New Wine Glasses...a little white trash, but I LOVE THEM!
Sunday, 7 October 2012
Reflections from Mom on Strike
So the clean up was painful. I actually questioned what I had done to myself…whose ‘natural consequence’ was this? I held my own and didn’t help them. As I sat on the couch drinking my coffee I daydreamed about other things I would rather be doing. A double root canal and childbirth without benefit of an epidural were the winners.
Two bottles of Pinesol (I really need to buy sock in that stuff, I would wear it as perfume if I had my way) and half a bottle of bleach later my house is clean. Not perfect, but clean. I’m sure my neighbours think I am crazy vacuum woman after hearing the vacu-flo run ALL day long yesterday. Meh, I would rather be crazy vacuum women than the woman who made the headlines as:
Insane Mother Buried Alive:
Found Weeping in Fetal Positions Gripping Pinesol Bottle
I want to share with you all why I actually followed through with something I have thought about for a very long time…really since my first visit to the Labour and Delivery Unit almost 13 years ago.
My ‘paying’ job is to teach parents how to be, well…good enough parents. I do interventions and assessments with families involved in the Child Protection System. Each day I see and experience horrific things. I also have the honour to walk beside families in their scariest, darkest moments and sometimes I get to witness amazing transformations and the power of family. Last weekend when my husband was out of town golfing, I had a foster baby staying with us and a weekend filled with soccer, basketball and normal errands. (Hats off to all you single moms and dads. …I bow down to you all) By Sunday night as I sat down for the first time at 11:00pm, I was DONE!! Like stick a fork in my eye done.
Picture if you will, that you are making a bead necklace: stringing on the beads one by one, creating a beautiful masterpiece and all the time you don’t have a knot on the other end. The beads just keep falling off as fast as you can string them on. Yup…my housework beads were all over the floor and I felt like a crazy person. Not a far stretch for me…but I was on the edge. An eerie calm came over me. I almost scared myself. BOO!
I have GREAT kids. I mean, they are really cool little people and I am very proud of them for a multitude of reasons. And kinda proud of myself that I built them. They are also very privileged in many ways. We have a lovely home and lifestyle. They have the latest gadgets, coolest clothes and are able to participate in community and club sports. I want to give them the world. But as I rush around everyday working with other parents and other families, I realized I was doing my own children a dis-service. I was setting them up for failure. I fear we are raising a generation of young people whose attitudes will be “What are you going to do for me?” Well dude, it's called a pay check, get your ass to work. I want to end this parenting race with employable, successful, well-rounded happy adults with real life skills.
I had three choices:
1. Start fervently praying for their future roommates, partners, children and employers.
2. Become a raging alcoholic
Lets face it, if I don’t give them responsibility and accountability now, the basement trolls will live in my house forever, and ever and ever and ever. I had to enter into the Strike Zone. I owed it to them.
I am NOT a perfect parent (please don’t tell my kids that if you see them), but this is how we run our house: We do not give allowance. We have ‘family responsibility’ jobs that are required of you as a member of this team. Hell will freeze over before I pay my children for clearing their dinner plates or making their beds. We provide them with what they need (and more…I do like to shop) but if there is something that they want that exceeds my budget or an extra, they are welcome to come to me and ask me for a ‘job for money’.
In theory this works very well for our family…but as of late I was becoming a nagging monster and it had just become easier for me to do it all. Plus I do a better job anyway. During the Strike, the only thing I stopped doing was picking up after them and reminding them (ok, screeching like a lunatic) of their family responsibility jobs. The results were…well phenomenal. Please refer to milk cheese picture.
At times during this strike it was actually harder for me to walk by the rogue glass left at the front door and not take it with me on the way to the kitchen. I admit there were times I was on auto-pilot and had to un-do my cleaning and put back their mess. This was a lesson for me!! I had NO idea how much I did for them without even realizing it.
I have also learned that my house does not need to be perfect. I am sure that each one of my friends or family will keep speaking to me if they come over and there is a dirty spoon in the sink. I have learned that my children will remember a family game of UNO more than my sparkling toilet you could eat of off. My OCD does not actually run my life and I will not actually have a panic attack and die if there is dust on the shelf. I also know that I am married to an amazing man who supports my dreams and helps with the kids and the house as ‘our job’ not an extra pink job added onto my work outside the home. Thank you Larry and Gail, you have raised an amazing son, husband and father. BTW…the Pooh Bags were his idea. He’s the twisted mastermind and he makes me laugh daily.
The response to this blog has been overwhelming. I really didn’t expect it. Thank you doesn’t seem like a big enough word. People have told me that I have inspired them to start their own Strike. DO IT!! I Double Dog Dare you! I have been called a hero…perhaps a drunk hero but I’ll take it. This blog and your responses were the ONLY thing that got me through this week…well you and the wine. The wine helped a lot. Most of you have expressed your sadness that the Strike is over. You are all a bunch of sadists. I don’t know what I will write about next…suggestions welcome. Maybe I will submit this blog to a magazine or start my own twisted parenting advice column. This simply began as a cathartic coping mechanism, thank you for sharing the ride with meJ
For now, they each rinsed their breakfast dishes and put them in the dishwasher. There are three clean, empty lunch kits on the shelf where they belong. However, I’m staring at a sweater left on my couch and a dirty pair of socks on the stairs. Dylan is arm flapping in the kitchen to have the dishwasher emptied. If you drop by for a visit my floors will probably not be clean and I can guarantee you that you will leave with some dog hair and slobber. But baby steps right?
I bought myself some new wine glasses today…for a daily reminder of my Strike.
The small people have read the blog and they think it’s funny. I threw an extra twenty bucks into the therapy pot just to be on the safe side. They announced yesterday that they were going on strike…really? How on earth would I tell? What would be different? Would you just sit your ass down in a different spot to watch TV? Oh please stop the insanity!
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving. Today I am thankful for my clean kitchen, my basement trolls and the little one with the deceiving dimples.