No More Mrs. Nice Mommy

I’m so over both of my kids.

Rob and I have had an ongoing disagreement for months (years?) about this one issue and I think it’s taken him being away for a week for me to see things his way. Rob insists that the boys do not do enough around the house as far as cleaning up after themselves, lending a helping hand and pitching in when needed. I’ve maintained that they are only kids once and that as a kid I was messy and self-centered, etc., too.

This week, though, I reached my breaking point. I think things have been exacerbated because I had to go away for two weekends in a row and Rob was gone the entire time (I’m also realizing just how much Rob does around here!). The kids did not help me out one little bit. Even their normal chores were ignored until they were told repeatedly to get them done. I’ve long been a fan (in theory, at least) of saying something once and then if it’s not done dishing out consequences. I haven’t been so good with following my own advice/beliefs this week. It’s been rough just trying to take care of everything I need to for myself – between work, physical therapy, and meetings, and going away twice, I’ve been pretty swamped. Throw in the pets, taking care of my food, packing, laundry, dishes, and keeping the house kept up all on my own with virtually no help from the kids (who, by the way were busy making more messes) and you’ve got one worn out, pissed off, frazzled Amy.

Something happened on Friday, though, that absolutely pushed me over the edge. I packed my suitcase for my trip and told the boys to do the same. Even though they were told to pack on Thursday, they both chose to do so on Friday. That was a battle I decided I didn’t want to fight. I figured if they didn’t have their bags packed by the time we needed to leave on Friday, they’d wear the same clothes all weekend. So. On Wednesday and Thursday I had the boys do their own laundry (I’m dealing with the after-effects of that tonight – but that’s another story) and Aric’s clothes were still mostly in the laundry room on Friday. There was a suitcase sitting on top of Grace’s kennel in the laundry room that I used to pack my stuff in. After I was all packed up, I took the suitcase and placed it in the front hallway close to the door.

When Aric finally decided to pack his bag, he came storming downstairs in a huff wanting to know why I used the suitcase in the laundry room. He had that particular suitcase ready to go for his stuff, he tells me. I guess his plan was to pack his bag directly in the laundry room. I let him know that he didn’t really need a suitcase to go to his grandmother’s house for 2 days, but he was pretty adamant. I knew there were other suitcases so if he wanted to use one of those, he was free to do so.

Not too long after his bag was packed, I told him and Connor to load up the car with their belongings. When I came upstairs I noticed my suitcase was no longer in the hallway. I was pleasantly surprised. Aric packed my suitcase, too?! That was definitely unexpected. I mentally patted myself on the back for raising such a courteous young man who knew how to take care of his mother while his father was gone even if he was mad at her.

We drove over to my parents’ house and I had the boys unload the car of their belongings. Once they were done, I went to check that they had everything and noticed there were no suitcases in the car at all. My suitcase was not there.

“Where’s my suitcase?,” I cried to both boys as they stood staring at me slack-jawed on the curb.

Both shrugged their shoulders and said, “I dunno,” as they walked into the house, my dad trailing behind them shaking his head.

So here I had a 3 hour trip ahead of me that just grew by another 30-45 minutes. Even better – it was now ominously close to rush hour. I left without saying goodbye. When I got back to the house, I found my suitcase thrown haphazardly on the laundry room floor. That little shit. I spent the weekend nursing a resentment against both of them. And for the first time ever, I was away from the boys overnight and I did not miss them. Not even a little bit.

I know Rob is feeling frustrated since he’s 2,500 miles away and can’t help me out. However, I bet he’s also almost grateful that I’m going through this pain because it’s propelling me to change. My views towards the boys and their lack of contribution to the household has done a complete 180… and my actions are right behind. No more Mrs. Nice Mommy. I’m also looking forward to being more on the same page as Rob with this. I hated that there was a chasm between us whenever this issue arose, but I honestly didn’t feel their behaviors were a problem. I guess I needed to deal with them on my own for a while to truly see.

My boys are good kids, don’t get me wrong, but they sure are self-centered, lazy, and slovenly. I don’t know if changing how I parent them will change them internally; I’m hoping that they can act themselves into right thinking where this is concerned by me forcing their hand with their actions. And if they don’t, at least there’s more peace between Rob and I – and less work!

9 Responses to “No More Mrs. Nice Mommy”

  1. Jules says:

    I did the “Nice Mommy” thing for 17 years and it got me NO WHERE. I’ve been the “Strict Mommy” for almost three weeks now, and the changes have been amazing. Seriously.

    Good luck to you guys, and you and Rob being on the same page is a GREAT step also.

  2. Deb says:

    That sucks! They’re old enough to pick up the slack.

  3. Kim says:

    Good luck with this, Amy. I hope the boys get the message without you resorting to drastic measures.

  4. Jennifer says:

    OMG, I would have been so pissed! It’s one thing to act out, but he did that KNOWING you would think your suitcase was in the car and that it would cost you that much time. At least you noticed that it wasn’t in there then, and not when you arrived at your destination.

  5. Loretta says:

    Yikes. Sorry you had such a rough week with the boys :-(

  6. Alli says:

    I think it is good for you to have this epiphany now, instead of when they are off to college or on their own. Giving them the skills to help out, carry their own load, it will only do them good. Sorry it came at the expense of your nerves and gave you such a rough time.

  7. geeky says:

    Wow. My mom was always strict with us, and I can tell you we would have never tried something like that with her! Good luck making the changes you’ve set your eye on!

  8. Colleen says:

    It’s time to kick some (figurative) ass. I’d be bent knowing he knew darn well where that suitcase was yet was unconcerned!

  9. corrin says:

    Wow – my parents were fun parents but they were strict parents. We were told to do something once, maybe twice if it wasn’t one of our normal chores, and then there was no figurative ass kicking, there was a real smack on the ass. That’ll get you moving, and it never had to happen often.