Sunday, October 09, 2005

One step forward, two steps back…

This weekend I began writing a post about the less than wonderful moments of my children. There was no reason behind it, and they hadn’t been giving me a hard time or anything. I just thought as I so often mention the nice stuff, it was only fair to add some balance. However that post is only half written and I’m sitting here too fizzed to continue with it.

On the whole, although I get irritated with the kids and annoyed with certain behaviour, I don’t get angry. I shout a lot. And sigh even more. I moan and gripe and get thoroughly fed up, but rarely do I actually lose my temper.

Of course the children don’t know this, and I have mastered the art of dark looks and a firm tone, even when sometimes I leave the room and burst out laughing when they’re far enough away not to hear.

And occasionally when they cause my exasperation levels to reach the point where I wonder why on earth I wanted kids in the first place, I may have flashes of anger. But they are flashes, and they pass within seconds and I remember how to be a reasonable parent.

But this morning I lost my temper BIG TIME.

I don’t think I’m a mean parent. I don’t make my kids do activities they don’t like. Admittedly I cajole and bribe to encourage them certain ways, but I don’t force. And I feel this is balanced against all the activities and things they corner me into doing. A two way street, so to speak.

However once one of the children has signed up and committed themselves to something, I do expect some effort of their part. But again if they tell me they don’t like something, I’ll listen. When R was six he made me sign him up for football, but within two weeks said he hated it. Having paid for the entire term, I asked him to continue for a few more practices and then, if he still wasn’t enjoying it, he could give it up. Which he did at the half term. I wasn’t thrilled, but he’d done as I’d asked so I wasn’t cross about it.

On Wednesday of this week, P’s new rugby shirt arrived. But instead of being overjoyed P announced he didn’t like rugby anymore and wanted to stop.

This isn’t the first time he’s said this. Last January, after a particularly cold and wet rugby match, he said it was too cold and he didn’t want to go any more. I kitted him out in thermals and a waterproof the following week and he was happy again.

So I asked P, what the problem was this time. Apparently he doesn’t like getting up early on Sunday mornings. Ha! Liar! He hasn’t got a problem getting up for kids TV!

It’s ME who doesn’t like getting up early on Sunday mornings! But do I let on, and bitch and whine about it? No! Well, maybe just a bit in here, but not to him. And if truth be told, it’s just about the only kids activity I almost like!

But I didn’t call him a liar. I said I’d like him to stick at it for a few weeks, and if he decided against continuing it may be a good thing. He could do with more sleep, and the extra hour or two would be useful to get homework done and school clothes ready. Though I also added I was sad he felt like this as he’s getting good at the sport and I was looking forward to the weekend match in Guernsey (next February a parent has to escort each child to an away match overnight).

Anyway after weighing things up, and deciding he did like the new rugby shirt – he was happy with this arrangement.

Great. This morning the alarm went off at six-thirty and I was up.

P got up at seven, and by eight twenty we were in the car and off.

Arriving early we got a prime parking space in front of the pitch, and headed up to the Club House to see if it was open for a quick hot-chocolate. It wasn’t, but P was happy and ran around with the boys arriving as I chatted with some mothers.

Ten to nine I tell him to go to the car and get his gum shield and boots. Five to nine, he’s still there and I pop over to help him strap his boots. Once finished I nod towards his group and tell him to get a move on.

He just sat there, rolling back in the chair half smiling, and then pulled his legs under him and said he didn’t feel like playing.

I sighed. And pointed out this was not the time to discuss it. We would talk when he was finished.

He started whining, saying how he didn’t really like it, and I sighed some more, whilst waving at the mothers who were waiting for me to reappear and continue the conversation we’d been having.

His group lined up and I told him I’d heard enough chat, and again said we’d talk later, but right now – GET A MOVE ON!

That didn’t work so I approached with flattery telling him this was the only game I liked to watch, and I really wanted to see him play.

He told me to get R to play then.

I said R wasn't there, and R can’t cope with a dozen boys trying to put him in the mud anyway. P smiled but still he refused to budge. So I became firm and told him I wasn’t going to be messed around. I didn’t get up at half six to be toyed with just as practice was begining.

He complained I was being mean.

No, up until that point I hadn’t been mean.

But then I lost my temper and got mean.

I don’t even remember what I said now. But we were driving before I decided to shut up. Actually I think I stopped only because I imagined the possibility of him forgetting all our nice Sunday mornings and instead remembering only the one where his mother was horrid to him.

He’s in his room and not allowed TV or playstation today. My anger’s past, but I think that’s because he’s out of the way, and I’m not ready for him to be dancing around shouting his head off in the usual fashion just yet.

It’s not the giving up of playing rugby (even if it is my favourite) or the waste of money, it’s the way he’s done it. I feel fed up about being messed around when I don’t get a lot of chances to be lazy but happily gave it up for him, and I’m pretty pissed over getting humiliated in front of a pile of other moms (and I know that shouldn’t matter, but it bloody does when it’s happening to you).

And worst of all he made me lose my temper in a huge way and that always make me feel like crap.

I thought I might feel better if I wrote this all down. But I don’t. Now I feel even meaner for being such an unreasonable mother to a little boy who’s only seven.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

There you go. Swearing makes me feel better, but I don’t get enough RL opportunities for it to work!

Today’s shot. And tomorrow’s Monday, UGH. And then Tuesday, ARRGGHH. Wednesday’s busy, *sigh*. Roll on Thursday, evening preferably. Ahh heck, I’ll just wish for Friday.


Blogger Anduin said...

You have an enormous amount of patience Debi, and your concern about his feelings is good. It might be better to make him finish his season with the team. He needs to learn about commitment and keeping his word with others. It would be a good lesson for him to learn.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 2:32:00 pm  
Blogger Daisy Mae said...

We all have moments and days like that Debi, don't worry about it.

Sometimes kids will push their limits as I am sure you know. Mine still do it at their advanced age. You aren't a mean mom at all. You are doing the right thing.

With my oldest it was little league (baseball). He sucked at it. And don't you know the one time he caught the ball I was late and missed it. He made the committment though so he had to finish the season. I was sad that he didn't play the next season.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 2:44:00 pm  
Blogger Who is this Dave? said...

All tue, so there's no point me trotting out the same stuff.

Do you play cricket on Jersey?

Sunday, October 09, 2005 3:12:00 pm  
Blogger mm said...

I think our parents had it easy. If I was tempted to try something like P when I was a kid, I'd first have weighed it with the consequence - a visit with dad's belt. So I didn't try stuff like that.

It's harder for parents now, and easier - I don't have to live with the memory of belting my kids. But my kids have signed up for and then tried to quit stuff too, and so we have a deal. Within reason, we'll sign them up to try new things, but they have to stick it out for the duration of the period paid for. If not, they pay us back for whatever we shelled out to sign them up.

We only had to follow-through once. Worked like magic :).

You aren't mean, Debi, not by a long shot.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 3:54:00 pm  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Yes, let the poor lad find some other sport -- as long as it isn't burying himself in TV/Playstation, etc. Activity (sports) is a must for a child, even if he doesn't quite know why. Blame it on me.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 5:08:00 pm  
Blogger Jona said...

Update : In a quandary again. We’ve talked and P’s adamant he doesn’t wish to continue. However when I told him I felt they are watching too much TV at the weekends and feel it shouldn’t go on as soon as they get up, he said if he had nothing to do he’d rather to go to rugby.

A part of me wants to grab the chance, but then I think how cross I’ll be if he does it again.

(And I could have two hours more sleep ;o))

Thank you for your words folks, and I’ve decided to stop beating myself up as I wasn’t worse than most parents would probably be :o)

p.s. Dave, we do have cricket. My eldest plays in the summer, but I’ve no idea about what the adults organise for themselves ;o)

Sunday, October 09, 2005 6:21:00 pm  
Blogger Rae said...

Debi, I like your blog, I relate to everything you say. I am putting a link to your blog on my site, is this ok?

Monday, October 10, 2005 1:47:00 am  
Blogger Jona said...

Of course Rae, thank you :o)

Monday, October 10, 2005 6:50:00 am  
Blogger Trouble said...

It's too bad... 7 is the perfect age for rugby, 'cause you can still grow most of your teeth back...

Monday, October 10, 2005 7:21:00 pm  
Blogger Jona said...

Trouble, you made me laugh - but somehow I don't think I'll mention it to my seven year old ;o)

Monday, October 10, 2005 8:53:00 pm  

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