”That’s it. I have had enough. I am leaving”. I roared loudly and the rest of the family looked at me with big and surprised eyes.
I left the kitchen table and stormed out. But only to the next room. Of course I wasn’t going to leave them, but that was the feeling I had at the moment; I wanted to leave. Anywhere.
I have wondered if I am the only one with these kinds of feelings, but talking to other mums I realize that others also experience enormous frustrations from time to time. I have heard expressions like “sometimes I just want to hit them with my frying pan” or “it is so emotionally draining when your feelings for your children change from love to hate within a minute”. I have even had discussions with friends about whether we would “turn off” our children, if there was such a button, to be able to do whatever we wanted for a day, a week, a month or even for a year. One person said “I would love to turn my kids off for a year, knowing that it would not harm them, and just concentrate on me, me and me, because right now, there is no me”.
Kids have a tendency to drive their parents mad for various reasons (and probably the other way around too). I love my family and I could not live without them, perhaps that is why it is so difficult to cope with the massive feelings that dwell up sometimes. Why aren’t they listening? Why aren’t they behaving? How can I get them to work? What have I done wrong to turn them in to such nerve-racking troublemakers?
I believe that in parenthood it is the discipline that is the difficult part. Looking after kids when there are no “musts” or rules is easy (and fun). But when you want them to behave a certain way, eat certain things, and do certain work, that is when the tricky bit starts.
I sometimes wish I could throw all the “musts” out through the window and have a day when I let my kids decide everything. We would watch as much TV as we wanted, we would eat whatever we wanted and where we wanted. We would listen to music, dance, laugh, jump on the bed, tickle each other and tell silly jokes all they long. We would not do any homework and we would not worry about a thing. We would eat candies and pop corns and watch a movie, we would not brush our teeth if we did not want to and we would party until we fell asleep, all happily in the same bed. What a wonderful day that would be. Perhaps.
But of course we cannot do that. Not even for a day. Because that would go against all the rules and behaviour guidance that we have tried to give our children. And when would we do it? Not during school days and the week-ends are usually packed with scout, ballet, gym, music groups, birthday parties and the occasional grown up social event.
But I have just had an idea. Why not let the kids rule for one day during the Christmas break. We parents would do as we were told to do, without arguing or questioning. We would explain to the kids that it is a special day and that it would not be repeated until next Christmas. I wonder how it would work. Most likely the siblings would at some point start fighting because they would not be able to agree on what to do or what to eat. Probably we parents would have to step in from time to time to solve some fights, but that could teach them a lesson; parents are needed! They might even realize that they need guidance and rules to survive the day.
Merry rule free Christmas to all!