Saturday, August 16, 2008

Apricots and motherhood

I had to walk away.
Just take a breath and walk out of the canning kitchen.
I'm trying to can apricots. Something I would normally enjoy. But my kids were sitting on their butts. Now, this is something for which I have no patience. There is plenty of work for them to do be doing. But they're just sitting there mindlessly watching tv while I was sweating over a hot stove.
So I told the girls they had to pick apricots. CJ didn't show up. So I sent the girls back down to the house to get CJ under the threat if he didn't help he wouldn't be going to the birthday party set for this afternoon. All they had to do initially was pick apricots.
I looked out. CJ is sitting down. Katy is laying down. I can't even see Patti. I told CJ to come in the house and help me.
"But, Mommmm, all I want to do is pick apricots."
He could put apricots in the jars. So he did this to two jar. Then he was hungry. He didn't eat breakfast. Even though I told him to do so at least twice.
Then Clem calls from the main house. The tile guy was there to finish the backsplash. Was there a pattern to this? How far to the left do the tiles go?
Well, let's see. Does it look like there's a pattern? No. Not even close. Wouldn't it make sense that the tile goes all the way to the end of the cupboard? Do I really have to drop what I was doing and come down there to repeat this to the tile guy?
So I put the kids to work. Katy can split and seed the apricots, CJ can fill the jars and Patti can get another batch of syrup ready.
I repeated myself to the tile guy and came back down to my canning kitchen. They had smashed too many 'cots into the jars and managed to get water all over the floor, which was now mud, thanks to their dirty feet. I looked at the bucket they should have filled after more than an hour of at least two of them picking. Half full. Green apricots.
Heavy sigh.
Really heavy sigh.
I told them they had to clean up the kitchen before we could start the next project; a batch of apricot surprise jam. (The suprise is there's no apricots, just zucchini and apricot jello) The girls started cleaning. CJ disappeared. This is a common occurence. If there going gets tough, my son gets going. He was hiding in the pickup. Katy had swept the floor then walked away. Patti was moppping, but the counters were still sticky.
"Mom can we have gum?"
"No. You can't have gum. You need to go back to the house and find something else to do. (I didn't add, but thought: you need to get out of my site before my head explodes)"
"But CJ got gum."
CJ got gum because he stole it out of the pickup while he was hiding there to avoid doing work.
I called the main house and told Clem they were his problem.
I'm sure Dr. Phil would be telling me there was some other way of handling this. But Holy Cow! Clem and I work hard. It's not like either of us disappear when there's chores to be done. Somehow we've raised three kids with no work ethic.
Maybe I'm just not in the mood to be patient and supportive. I just don't want to make this a "teaching opportunity". I want them to use their brilliant little minds and pay attention.
Now this job that should have taken about 90 minutes is pushing 3 hours.
Is this normal? Will they still grow up to be productive citizens or will they be slackers? I know they can work, I've seen them do it.
Sometimes, though, it's easier to walk away now and go back and complete the job later without interruption. But then they don't learn anything. Holy cow. There's got to be an easier way to be a parent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Karma - good you're back.

Do you know about Love and Logic? I can't pretend to be an expert because if I were Life With Kids (and their Life With Parental Units) would be a lot easier. They really push it in Idaho Virtual Academy to teach us how to cope with having the little darlings home all day. If you've ever wondered how homeschoolers "do it", L&L is it, baby.

How 'bout those Vandals? :P Sucks to be us, huh.

xoxo Briana