I’m sitting here listening to the sounds of Girly crying in her room and BigGuy finishing an hour’s worth of trying to clean the bathroom vanity in my room.
I’m not exactly getting this “teaching practical life skills” thing down very well.
Ideally, these are things that would have grown with us as a family–learned and added as time wore on. But that’s not what happened. Instead of gently ushering my kids into independence and the keeping of their environment, my untreated PTSD led to a rather volatile “mom can’t take any more of the mess and freaks out” method of trying to keep house. Only further derailed or enhanced, of course, by 7 moves in 4 years (Girly aged 8mo-4 and BigGuy aged 6-10… formative years).
Now my kids have grown into a lifestyle of simply not taking care of their things and not really wanting to keep the household clean. Mama’s upset about the state of all of it doesn’t really move anyone because Mama’s been kind of a b*tch for the last several years as the symptoms of her condition got worse.
So… first, Mama canceled this afternoon’s events “because obviously we need more time to get things done”. That resulted in lots of playing. Cool that they’re having a good time, but Mama can’t do it all by herself. Then I tried some consistent redirection. #fail
The biggest mistake Mama made was telling them that I sold tonights tickets to “the circus” (it’s really Cirque Shanghai). Oh my. They get upset, but they don’t exactly get motivated to do anything. In fact, sometimes BigGuy will cry and plead that “he’ll do AAAANNNYYYYthing” to get whatever he lost back and sometimes, I fall for it. I tell him to do some subset of what he was responsible for and he still won’t do it.
The whole thing is really just a parenting mess that needs to be made right. And the way I’m handling it is nothing positive… which is making everyone miserable and not exactly suring up the shaky foundation we’re working with.
Mama’s decided that I need to be WITH my kids as they do this–talking them through it and helping them find joy in the process until it becomes a habit. I need to be engaged instead of just barking out orders.