It goes without saying that for the start of 2016 I’ve made the obligatory promises to myself, that I’ll struggle to keep past the 10th of Jan (in fact I haven’t actually started them yet): drink more water (any would be a great start), double cleanse before bed (a single cleanse would be a major achievement), watch my spending, get organised… blah blah blah, but these are all relatively selfish resolutions. The one I’m hell bent on keeping is – stop shouting at the kids so much, or at least shout at them for the right reasons.
I was astounded when I heard a mum of two boys who lives nearby saying: “Oh, I felt so bad for shouting at them this morning, I never shout at them!”. Bloody hell woman, do you live on the Stepford estate and what are you drugging your kids with if you never have the need to shout at two boys? I’ll admit, along with my perplexity came a pang of jealousy – I would love to get in my car on a Monday morning heading to work with a skip in my step, warm tea in thermos cup (not down my front), having not yelled at the boys about teeth brushing, toilet flushing, uniform wearing, shoe finding and breakfast choosing – to quote Liza Doolittle, “Oh, wouldn’t it be lovely!”. I can only imagine that it would brighten the boys day somewhat too. But I’m also a realist. I know that in our house, just to be heard, a shout is quite often necessary – but these aren’t the shouts I’m talking about. I’m referring to the ones that are borne out of frustration on my part – for not starting bedtime earlier then being forced to shout “why aren’t you in bed yet?”; for not letting the kids know in advance what is for dinner then wondering why they get a little thrown-off when I present them with the latest culinary delight, only for them to say “I don’t like that!”; for yelling “C’mon, we need to leave!” when I haven’t really given sufficient warning and haven’t offered any help in getting them towards the door. These are the shouts I go to bed at night thinking “Maybe I was a bit harsh on [fill in child’s name] earlier! I know, I’ll go give him a kiss in his sleep and tell him I love him!”
The more I think about the shouts that can be avoided the more I realise it comes down to me and my organisation. In an ideal world I’d have a weekly menu on the fridge for all to see, right next to the schedule of when we’ll be leaving the house for various activities – but we all know that ain’t gonna happen; besides, life quite often throws us curve balls, such as: the dog breaking into the fridge and eating all the meat products from the freshly done weekly shop! Vegetarian week here we come! But at the very least, I could offer more notice to the little people involved.
Another reason I know I end up shouting at blank looking faces, is that I haven’t actually made my expectations crystal clear. I just assumed by repeatedly telling the boys in the morning: brush your teeth, wash your face, make your bed, get dressed……. that after 7 years they would realise that this is a routine. School Girl Error! I don’t think they’d recognise a routine if it was dressed as Cristiano Ronaldo and tripped them over on their way to their PS3. I need to spell it out for these primates – IN THE MORNING MUMMY EXPECTS YOU TO…… Only then, if the given instructions are not completed, will I have a reason to share my grievance.
So, in light of the dawning of 2016 here’s to a calmer mummy and happier (more informed) children. Right, now I just need the stationary to accompany this new organisation!