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. :)