“Can you just figure it out for yourselves?” I shouted at them.
“Why do you need to ask me EVERYTHING? Why do I need to do everything for all of you?! Huh? Why?”
Like most mums, I lose it sometimes with my family, but this was different. Here’s what went down and why it was a really good thing that I did.
Maybe you should too?
I was crotchety
I know every mum reading this will relate when I say I had my angry mum pants on. A day of mumming, running around and juggling had worn me down. I was feeling PMS-y except I had my period last week, so it wasn’t that.
I was just tired of being flogged.
I’d been giving all day.
It was also 6pm. 6pm is a bad time in most households – witching hour.
I was just about to plonk the dinner plates in front of them when it happened.
So. Much. Whining
My eldest, who was drawing at the kitchen bench, had dropped his texta lid on the floor. Rather than pick it up, he was asking me to do it.
My youngest wasn’t happy with his plain spoon and wanted the Paw Patrol one in the drawer, which he can totally reach. But again, he was nagging me to get it for him.
Between their whining, my husband was also asking me how long to heat his dinner up for because it had cooled in the time it took him to go to the loo (why do dads take so long in there?!).
Adding to this, I was in the middle of writing a text and my brain just couldn’t cope with the noise. I couldn’t think to type.
So I exploded at them.
When I have a mum-tanty it rivals the doozies my kids have thrown. They have learnt from the best!
I stomp my foot. I shout. I flap my arms in exasperation. It’s like all the frustration, feelings of being taken for granted and general mum-anger comes smoking out of my ears.
“Can you just figure it out for yourselves?” I growled loudly (insert theatrics), before launching into a tirade over how they ALL (dad included) need to start doing things for themselves.
Older boy, pick up your own crap; younger boy, you can reach the cutlery drawer, so fetch it thyself; oldest boy – really? Just heat it up. Too cold, put it in again. Too hot, live and learn.
Just FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELVES. Damn it!
And you know what? They did. My husband stepped up and pulled everyone, including himself, into line while I stepped out of the room to finish my text message.
I know as a mum, my family has gotten accustomed to me being all giving. All-knowing. All everything.
Mums are self-sacrificial superwomen who seem to be able to do everything – and not because we naturally can, but because we’ve learnt to.
So as a result, our little loves and sometimes that big grown-up one, have learnt to lean on us. On the one hand, we love it, this is motherhood and family, and we are SO needed. On the other, too much leaning is too much. Especially when we know they are capable of doing something for themselves.
And so, we need to push back.
“You can put your undies on yourself, my love. Here. Tag at the back. I’ll help if you need me to, but have a go.”
“You don’t need me to remember your school hat, honey. That’s your job.”
“Sweetheart, I’m not going to be home in time to cook the kids dinner tonight. But you can do it. I think we have eggs.”
Because if we don’t push back, we are enabling learned helplessness.
And I don’t know about you, but it’s doing my head in.
And so, I think it’s good to have a little hissy fit about this every so often, as I did.
Sometimes we need to remind the family to “just figure it out for yourselves.”