It can’t possibly be good for me to be this cross the whole time.
Actually, it’s not the whole time. I’m quite calm at the moment and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out why that might be. It’s 11.47. It’s silent in my house and I have finished my morning’s chores.
Rewind three hours or so and it was a very different story. I was so angry that I wouldn’t have trusted me with scissors. I screamed and shouted and stormed my way around the house like some demonic dervish. And it’s not for effect. Just at the moment, the feelings that I am subjecting my family to are pure and unadulterated rage.
I know why of course. I am tidy and organised and able to plan ahead with military zeal. My children are not. Of course they aren’t. They’re children. They are on this earth to have fun and worry about number one and my role, amongst other things, is to facilitate that.
But there are only so many times that you can iron clothes that end up on the floor, tidy a room that is a mess minutes later and cook food only to be asked for more before the first lot has hit the sides without feeling an enormous lack of self worth. My job, or what I see as my job, is completely pointless. I sort stuff. They trash it. After a while it can get you down.
It’s not just the futile repetition of tasks either. There is the futile repetition of questions too.
Me: Have you done homework?
Me: (Some time later.) Have you done your homework?
Child: You already asked me that.
Me: Sorry. Just checking. Well, have you?
Child: Why is there no ink in the printer?
Me: Why do you need the printer? I thought you’d done your homework.
Is it any wonder that I get cross?
It’s all my fault, of course. I make my own life infeasibly difficult. I demand perfection from myself and that inevitably has to impact on those I live with. I watch as my hard work is snatched away from me by someone who doesn’t care that the jigsaw pieces are in the wrong boxes or the cushions are all over the floor. But I do care. I care passionately and at the moment the conflict between my priorities and those of my children is causing me stress.
I need to find a way of managing it. There’s not much point hoping that things will change. They are children and I am me. But with the children’s commitments building to a terrifying crescendo and Christmas just around the corner if I don’t find some equilibrium soon I will start to scare myself, let alone the kids.
It’s just a phase. It, like all the others, will pass. In due course my focus will shift and they will try harder and calm will be restored. Until then I will continue to have no voice and I will buy some rescue remedy which makes not a jot of difference but is a welcome placebo. After all, which is more important? Me having order and control or my kids being happy? It’s a no brainer really.