226 times we’re finally starting to have success, some of the time.

More recently I decided it was time to encourage some age appropriate chores.  Not only, I figured, would this give me a little bit of help , I felt it might make the older children aware of how much effort goes into running the house and hopefully make them think twice before creating a mess.  My naivety never ceases to amaze me.

Harry Enfield’s Kevin and Perry had nothing on the sort of reaction I was greeted with.  The mere suggestion of making their own beds and tidying their room after some of them had ALREADY placed their own used breakfast bowl in the sink was met with declarations of “that’s not fair” and insistence that the requested child would only tidy their side of the room. Cue stomping upstairs and a literal battleline drawn. Two minutes later the dulcet tones of two lads killing each other echoed down the stairs and I was forced, in a gentle manner, reminiscent of a fishwife, to lovingly call “don’t make me come up there!!!”

Downstairs, meanwhile, the next two up to the “not literal” plate were all ready to resist the task in hand. Emptying the dishwasher and hoovering apparently is tantamount to child abuse, plus the hoover is a very complicated piece of equipment to operate, it seems.  Grumbling every step of the way the two carried out the job asked of them, badly. Their claims that none of their friends would ever have to do anything like this, fell on deaf, but fed up, ears.

As I slowly lost my mind following battles which ended withhalf hearted, half completed jobs I realised I have a long way to go.  I am however, determined to persist and teach my children a bit about responsibility. All I need now is to summon up the strength to be consistent. As Gloria Gaynor so eloquently put it “At first I was afraid, I was petrified” but “I will survive”!