Thursday 23 January 2014

Why parents should stop caring so much


I'm not going to beat around the bush, I had what I guess you'd call a mini breakdown last week.

Normally I'm quite good at truckin' along with the daily whirlwind of children dramas, life and work; but one more insane tantrum from my three year-old stacked on top of serious tiredness caused by the 1 year-old not sleeping well the last few weeks, sent me completely into mumma meltdown mode.

I thought we had moved past the worst tantrums with our eldest, but obviously not. Our trip to Bali last year and the Christmas period seemed to bring them all back on again - which I'm convinced is because he's just plain tired all the time as he now refuses a daytime nap.

The kindy drop-offs in particular lately have been nothing short of a nightmare, to say the least. He's been going there for well over a year for only a few days a week, and has been really happy about it until a few months ago. Suddenly he's decided to act like a maniac whenever I have to drop him off, even though I know he loves it.

It's so distressing when your child is clinging on to the kindy gate, tears streaming and screaming he wants to go home. Without fail I walk away crying myself, questioning whether I should just give up trying to do work and have him back home full-time. It completely drains me and starts my day off with me feeling like the worst mum in the world. It doesn't help also that my youngest is furious he can't go to the same kindy and takes his anger out on me at the same time, pulling my hair and scratching my face while horrified parents and teachers look on.

So yeah, I had a mini breakdown caused by a gradual build up of daily torture from my children.

Hitting rock bottom can be quite a good thing though as it forces you to make a change. And so I did.

Toddlers are a beast of their own and there's not much you can change about their behaviour other than to ride it out, so I knew it was up to me to change the way I handled them.

And this is what I decided to do - simply stop caring so much.

Obviously I care deeply for my children and other loved ones, and I care about practical things like making sure we have food in the house, but everything else? Well it can go and get stuffed.

And guess what? So far so good. My low care-factor seems to be working...

Here are a few examples of all the things I've stopped caring about this week:

* My 1 year-old constantly climbing on to any table to perform Riverdance, eat unpeeled bananas from the fruit bowl and throw everything off its surface - I keep an eye out to make sure he's safe but now calmly get him when enough is enough instead of instantly flipping out.

* The boys pushing one another and pulling each other's hair while screaming - they can fight their own battles now, I'm not getting involved.

* Kindy drop-offs - dump and run, just like ripping off a bandaid.

* The boys taking my mobile phone - yes it's possible they might delete some important info or photos, or accidentally smash it on the ground, but it's just a phone and I will live. I can never understand how they manage to get it in the first place anyhow.

* What strangers and other parents think about me and my children - if people want to judge they can, I don't have time to worry about it.

* The boys faffing around at sleep time until all hours (we recently moved them in together) - sure they'll be absolutely knackered the next day and probably have about ten tantrums, but what can you do? Going in 20 times to tell them off clearly doesn't work so it's easier to just turn up the telly and ignore it. Eventually they'll stop doing it...right?

* The children not eating their dinner - there's always bread and bananas if they don't like what I made, or they can just go hungry.

Maybe I'll start caring more again next week, but for now I'm in a much better place for not giving a sh#t about so many things. And the children are better off for it too. Perhaps I should have been taking more leaves out of their books in first place anyway...

So how's your care-factor?

Photo credits: Heart of the Matter; Someecards


Thursday 16 January 2014

I never thought I'd be a war widow

Joey from Friends knew this wasn't the time to ask his mate how he was 'doin'

Ok, so I don't have a husband in the army and he is in fact alive and well at present. But I have lost him. I've lost BF.

Nope - not best friend. Nope - not boyfriend (trust me he's as straight as a ruler). I'm talking about...BATTLEFIELD.

For those in the dark (where you should remain I might add), Battlefield is a game. A war game played on your Xbox, Playstation or computer (probably other mediums too but I can't be arsed to look them up). Teenagers play it, and so do men who are almost 40.

My husband has always been into computer/video games, but since a few years ago this one has slowly taken over the rest and encroached our lives. Not only does he play it most nights and sometimes during the day on the weekend, but he also looks at his BF game stats on his phone as well as videos on YouTube - that is, videos of people recording their games and doing 'hilarious' commentaries. Cough.

He also has a few mates who are BF nutbags as well, and they play together in teams online and talk to each other on headsets like NERDS. When those headphones go on he may as well be dead to me. He certainly can't hear a word I'm saying. We could have a home invasion resulting in the kids and I being abducted and he wouldn't have a clue.

One time he was part of a BF 'clan' (I'm not making this up, that's what they're called), where him and a bunch of strangers played together as their own army side against other 'clans' - and yes they were all family men in their 30s and 40s. There was even one player's wife who was in on the act, I believe her avatar was 'French Maiden.' Cough.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised though considering the average age of Australian gamers is 32 (source). With the advancement of technology, games are so much better now than they used to be (in terms of graphics, functionality, etc.), and the money pumped into the industry is nothing short of insane so it's no wonder older dudes (and chicks too!) are frequently gettin' their game on.

Anyway, I'm not sure what happened to the clan, but my husband's obsession with BF is still stronger than ever and now it's BF4 we're talking about - that's how many versions of the game they're up to now (no one plays the other BFs anymore, didn't you know?).

Let me be clear on something though - I'm not slamming games. I love games and have always been the kind of person who races to get Pictionary when friends come round. I even used to be into the handheld / computer type ones too.

I'm fully aware of how many tickets I have on myself when I say this, but yes, I am nothing short of AWESOME at Tetris (and can play a pretty mean Frogger too). We also have a sitdown arcade machine in our house which I sometimes play - let's not talk about the day I couldn't leave the house until I got to the final level of Galaga (and that's nothing compared to the time I cried because I couldn't get past a certain level in Double Dragon back on the archaic family PC).

Other than that though I'm afraid games these days don't get much of a look in (unless they're hide n' seek and playdough).

And speaking of the children, it's evident my boys are now following Daddy into war. My three year-old loves his toy soldiers ("just like Daddy's game!") and screams "medic" when any of his toys happen to fall over or get "boo boos." God help me.

Back to my husband though, even though it does seem crazy how into BF he is, he does love it (except when he's swearing at the screen because his team lost or the internet is causing lags). He does really love war history though, especially watching docos, so perhaps he was in the army in a former life and this is his instinctual outlet.

Who knows. All I know is it's not all bad being a war widow. I get to do things like watch my own TV programs and do uninterrupted work at night without feeling guilty.

And in years to come I know all the boys in the house will be off at 'war' (probably even the cat as well), and it will just be lonely old me at one end of house...playing tetris on the arcade with a bottle of wine.

Now that's my idea of awesome.

Also a BF war widow? Unleash your woes in the comments
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