Nag Hag

Hey you. Stop slumping. And wipe that smudge off your monitor.

Sorry, sorry. You're an adult. Slump all you want to, you and your dirty computer screen. Forgive my nagging ... it's just a force of habit. Because, y'all? It's ALL I SEEM TO DO ANY MORE.

As much as I'd like to quit, it seems virtually impossible. I mean - how can I, when 90% of the stuff that goes on in my house requires a reprimand? Quit hitting your brother. Don't throw that. Wipe that up. Close the lid. Use an inside voice. Stop chasing the dog with your scooter. No pinching. Quit hitting your brother. Keep the milk in the cup. Stop pulling on that. Stop hanging on that. Stop climbing on that. Don't color on that. Don't spit. Get your coat off the floor. Close the refrigerator. QUIT. HITTING. Your BROTHER!

I swear that my family - husband included - thinks that it gives me some sort of pleasure to nag all the ever-lovin' time. But OMG. It's freaking exhausting. I get so tired of nagging. Yet what's my alternative? It's either nag, or find myself with (extra) messes to clean, (more) broken stuff (like the mini-blind that I found mysteriously dangling from the effing ceiling fan the other day), and a houseful of dudes who leave the seat up all the time. Sure, I could let them make the messes and suffer the consequence of cleaning it up themselves - but then I'd have to nag them through every step of the cleaning process.

It's like I can't win.

I've tried replacing the nagging with positive reinforcement, praising my children for good things instead of pointing out all that they do wrong. This sounds fabulous in theory. But honestly? For every one share, every unprompted cleanup, every single sweet brotherly moment, there are ten (okay, twelve) incidents that require some sort of reprimand. I mean, what am I supposed to say? "Gee, son, I couldn't help but notice as you lifted your arm to backhand your brother that your muscles are looking very strong these days. Way to go!" ... or maybe, "Wow, what a great job you did making three separate puddles of pee on the floor around the base of the toilet instead of just one!"

It doesn't help that two of my three kids are going through this phase lately where they DO. NOT. LISTEN. It's like they don't even hear me, like their little ears have stopped registering the tone of my voice, and it's just so much more background noise they tune out. So whatever I have to tell them? I have to tell them, like, a hundred times. And even if the first time it's a gentle reminder, it doesn't come out as nicely the second or third (or fourth) time. 

As if that's not bad enough, I have a hard time switching effortlessly from Mommy-mode to wife-mode. So the nagging often extends (inadvertently, I swear!) to my husband. I try to keep it in check, to be mindful of who I'm talking to (stop laughing, Honey, I seriously do), but ... yeah. Like my efforts with the kids, that doesn't always work.

I'm a nag. And I hate it. And I hate that everyone seems to think I like it. Like it's part of my motherly identity. I don't want that.

But I'm fresh out of ideas as to how to kick the habit, or turn things around so that I don't need to nag. There's got to be some way. I mean, Michelle Duggar has tons of kids, and she doesn't nag.

... At least not on camera.


  1. First, you're not Michelle Duggar. Count yourself lucky on that waterslide.

    And that second paragraph? You just described my day. I wish I had advice.

  2. Sadly, it gets no better when they become teenagers. You just nag about different stuff then.

    We're going on year 16 and I STILL say...pick up your cloths, are those your dirty dishes, put them in the dish washer, do your homework, take a shower, pick up that wet towel....

    sigh, yeah, you just nag about different stuff.

  3. I hear ya. I sound like a drill sergeant with my bunch.
    Oh and it may look tacky, but I used to line newspaper around the back and sides of my toilets until my kids learned to aim better. And I would buy cheap paper towels, roll up about 4 or 5 of them and stuff them in the hinge of the toilet seat to make a pee catcher so when they'd spray, the paper towel kept it from running all over the sides of the toilet. Just gotta remember to change out the paper and pee catchers.

  4. It never ends. My kids are 18 and up and they still need nagging. NEED nagging. And to make it worse, my job at work is to nag. They call it "follow up" but it's nagging.

  5. I remember feeling that way when you kids were all living at home. I felt like the worst b%#@! in the world! I did find that, with some of you, making eye contact and keeping it until you complied helped a little. With some of your siblings, not so much. They really do grow into wonderful adults eventually, but there will be times when you'll wonder if it will ever happen. And then you can stop nagging and just watch them nag their own children. ;o)

  6. Oh Sister....I feel your pain. I could not have said it better if I tried. I think the problem lies in the word "NAG", it's just ugly. Maybe if we renamed it something more pleasant it wouldn't seem so offensive. But, the truth is, they need us to say something to them, or we'd just have a society of little terrorists. But really, i agree, it's exhausting to be the one who has to "nag" all the time.

  7. I found your blog completely by accident the other day, but I love it! How you manage to accurately put words to my life when you've never even met me is just awesome. :) Anyway, I figured since I was laughing out loud over here, I might as well "introduce" myself.

  8. my kids are grown and I still nag, it is a mother's life long job, I think.

  9. I'm a nag too. But if I find myself in echo-land, I switch to counting. The "ONE", "TWO" seems to work. The things get done and punishments don't have to be doled out! :) Win-win if you ask me.

  10. with our 2 girls, we have tryed everything!!!! but nothing works except calling the grandparents, we always nag the kids to stop hitting, slapping,using bad words,ect.I dont know how your mom and my mom did it, i wish i had the tone that they had and the look they always gave us lol


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