I hate yelling at my kids, I hate being the bad guy, but there are just some days when I feel so stressed out and at my wits end that I just can’t take it anymore and my anger takes the drivers seat.  Some days I feel as if I am way too lenient with them,while other days I may be a bit too strict.  I can’t seem to find the happy medium in between.  As I’m sitting here now looking around my house my heart sinks because the house is a total disaster area.  I am really fed up with it.  I’m fed up with my entire situation and mostly, I am fed up with no one helping me.  I feel like all of the responsibility of keeping the house going has fallen on me and it shouldn’t be that way.  I have tried to set clearly defined and very structured rules for my house.  Come home, do chores, do homework, and then play, use the computer, or watch a movie.  What usually happens though is the kids come home, wine around, cry about the chores being too much for them (Basically pick up toys, throw any trash away, take dishes to the sink, put clothes away, make sure room is clean) fighting between the kids, back talking, and then a lot of yelling until one or both of the kids is sent to their rooms.  I sit here and wonder, when did everything go from simple instructions to total chaos? What am I doing wrong as a parent?

I don’t think that what I ask of the kids is too much for them, in fact,  they do a lot less than what I had to do at their ages.  The harder chores I take care of such as vacuuming the carpets, sweeping, mopping, dishes, laundry, cleaning the bathrooms and then all those little things that need done that I never seem to have the time to  do anymore.  Most of the time I spend picking up after the kids and completing their chores while they are in time out in their rooms, or in some cases, flat out grounded for the day.  After I have everything clean and the house looks great, the kids come home or come down from their time outs, and within an hour the house is totally trashed again! Seriously I feel like ripping my hair out and screaming my head off.  What did I just do all that work for? I wasted half a day of cleaning for what? So my kids have a nice clean house to trash? That’s basically what it seems like.  It’s not only them either.  I clean the kitchen really well and my partner messes it backup by never throwing trash away and leaving empty cans or boxes piled up all over the counters,not to mention foods he has spilled but never wiped up.  Stuff gets spilled or dropped on the floor and left there for me to sweep  up or mop up, dishes are piled high and not placed in the sink or dish washer.  Clothes are thrown on the floor instead of put in baskets, pop cans are left sitting everywhere instead of being out into the recycling container.  I walked into this mess every single day and apparently I am supposed to be okay with it, it’s just a normal part of my life, cleaning up after everyone else, doing everything while everyone else just has a good old time.

I tell  my son to clean up the living room which is basically all the kids mess, and what I get from him is negation.  What if I only clean up half the mess, can I only pick up three or four toys? Or, my personal favorite, “I didn’t make this mess, my sister did it!”  To which I reply, “Well, I didn’t make the mess either but I always seem to be the one to clean it up.”

I suppose there are times when I give up way too easily. It’s less stressful for me to clean up myself and avoid having to listen to the complaining, though within the last few months I have incorporated some really strict penalties for non-compliance.  Loss of computer time is one penalty that my son really hates.  Loss of the night time movie ( we don’t have cable TV so all they have is the DVD player or the internet to watch on).  Loss of a bed time story sometimes works but since my son can read now he will usually go to his room and read the story to himself and really don’t like the idea of taking books away from him because I want to encourage him to read and not take away something that is educational.

My daughter is better about cleaning-if someone helps her- but her biggest issue is that she is usually the one who makes the biggest part of the messes, especially in the living room.  She is ten years old and has autism and while she is high functioning in some areas, she is extremely delayed in other areas.  One of my most difficult challenges with her is her destructive behavior and the temper that usually accompanies this behavior. When she gets frustrated or angry she tends to kick things, knock  over furniture, or rip and break things within her reach. Knocking over my DVD case, the vacuum cleaner, ripping books and mail to shreds, and throwing over my coffee table are among her favorite activities.  She has also thrown the trash can across the room, pulled things such as pictures off the walls, and broken things that I have on top of the entertainment center.

I can usually get her to clean up most of the messes that she’s made but as I said before I have to be there helping her.  My son does a really good job, when I can get him to do it.  It’s like pulling teeth though as he is so distracted and will veer off track to mess around with what ever catches his eye at the moment.  My partner will usually help out when told to and told what to do but he has no initiative, no eye for cleaning, and he cleans so slow it’s infuriating.  I could have the kitchen, laundry room, and both bathrooms cleaned and he’s still sweeping the dinning room floor and doesn’t even do a good job of it to begin with.  It really irks me when he doesn’t sweep behind the door, or move furniture and sweep under them. He wipes the counters off by wiping around things instead of moving them and cleaning under them and he dusts the exact same way, around things instead of moving them.  The only time he takes it upon himself to get up and clean stuff is when I get mad and start screaming which really…I don’t understand.   Why not help keep the place clean and avoid me getting upset, but no one ever seems to think of this.  Things would be so much easier if we could keep the house clean all the time instead of having these huge messes to clean up all the time. I just don’t know how to get to that point.  I have no idea how to get my kids to clean up after themselves as they make the messes or how to avoid making them at all.  They don’t do this crap at my mother’s house so I really don’t understand how they think they can come home and just trash the place here. I feel so frustrated because I really do try to keep things clean but with no help from anyone else it’s not an easy chore.  People just think that I’m making excuses all the time and that I don’t really do anything. They just don’t see what I DO do and how much I DO clean, all they see are the times that it’s a big mess.  It’s really getting to me, being griped at all the time, worrying that every time my mom stops by she’s going to throw a fit and then I get yelled at for it when I’m the only one around here that actually does clean this place.  Most of the time I want to go crawl in a corner and cry my eyes out (real manly I know but I can’t help  it) I just feel so defeated like I’m fighting a never ending battle here and nobody cares.  I got really upset with my partner yesterday because he was sleeping most of the morning while the kids were in school so I was here alone cleaning up and running errands, my mom took my out to eat for my birthday and then I had to run to the store and get food for diner.  By the time I got home the kids were getting off the school bus and I had started dinner. So, my partner comes down stairs and he’s looking for his computer mouse (he hides it so that my daughter won’t break it) well, he forgot where he put it and he got angry and blamed my kids for losing it and he tells me ” F it, I’m going back to bed!”  I was like, Okay gee thanks, I could really use some help with the kids but yeah, whatever, have fun. I went back to the kitchen and as he’s walking up stairs I hear him tell me to F off!  I marched myself over to the stairs and was like did you just say what I thought you said to me and he’s like yeah because you’re being an asshole.  I got really PO’d and told him that if he was so worried about his damn mouse that he can go get a job and buy one himself, or better yet, get a job and start helping me pay the bills and he says You go get a job! I told him that I have a job and he’s like yeah you have one home care client you see once a week and you write your stupid stories.  I was like yeah well, those stupid stories pay the bills don’t they! He told me to go hell and I said, you know what, pack your shit and get the hell out of my house, I’m sick of this crap.  Well, I used a bit more colorful language than that but my point was made in either case lol.

My eight year old ended up finding the computer mouse, in the lap top case where my partner had put it to begin with.  After my son told him he’d found it, my partner comes back down stairs and apologized to me for how he acted which, at this point, I wanted no part of it. I was ready to just throw his ass out and be done with it, I was really angry with him -still am- fortunately for him I’ve calmed down some though I’m still considering if it’s really worth it having him living here with me.  That’s something that I really need to think long and hard about because right now the disadvantages greatly out weigh any benefit there is of having him here. Part of me thinks that the only reason he apologized was because he doesn’t want to be homeless or, God forbid, have to get a job and support himself for a change.  Some days I really feel like I’m nothing more than his meal ticket and if that’s the case, I am so done.  He really needs to start pulling his weight and helping out more around here or his days are numbered.  Maybe if he’s lucky his sister will take him in though I know for a fact that she will expect him to chip  in with rent and utilities and do his half of the cleaning.  She won’t just let him sleep all day and be on the computer all night the way he does here so he needs to start thinking about that and figure out exactly what he wants because I don’t see a real bright side to his future if he continues on the way he’s been doing.  He’s bound to lose more than the roof over his head and after yesterday I think he’s starting to realize just how close I am getting to calling it quits.

4 Comments
  1. bridgie101 6 years ago

    I think you need consistency, and consequences.

    Make one change. And then wait till it’s normalised among them. And then make the next change. That first change may be ‘dishes straight after meals.’

    Make it fun.

    Yes, you do have to drive it. Yes. That’s you. It sucks but nobody else WILL drive it, so you HAVE to drive it. You have to drive the husband too.

    Drive them all, lead from the front, try to make it fun and don’t lose your cool. At the moment you’ve got a dysfunctional dynamic where you set unrealistic expectations (for yourself as much as anyone) they fail and it all descends into fights.

    Change the time chores need to be done. Don’t get anyone to do chores straight after school. Not ever. Get them to do chores before dinner.

    Or before bed. The easiest way to run things is, if you just did the fun thing, now you clean the fun thing up. don’t leave the mess long enough that it’s still there when they get home from school tomorrow. By that time the gratification is so far distanced from the payment that it’s meaningless. Clean up straight after fun, before next thing.

    Pick a daily system. You’ll have to be a sergeant major for a week or so. Buy bags of lollies for when they do what they are told. By the time the bag of lollies runs out you may have changed set expectations. Or it may take another bag.

    Okay? Get new system, think things through, identify what change you want, write up the list, buy the treats, think of the punishments (quick and easy to administer and not draconian, me personally? I’d smack. Quick, easy, over and done with, no hard feelings.)

    Write up the list. Think of the calendar. Make one of the kids the ‘hall monitor’. Delegate tasks downwards.

    But right now you’re doing all the work, and it’s too much. It will send you barking and you will not achieve order or systems because the rules will flipflop based on your levels of exhaustion and ability to enforce.

    Just remember you’ve tried to play nice. And look where it’s got you. Now it’s time to use what they taught you in puppy training school. Treats, and whacks on the bum. Automatically, based upon behaviour the kids KNOW will gain them those reactions.

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    sessy 6 years ago

    Thank you so much for your response. I am going to print this out lol great ideas here and I am going to start implementing them tomorrow. I have the rest of tonight to plan things out so i know exactly what were doing. Thank you again, I really love this!

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    • bridgie101 6 years ago

      Oh but wait, there’s more:

      Never get into a ‘why’ argument. If they ever want to know why they have to do something, tell them to do it, and if they still can’t figure out why after they’ve done it, they can ask you then. Never let anyone argue before the task. And remember: The real reason they’re doing it is because you told them to and you’ll whack their bum if they don’t (or withhold this or that, or whatever you do.) They do it because you are benign dictator, you’re running this freak show, and you’ll make them suffer if they don’t. That’s the bottom line. They don’t have to like your rules, they don’t have to agree with your rules. They only have to obey your rules, with good grace and charm and a little bit of class…

      What else: oh. My mother wouldn’t let us leave the house unless it was spotless. Day at the beach? We were up early cleaning. She took things too far, and so I as a mother didn’t take them far enough.

      I think a happy middle ground is good. You don’t get dinner till your toys are away. You don’t get a story for bed unless you get jammies on and do teeth without quibbling. I didn’t speak clearly before but cleaning up last thing happens before next thing – because next thing is the motivator. They want their dinner – so they clean up.

      if you can get them into good habits, you can keep them there. focus on what you think you can achieve, don’t try a global change unless you have the strength. Because what you inflict you must enforce and we get so incredibly tired.

      The other thing is that moment when you want to tell them to do something but you expect a fight, and you’re really tired, and you don’t know that you can cope with a fight… so you don’t ask.

      ask. Do it. Keep the rules the same all the time. if you have to have the fight, have it, but I have found SO MANY TIMES the kids just do it. They just do it. If they want to know why? Because I said so, because that’s my rules, because this is how we live here. No loopholes for distraction. No loopholes for diversion.

      Kids want to divert, distract, perform sleight of hand. Don’t let them suck you in.

      🙂

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  3. Author
    sessy 6 years ago

    Good Ideas all thank you both 🙂

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