17 June 2009

a nicer mom


Backhanded complement? Hmm...
Last week I overheard my middle son tell my youngest,
"We're lucky we don't have a nicer mom, otherwise our house would get so messy...luckily mom complains all the time for us to put our shoes away and stuff"
Gulp. I DO constantly, err "remind", sometimes LOUDLY, to "take your shoes off why are your backpacks in the middle of the floor turn off the lights feed your hamster close the door turn it down don't eat in there PLEASE flush the toilet wash your hands do your homework take off your muddy socks..." and on and on, over and over. I get so sick of hearing myself nag. I try to assign jobs but no one really seems to take it seriously or keep up consistently, including me...I'm pretty lame at following routines, frankly, and so I totally get that I'm part of the problem (and then there's my husband...oooh boy)

And I get resentful. Ugly thoughts about ungratefulness. Though I try not to use that word because I was often called it as a kid and found it hurtful. But I still think it. Does anyone notice or care that I'm constantly picking up and doing all the things that parents who are mostly at home do? Does anyone appreciate it? Appreciate me? Maybe if I bang around childishly when unloading the dishwasher again, someone will notice and say thanks! Ha. Such a cliche...

So here's my question:
How do you manifest kinder feelings about the mundane tasks around the house? How do you get your families to do what needs to be done without so much haranguing? I have hopes of turning this frown upside down and figuring out a way to get everyone involved so I'm less grumpy and they are better prepared for life. What's working for you?
SOS - please send a lifeline so my kids don't have to give backhanded complements...'cause I prefer them straight up!

9 comments:

Sarah said...

What's wrong w/ not being a "nicer mom", eh? Is it actually a problem, or does hearing that just make you feel bad?

If the former, go on strike for a few days + see what happens. If you can stand it. If the latter, embrace the kind of mom you are, because you're helping teach your kids how to take care of themselves!

DoulaMomma said...

I guess it's just that I get sick of nagging - sick of hearing myself. And wishing they would do more to pitch in without me threatening...so the problem isn't so much their perception of "nicer" or not...it's the way I feel...I FINE with being the bad guy when needed (someone has to!)!

Laurie said...

I have a feeling your middle son probably made that observation after visiting our house!!!! It's messy enough normally, but with three extra 12-year-old girls here, you can imagine what it's been like the last several days. And, btw, I'm not any nicer, my nagging is just lost as white noise on my children.

DoulaMomma said...

Ha ha - nope - don't think he was commenting on your housekeeping, but gat to know I'm not alone!

Caitlin said...

It seems my mood definitely makes a huge difference in how I ask in the first place, and then the results. I have felt very much the same way w/just one girl and hubby but it annoys me more than them. So, on a good day, I ask nicely and usually it gets done, on a not so good day I nag and it almost never happens and I get resentful, etc.. On really good days I realize it isn't that important and usually it has more to do w/my level of self care, I'm over tired, or under appreciating myself, so I want to hear from others how great I am doing. Sometimes I just say straight up, tell me you notice the things I did today and appreciate them being done! But mostly it's a vicious cycle that has good days and bad and mostly a lot of not that important in the middle. Sigh, motherhood, there should be all sorts of courses on this stuff, I've never seen one. Keep on keepin' on!

Elizabeth Gallo said...

oh, i've thought a lot about this, actually. i get crazy(er) when i feel invisible, which never started happening until i became a mom. i adore my babies, but i have found the way some people approach me since is... well, bizarre. it's like i'm gone -- i am now merely a conductor of the things our family does. i cook, do laundry, get everyone ready for everything, to the point that i don't have time to put on earrings or brush my teeth before we go out. maybe part of it is just that instead of saying "your babies are so cute," they should consider who made the clean clothes, brushed hair, clean diapers happen. if we're out, and I MIRACULOUSLY have just what the baby needs: milk, food, diaper, bib, toy, book, WHATEVER -- acknowledge how great it is that i remembered it -- i'm not a pack horse, after all, or am i?

caitlin's right -- it is a vicious circle. the scary thing, i find though, is how neglected i leave myself in this scene. too much people pleasing.

Molly White said...

I find myself in this position all the time. I am constantly saying, "did you leave this here b/c you knew Cinderella would come by and pick it up? Well, Cinderella is going on strike!"
I find myself caught between wanting to have them treat our home and their things with respect, and keep it relatively neat, and turning them into neurotic neat freaks, like myself, who can't think straight when there's a mess and gets distracted doing yoga when I'm in downward dog and I see a toy under the couch!
Then I think of my mother, who had 6 in 8 years, four of which were boys, and I wonder how she coped.
I'm trying to find a happy medium, where they can be comfortable in their home, where we can enjoy each other without allowing the floors to get so gross I can't walk on them!

Nanda Mama said...

Oh Mama! You seem to be channeling me. I am working on gratitude lately. I get so tired of doing the same thing over and over again. What has worked for me lately (besides wine) is telling myself that I am helping them become better people. My mom did not tell me to pick up stuff and did not participate in my life on a consistent basis so I figured a lot out by myself and mostly got it wrong. I don't want that for my kids. So I keep that in the front of my mind. I am creating good citizens and good neighbors. Hope that helps, if not then wine definitely does the trick.
Big love!

DoulaMomma said...

Thanks everyone!
Is that wine for me or the kids, Nanda?? ;-)