The thing about nagging is it’s not by choice.
No one wakes up hoping for a hectic morning of things not being where they are supposed to be. No one wants to get into it with their kids (repeatedly) about taking their underwear OUT OF THEIR PANTS before throwing them in the laundry bin. And no one is sitting around praying for their precious loved ones to line the wall outside of the laundry room with way too many boots and shoes so every time we go near the entrance we freaking TRIP!
We want things to go smoothly so we lay out rules, rules that make sense. And since we wouldn’t need all these rules if it weren’t for the other people living in our house, we expect those people to abide.
But do they??
Sure, at first, everyone always seems to get it: Three pairs of boots and shoes EACH by the laundry room wall makes sense. Turning off lights in rooms we AREN’T USING makes sense. Coming into breakfast with your school stuff ALREADY IN YOUR BAG AND READY TO GO so you’re not scrambling last minute to make the bus on time makes sense.
But only for a little while.
It’s only a matter of time before backslide sets in and we’re right back where we were.
So what do we do? Do we stay strong and nag our kids to do what they’re supposed to do, or do we just cave to their world?
In their world, no one cares. They don’t care how annoying or dangerous or costly or stupid anything is. In their world, the narrator is a unicorn and everyone lives on a puffy rainbow full of candy and money. In that world, how could anyone bothered with the 30 extra seconds it takes to pick up a jacket that has fallen on the floor? Who has time for putting clothes away when there is a YouTube video about Mimi’s magical friends just waiting to be seen?!?!
Listen, I get it. Who wouldn’t want to watch that? But life is all about business before pleasure, and eventually they’re going to have to get down to business.
My kids despise chores and homework. (And pretty much anything involving hygiene.) They’re not into these things because they’re not FUN so when they’re told “it’s time” for those things to happen, they whine and bitch and stomp and complain. Sometimes they will pick just one of those emotions, but sometimes (Hooray, hooray!) it’s a hot mix of all of them.
But life is all about doing things we don’t always want to do. They need to know that. We can’t give in to their ridiculousness and drama because if we do, they’ll never learn.
Plus, who cares what THEY want? They need to do what WE want. But making them do what we want means teaching them and reminding them and NAGGING THEM because if we don’t, they CERTAINLY aren’t going to do any of it on their own.
At least my kids won’t. I’ve got Scamarella 1 and II over here. (II thinks we don’t know, but we do.) My kids need to be reminded of pretty much EVERYTHING they need to do on a daily basis. It’s baffling.
Checklists help. Checklists cut down on a lot of fighting and arguing because there’s “ownership” in checklists. But checklists need to be changed up frequently or they lose their lure, and that’s when things go south, and the nagging sets in.
And guess who gets blamed when the story gets re-told….?
Like it’s my fault–I’m the bad guy. I hope they NEVER do what they’re supposed to do so I can lose my mind. RIGHT!! They’re the ones who make me frustrated and angry, yet they’re also the ones complaining about how I was yelling.
First of all: I wasn’t yelling. I was using a DIFFERENT TONE and just because they don’t like the tone I use when I’m angry doesn’t mean it’s yelling. YOU’LL KNOW WHEN I’M YELLING!!!!!
And second: I wouldn’t have to “YELL” (it’s not yelling) if they would just do the things they’re supposed to do!
But they aren’t interested in that.
They don’t care that I’ve told them 20 million times to STOP leaving their CRAP on the side table in the kitchen. Of course my crap is there too, but it’s my crap—and my crap is different (and better) than their crap. Also, it’s my house.
This has all been explained to them, more than once—and they always seem to understand—but still, they leave their crap.
So I started throwing it out.
The broken hair ties, the random plastic shoe, the top of a plastic hanger they claim is “special to them”—BYE!! I toss with PLEASURE. But the pleasure doesn’t last because my kids never feel it. They never come home and ask what became of their super “special” stuff.
You know why?
Because it’s CRAP.
“Can you just put your stuff away? Can you JUST throw it away??? CAN YOU JUST???????????”
I tripped over one of their boots for the LAST TIME the other day before I threw every pair into the sink in the laundry room. I wanted to throw them all out but that would only screw me since I’m the one who bought them, so I decided to just get them out of my way.
I thought the sink would be a good place because I wouldn’t trip over them anymore, and also it would make their life harder because they’d have to sift through a tangled mess every time they needed a pair.
But they didn’t care. They left them in the sink for days and just worked around the pairs they didn’t need.
Because they are kids and that’s what they do.
So we have to nag. Because we are parents.
And that’s what we do.
Thanks for being here!
The Dim Sum & Doughnuts Crew