I’m a naggerina. All I do, all morning and all evening is nag. The only reason I don’t nag during the day is because the teenagers are at school. I really hate it, by the way. I don’t want to be that person, sound like that.
Pick up your clothes.
Put away your clothes.
Don’t leave your shoes at the door.
Where is your lunchbox?
Did you do your homework.
Do those dishes jump into the dishwasher by themselves?
Empty the dishwasher.
Why did you use my kitchen scissors to strip wire?
Why are you stripping wire?
Get off the computer.
Leave me alone I’m busy go use your computer.
Did you make plans?
Why are there so many kids in this house
Why are there so many glasses in your room?
Take out the recycling.
Who put the leftover chicken in the garbage? Don’t you know how to sort the waste properly?
Who put this empty box back in the cupboard? And this one. And this ONE?
WHO FINISHED THE MILK?
I ONLY GAVE YOU ONE JOB TO DO….
I’ve tried avoiding this constant pestering for a long time. Eighteen years to be exact. I know it’s my fault. I always just did everything for them. It was easier to bite my tongue and just avoid the aggravation. The cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the tidying up.
Not the beds. I don’t care about made beds.
Not the rooms. I don’t care about messy rooms. My philosophy includes a shut door hides everything and that’s your space go live in it.
But, I did everything else. Until, slowly, it all started to fall apart. I got tired. Resentful too. Maybe a bit lazy. I would look at those children-who-almost-aren’t and I’d wonder why they weren’t pitching in.
Were they blind? Selfish? Even lazier than their mother?
What would happen to them when they would leave home? Would they know how to do their laundry, cook, make their own lunch, clean their toilets?
I know that I was supposed to give them chores to do from a young age. I’ve heard magical fairytales of children who know how to vacuum, do dishes, even laundry.
Not my little princess and two handsome princes.
I didn’t want my kids to do all that I had to do as the second oldest and a girl. I hate to say it, but I felt like Cinderella. But, thinking back and also forward, maybe it wasn’t the stuff I had to do around the house that was the problem. It might have been the expectation, the responsibility, the pressure to do all that I was tasked with. I didn’t want the responsibility for preparing meals and caring for my two younger siblings when I was 16. I didn’t want to be left with them, at the age of 18, while my parents vacationed. It wasn’t the actual jobs that were the problem, it was the message, the delivery.
When I became a mother, I swore, my kids would never feel like that. So, I chose the polar opposite.
I gave my kids no responsibilities.
What a big mistake. Doing chores, helping out is what you do as part of a family. That’s what I didn’t realize, still stinging from my Hard Knock Life childhood. It builds character. It sets you up for your life. If I’d realized this as a young mother,I’d be sitting around with a cocktail. The things you realize when it’s too late.
Because now, when I do assign tasks, they don’t remember to actually do them; it’s not part of their routine. So then I have to remind them. Over and over. It’s like the darkest circle of hell. I need reprieve. I need a solution.
I asked my 16-year old this morning a question. Not a nag, a simple query.
Can you just explain to me why you don’t put your dishes in the dishwasher?
Well, I never know if it’s empty or clean.Can’t you get a little sign that tells me?
Son, yes I can.
Now, I’m off to sort the laundry. Baby steps for this recovering Naggerina.