I’m done.  Spent.  Wrecked.  Blitzed.  You name it.

This week I’ve tried to conquer, stomach anxieties, a flat tire, an unexpectedly  flooded basement, lack of sleep, deaf children and my own self-doubt and anxieties.

The girls and I aren’t meshing this week about the household. I KNOW, I KNOW, they are six and eight years old.  I KNOW, I KNOW they are children, but I am tired, tired, tired of this:

Put your shoes away. Hang up your jacket.  Unpack your backpack.  Unpack your lunchbox.  Turn out the lights.  Flush the toilet.  Put your clothes in the hamper.  Do not splash the tub water all over the floor.  Clean up your dishes.  Do not roll your eyes about doing your homework.  Please go get in the car.  Please wear play clothes when you climb trees not your school clothes.  Did you feed the dog?  Did you feed the rabbit?  Is your room picked up?  Did you brush your teeth?  Please get up Mama is going to be late for work.

We had a family meeting at the onset of this week because I’m overlwhelmed.  They were given tasks to do each day.  Talking calmly and explaining is not working. Yelling is definitely not working.  Taking away the DS or the computer is not working.  So we tried bribery.  They would get 10 cents each for doing each of their tasks for the day.  They would get a 30 cent bonus if I did not have to get after them and not tantrums.  They would split this money up between their Give, Save, Spend jars.  I outlined how much money they would have in their jars at the end of the week, if they just did these simple things to help out.

Oh yeah, it went great the first day.


I hate being the nag.  I hate how I hear them laughing and playing upstairs and I am annoyed because I know that they are not doing what they are supposed to.

I hate coming home from work, making dinner, doing homework, cleaning up dinner, getting baths, going through mail and school papers and trying to squeak in a book before bed and then coming downstairs spent.  Everyone keeps telling me what a great job I’m doing.  Some friends are melting my heart with kind words.

But sometimes, I want someone else to nag.  I want someone else to back me up.  Sometime I feel like I’m on the losing end of two against one.  I want someone with a deep baritone voice to put the fear of God in them every once in awhile.

I’m trying to not sound like I’m whining.  I’m just trying to keep it real.  It’s not all sunshine and daisies over here.  Sometimes being the only parent just plain sucks.



Filed under home life, single parenthood

13 responses to “Ack.

  1. I’ve always been the enforcer around here. I think because I um…sometimes can have a bit of a temper and I like things to be done when I say they are to be done. (I blame that last bit on being in the Air Force for a little while when I was real young). I can definitely understand you wanting someone around to back you up (I am divorced and remarried myself) It IS hard to be the one doing both all the time

    We had the same sort of problem in terms of chores/tasks/etc. and just started to get it ironed out this summer. We do something similar but different too. I told Tristyn and Maia that in our house there are two things: Jobs & Chores. Jobs are things you HAVE to do and you don’t get to decide. Things like make your bed and keep your room clean, remember to shower every night, put your folded laundry away. Basically all things pertaining to their persons. If they don’t do them they are automatically grounded. (Around here grounded is sitting on your bed for as much time as I feel necessary and I’m not talking this 1-2 mins per year crap either doing absolutely NOTHING)

    Chores are extra things that contribute to the family. They can choose whether or not they do them. Every week, on the fridge I post their weekly chores on two dry erase boards. It will usually include 1-2 daily chores (ie set the table, collect and put away dog toys, etc) that stay the same every day for that week. There will be a few bigger chores on them such as ‘dust the living room on Thursday’ and also a random chore that will require a little more time that they can choose when they will do it.

    I explained how in our family if they want to use things belonging to the family (tv, computer, etc) then not only do they need to have their jobs done but they also need to have their chores done as chores help the family. (I don’t know if I’m making sense–I’m still on that first cup of coffee!) Also, they will get an allowance based on if their chores are done or not. (Remember, grounding only comes from not doing their jobs) Allowance is determined on how well you did your chores. If you only did about 50% well your allowance is probably going to be 50% of what it would be. Likewise, if I see one of them doing extra there is likely to be a little bonus.

    For us, this worked great the first week. And then there was a couple weeks where each child slacked off but then saw the other child get their full allowance while they didn’t. That helped motivate them. I didn’t point out that one got more than the other but they could see it and I guess it put that little bit of sibling rivalry in them — ‘there’s no way that person is getting the full amount and I’m not! I can do my chores too’

    Just like with anything it’s not been completely smooth sailing. Sometimes we’ve had a grounding or something taken away when they told me that everything was done and then used the television for a show only for me to walk upstairs to check and see that something wasn’t done. But it’s getting a LOT better. My husband doesn’t always pay attention to ‘enforcing’ jobs and chores but he’s getting better too.

    I’m not trying to say you should try my way at all so please don’t take it that way. I just wanted to share with you and let you know that there are people out there having the same sorts of things going on too.

  2. (((HUGS))) You need them.

    Rough week. So sorry. Some weeks/months are like that. Funny, but what you tell your girls sounds like what I tell my teenagers…pick up your clothes, do your homework, etc. Loved the”don’t roll your eyes.” Hope the weekend brings some reprieve.

    And the tags – save/give/spend – way cute. Did you make those?

  3. Welcome to my world! I have two teenage boys and these are the sentences I say over and over and over again:

    Unpack your backpack
    Pack your backpack
    Take your lunch
    Take your homework
    Pack your gym clothes
    Pick up the laundry on the bathroom floor
    Hang up the phone on the charger
    Put away the milk
    Close the cereal bag
    Feed the dog
    Pick up your iPod
    Put away your iPod
    Get your iPod off the table, floor, bathroom counter, etc.
    Swallow then speak.

    I could go on and on but I will just depress myself, lol. I can totally sympathize with you. When I first got divorced and was living on my own for the first time ever with a 4 & 5 year year old, I remember moments locked in the bathroom, in tears, thinking I can’t do this alone. But I did. Then when I met John I thought, oh well, all my problems will be solved now, another person to share the load. HA! He even has the baratone voice. It don’t work! As the got older, it got worse, so now there are two of us going through that list. We have threatned, we have punished, we have taken away game systems, the phone, etc. I haven’t found anything that works. Wish I could tell you I have. You just kinda trudge along, and I say to myself, if this is the worst that I have to put up with having teenagers, then I will count my blessings that they are not into drugs or alcohol, or even worse, seriously ill. A friend at work has a little one going through chemo and I try and think of her and compare my struggles. Makes me take a deep breath and say, I can deal with this.

    Hang in there friend. It’s not an easy job. If you find something that works, please let us all know!!

  4. Thanks for keeping it real, friend! 🙂

    You love your girls – that’s why, difficult or easy, you are PRESENT with them, reminding & teaching them about love, home and family. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, they love you too. You’re a wonderful mama…

  5. I’m so sorry my friend…I wish I were there to sit and chat over coffee…we could “whine” together! My laundry list of nags looks frighteningly similar to Lisa’s! Must be the two teenage boys thing…

    I was talking to my aunt about this just yesterday…the nagging and the arguing and the attitudes. She said to me, “One day you will leave the house nice and neat…and when you come home, it will still be nice and neat. But there will be nobody there…because everyone has grown up and moved out! I miss those days…” I came home and thanked God for the boys who wear those dirty undies on the bathroom floor…and I thanked God that I have kids to cook for who are healthy enough to eat…a LOT. Sometimes perspective changes things…

    In the meantime…maybe tomorrow you could just relax…don’t feel like you have to entertain the girls. Let them entertain themselves while you read…or bake…or sew…something that YOU want to do. It’s OK to take care of you…if not, you have nothing left to give those little…um…I mean, sweet children.

    I’m sure you didn’t write this for advice…and I’m sure you’ve heard this all before. But I just wanted to share…xoxoxoxoxox

  6. this is what I get for not being the first to comment – everyone else has already left such good words.

    I am by no means good at this mothering stuff. i just take it one day at a time.

  7. I hear you.
    I have days like this too.
    We have days like this too.
    …it not all daisies.
    I think it is good too feel what you feel and be realstic about it. Being a mother is the toughest job I have ever had.

    Sometimes that helps a little and know in this big world you are not alone. We all feel this way and even if people say its “all good” they are lying.

    I hope you will find a little “sanity” soon…probably not, because there always something.
    In the meantime know that this too shall pass.

    Big Hug!

  8. ((((HUGS))))

    You are doing an awesome job. I find myself saying the same things to my kids that you do many days. And I have a baritone to back me up in the evenings, but that’s not always very effective either.

    You are doing the most important thing for your girls. You are there for them. You are their rock and they act out because they know that they can, that you will still love them and always be there. Kids can push the limits with the people they know won’t fail them. It’s probably the hardest part about parenting, at least for me, but you are doing so well, even during these weeks that seem so difficult.

    Keep hanging in there Jen, it will get better. Even though these phases seem like they won’t end, they do.

    Your girls are so lucky to have you for a mama.

  9. I am also glad that you are keeping it real. I think we are all in the same boat sometimes with the constant nagging. It is constant here as well.

    I am fortunate that I have my husband to help – but even when he is around I do all the nagging/reminding/scolding etc. Even when he is home, the girls come to me with their whining, complaining, tattling. My husband and I will both be there and they always come to me. Always.

    I guess some weeks are just like that. It goes up and down here all the time. Some weeks the girls are fantastic and things run smoothly and then from out of nowhere – it all goes downhill.

    I hope that it gets better at your home soon. And you are not whining, you are telling it like it is. For your own sanity you need to vent it. You are not alone!

    Hope the weekend is better.


  10. I have a different view on this. Hope you don’t mind. I think your girls are doing great, and, well, are just being girls: learning the rules and behaviours of adult life. They cannot be expected to be little adults, although they can be expected to help out. Parenting is a job for two people, and you’re on your own. It is you who needs help: help so that you don’t get too tired, frustrated, overwhelmed etc. I have more to say, but I hope I haven’t said too much already. Hugs to you, as always.

  11. (just catching up..I am way behind..)
    I am not a mom, but I hear ya.
    Wish there was something I could say to make it easier. To give you a break. To lend a hand.. but I can listen. And send you kind thoughts. And send you thoughts of peace. And love. Love to you. Hugs.

  12. Mon


    So frustrating, so annoying, so hair-pullingly maddening!

    You know what i do when I feel like I’m constantly banging my head against a brick wall with others? I go around the wall or turn away from it.

    Sometimes, an entirely different perspective shakes things, for both of us. And other times, the only thing that works is ME changing. For example, how many of those htings on the list could you just let go?

    I ask that because say something like cleaning their rooms, well, you know, it’s their room and if they want to live in filth, that’s their choice. Why am I going to make myself nuts about it?
    I think if you could take the list of things you’re requesting and say, halve it, you’ll give yourself peace, and they’ll feel less nagged, which helps when other requests are made. Otherwise I think kids just tune out, right?

    And then there’s the whole natural consequence thing. ‘oh, nothing clean to wear – “I guess putting your dirty clothes in the hamper is actually a good idea”. Not sarcasm, just gentle but plain facts.

  13. blueskyhi

    My sis and I had this exact conversation a couple of days ago in NZ. She too is a single mum and a very good one like yourself, but when the nagging, yelling coupled with the whinging non-listening kid syndrome happens she just stops doing everything. She once did no dinner, no washing, no homework, no housework. Then her kids asked why and she told them that as a family they need to do living together not as three individuals. She said it worked a treat and taught them that they are part of a family working together. Not just a mum working for the kids.

    Even though it seems all too hard sometimes it will definitely be worth it, and your gorgeous girls will always have loving Mummy memories.

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