There were tremors in our house this morning. I’m not sure they would have registered on the Richter scale but they were certainly felt by my children.
When I had calmed down a bit and was again capable of rational thought, I put my point of view to the Little Ones in these terms. “I want to live like a princess. You make me live like a pig.” I thought this was quite clever and would appeal to their fertile imaginations. They thought it was hilarious, their minds’ eyes visualising farmyard animals in tiaras and instead of tidying the offending bedrooms, they scampered off to make a jigsaw of a fairy castle which simply served to remind me how far reality really is from the dream.
The cause of this and, to be fair, most upsets in this house is that I do everything and they do nothing. Now before you side with me ( as you are bound to do) and reassure me that my children are all ingrates who don’t deserve the luxurious lifestyle that I create for them, I should point something out. I do everything because most of the time that suits me. I am naturally tidy and organised and I can beetle round cleaning as I go in less than half the time it takes them. I know where everything is, how clean the bathrooms are and exactly what is in the larder.
Also, most of the time, my view is that they are children and shouldn’t have to have their lives bogged down with the mundanities of adult life. They work hard at school and they are busy with the things that they do afterwards. They need time to relax, interact with one another and play. And so I facilitate that by ensuring that their home environment is clean and safe and entirely conducive to tipping the contents of their toy boxes out all over the floor in the firm knowledge that shortly thereafter order will be restored. They have plenty of time to learn how to sew a button on
Stacked against this is the idea that they do, at some point, have to learn the skills necessary to survive. How to work the washer, the best way to clean a bathroom, how to rustle up dinner for six from the contents of the fridge at break neck speed. In seeking to protect them from the real world, I am no doubt storing up issues for whoever has to live with them in the future. When I think back to what I was doing when I was a teenager, I am forced to laugh at their piteous attempts. They do not even have a quarter of the household skills that I had when I was their age.
I have tried. We’ve had rotas and what not. But I don’t have the time or the energy to police them. Maybe if they were fewer of them it might be easy to keep on top of but no matter what systems I set up, they always fall down after a couple of days. Coupled with this is my refusal to pay anyone for doing a task. My firm belief is that they should do what they do because they are part of a team, a cog in a well oiled machine and not because someone has bribed them. But actually its a very exclusive team with only one member – yours truly.
But does it really matter yet? Apart from mornings like today, when I lose my composure over another dumped apple core, it seems to work OK. Everything is the way I like it. They get on with being children and I get on with making their world work. Eventually, they will have to learn how to iron at a speed that isn’t painful to watch but perhaps not just yet. As long as they don’t abuse my generosity and adopt an acceptable level of common courtesy, we can all rub along just fine with me doing everything. But don’t ever remind me that I said that out loud.