Monday, July 7, 2014

Hold It, Now

BUT I DON’T WANT TO!

These words scream in my head so often that when I hear them coming from one of my kids, I almost don’t recognize that they are not coming from me.

I don’t want to.

They don’t want to clean up their rooms, read books for school, go outside for a run or a bike ride or to practice doing anything.

I don’t want to clean toilets, do laundry, make dinner, or run errands.  I don’t want to go to bed, wake up, exercise, or blow my hair dry.  I don’t want to make cookies.  I don’t want to pay bills, and I sure don’t want to go out in the yard to pull weeds because last time I did that I got poison ivy and that crap is Crazytown.

But hold on.  Slow up.  Take a beat.

And forget for a minute that these are my children and that I am their role model.


Why don’t I – we – want to?  Is it because we don’t want others telling us what to do, or because we don’t like to be controlled by outside forces, or because the job is boring, or thankless, or stupid, or – God forbid – good for us?

Do you know what I want to do?  I want to sit on the couch and watch TV and eat chocolate and drink wine.  All the live long day.  But that’s no way to live.  Believe me – I’ve tried it.  It gets old, fast.

The things I should do – must do – are always present, and they are there to make life interesting, and productive, and beneficial. 

It’s a hard lesson for some of us, those of us who are wired a little more loosely than others.  Or tightly, depending on your perspective.  I don’t want to because I feel put out by the things I have to do, that I am somehow missing something else because of the priority things – the work I must do.  I spent all day washing clothes and now I don’t have time to do anything else that might be fun.  FOR ME.



It’s selfishness, really.  A character flaw.

I resist change at an inconsequential level.  Tell me that tomorrow we’ll be moving to Hong Kong and I’ll pack boxes and contact a realtor, but please don’t tell me that you’re coming home late because both of the kids have places to go and they haven’t approved human cloning yet, and I’m definitely holding out on that before asking a neighbor to help out.  Also, that garage sale stuff can sit in the dining room for a few more weeks, can’t it?  Garage sales are a lot of work.  A LOT of work.

And I don’t want to do it.

The realization that my kids mirror what they see in me, and that my job is to teach them otherwise, is a sobering thought.  This is my parenting fail.  This is where I’ve messed them up forever. 

I apologize, future spouses of my children.

It’s also the point at which I no longer freak the freak out when they refuse to do something.  “I don’t want to” elicits not a surprise reaction, nor anger, nor much emotion at all anymore.  I ask them to verbalize why they don’t want to, and let the reasons play out and dribble away.

We don’t want to, but that’s not an option most of the time.  Getting them to see it that way is hard, but I think eventually they will.

Whether or not they want to, that is.


*******

20 comments:

  1. Ah crap, I think I may be on my way to screwing my kids up this way too. I mean, I do stuff that I don't want to every day, and I like to think I do them well. But yeah, I kinda act like I don't like doing those things (because I don't).

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    1. I've always been envious of those who say "you do what you have to do," and get things done so they can get to the good stuff. I kick and scream the whole way. It ain't pretty.

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  2. "I don't want to feel put out by things I have to do." Yes, that right there. All the livelong day.
    But then when I don't do those things, they hang there in the back of my head like bats in a barn. Pesky bats.

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    1. Yes. Those bats are constantly fluttering around in my head, too. Unless they're staring at me like the big piles of garage sale items in my dining room.

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  3. I can relate.
    Because now that they are home I can't get pie with Shannon up there^^^.
    And I miss that.
    And I don't like change either.
    So when they do leave to go to college, I will be a heaping mess.
    And will need even MORE pie with Shannon up here ^^^.

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    1. Pie cures everything. Now I want some, too.

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  4. I relate to this post so much. My basement floor is covered with toys that we no longer play with but so far they are just sitting there. Progress is stalled - partly because I am busy with other stuff and partly because I have run out of steam and I just don't want to.

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    1. Agh, the toys - I used to be so motivated, on a schedule of "out with the old, in with the new" every few months and before each holiday. I think it's because we haven't had any new ones for so long that I let the old ones lay around, get broken, and generally litter our house.

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  5. The whole point of parents is to warp their children. Yes, you teach them lessons, you give them guidance, but you still have to have a life and be your own person. I was half way expecting you to have given your family a day in which you didn't do a single thing you didn't feel like. Maybe it's just my mom that did that! It definitely was memorable.

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    1. That would be memorable! I do this every once in a while. Like this weekend, for three whole days, actually. :)

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  6. I worry a lot that I have adult tantrums that they pick up on. The worst! I don't want to do... a lot of things. Just a lot of things!
    I think I've already warped them, though. Too late.

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    1. Yep. I find myself in a place of having tantrums and apologizing for them pretty often. Oops.

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  7. I love you, Andrea. You always say exactly what I'm thinking.

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    1. That just made me smile. Love you! xoxo

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  8. Dude, I never want to, but I do it anyway. Doing is always better than the consequences of not doing.

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    1. I do, too. I never actually give myself a chance to feel the consequences, either.

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  9. Oh, this is so good. You are so good that you just verbalized (blogized) all of that. My brain is always screaming for me to sit on the couch and eat chocolate and drink wine, and sometimes I get so pissed at myself that I'm not one of those people who naturally wants to do all sorts of 'stuff', but I just push past my inner lazy lady and always feel better after that.

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    1. Yep. I feel better after doing, but then I also feel like I could have just let it slide and enjoyed myself more. Problem is, I want to enjoy myself all the time.

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  10. I always throw the "Well I don't want to do all the dishes or clean all the floors or ...." whenever they say they don't want to make their beds or help pick up.

    It's funny how nowadays we feel entitled to our me time. Every time I feel bogged down by having to do a bunch of chores all at once, I think about how women back in the olden days pretty much cooked, cleaned, and did laundry all day, every day, maybe getting a few minutes to darn socks by the fire that evening. And then I'm really glad I don't live in the olden days.

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    1. Me too. Although they also didn't have all the fun things to do back then that we do today. Little House on the Prairie truthfully never sounded all that much fun to me.

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