Nagging Ain't Nice

My main mission in life is to raise sons that don't grow up to be, you know, assholes.

Sure, that means showing them examples of compassion. Gratitude. Work ethic. Leadership. Humility. Patience. (Okay, so maybe I don't exactly show them an example of patience so much as I show them what not to do.)

But there are also little things that I strive to teach them - things that I hope their significant others will someday appreciate. Stuff like table manners and toilet etiquette. Stuff like putting their dirty laundry somewhere besides all over the floor, and their wrappers and snotty tissues in the trash (hell, putting their boogers in tissues, for that matter), and cleaning up their own messes and not tormenting their siblings. And those things? Take a whole lot of nagging.

You'd never know it to see me in action, but I'm tired of nagging. Sick to death. Do you ever feel like you just say the same things on repeat, in various tones ranging from low and serious to shrill and obnoxious? My kids can learn a complicated maneuver in a video game within a matter of minutes - but when it comes to things I've been nagging - er, reminding - them about over and over, they're a little more thick-headed, because that crap still hasn't set in. After every meal, for example, they know they're supposed to clear their dishes from the table. I have reminded them after literally. Every. Meal. For years. And yet it's inevitable: I'm going to have to remind them again. At some point, that crosses the bridge into nagging.

It's not just that. I'm tired of saying, "Put your laundry in the basket," and "Close the lid," and "Leave your brother alone," and "Wipe up all that water off the floor," and "Wash your hands," and "Put some pants on," and every other thing I say, on freaking loop, a-bazillion-and-one times a week. It's like ... just do it and I won't have to remind you. And then we both win. Is that too much to ask?

I've tried framing the nags as "suggestions," and being polite, and calm, and using positive reinforcement and all that jazz. I've guilt-tripped myself into tears (and pints of ice cream) by reading blog posts about "why I stopped yelling at my kids." But there's something grating - and that's putting it mildly - about saying something over and over and overandoverandoverandoverandover and STILL not getting results.

I saw this brilliant tweet and did a slow clap:


Oh yes, Amanda. Oh YES.

The abyss is deep around here, y'all.


PS - I'm giving away a GORGEOUS necklace (just click up at the top on "Giveaways & Reviews"). ALSO, join me and a TON of amazing authors and bloggers (Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy, for starters!) tomorrow (Tuesday, November 25) at 9PM EST for a Twitter par-tay!! I'll remind (nag?) you about it on my Facebook page here beforehand. :)


8 comments:

  1. Oh yes. My son even makes it worse by complainging, "You already TELLED me dat!" Even though he has not yet made the slightest indication that he is beginning to do whatever it is I just told him 50 times to do.

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  2. I am also a Mom of boys and I feel your pain. I just said the other day (while close to tears) I am tied of being a nag!

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  3. I think the thing I complain about the most to my husband is saying the same things over and over again to my 3 boys (soon to be 4)with them answering with a sarcastic "I know"! Ugh then if "you know" then why must I tell you the same damn thing everyday???? Ugh I swear one of them may end up stuffed and roasted this thanksgiving dinner! Why not there's more where that 1 came from...... right?

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  4. Do you get nagged about your nagging as well? My husband-who is as bad in some ways as the girls- points out that I nag all the time. I'm like all,"Hello? Just do it then and I'll stop!!! You think I like saying the same things on repeat all effing day??"
    -RebeccaC

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  5. Having raised two boys into early adulthood, I know what you mean. I always felt when I yelled back, I already lost the battle. My kids actually paid more attention when I became silent. Not easy, but can be effective.

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  6. I get it! I try not to nag, but dang it, everyone is so slow in the mornings and we have to GO. Natalie will usually decide to pee right before we leave, and she takes forever. She's all, "Don't RUSH me! It's RUDE! Give me my PRIVACY!"

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  7. Sometimes I feel as though everyone else has used by brain to think/find things/ etc for them, that by the time I want to do something it's just too tired so all I get is duuuurrrr...then guilt the next day co I still haven't remembered to do whatever! Then when I have a 'moment of self-expression' i've got PMT or a problem. Grrr

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  8. Someone once wrote something along the lines of "if you've told your kids to do something a thousand times and they still don't do it, who's the slow learner?" I don't think I like that person very much. Being a nag sucks, but seriously, how else are you supposed to produce kids who will brush their teeth?

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