Tag Archives: chores

What’s That…? Could It Be? Why, It’s…

The weather is cool! The air is crisp! This is the time of year when I feel rejuvenated and alive, frolicsome, even… like a spastic little filly in a field of rolling laundry. That “warmth” and “sunshine” crap is for the birds. The Skinny Minnie’s of the world can have Spring and definitely Summer. The only thing hot weather is good for, in my book, is making avocadoes. And… That’s it. Crawfish maybe? But other than that, all it’s good for is making me want to curl up on the kitchen floor and rock while complaining about everything in the universe and wait until the outdoor thermometer hits <72 degrees. Especially obtrusive here in the South, the very air itself feels like it’s actively trying to strangle me. “Why do I even live here?” is a thought I have with shocking regularity. Heat makes me want to do no things. Except murder, which is no good for anybody.

But that has all changed! At least for now, Fall is here!

TEA Pumpkin Spice eCard
A friend posted this on my Facebook page, and it’s true- that white girl is me

So, with the French doors open wide, coffee in hand and yoga pants snuggly in place, I’m ready to spend more time blogging about my list of stuff I need to get done than I actually devote to the tasks listed!

I used to spend more time crouched over my keyboard, determined to be Internet Famous for at least a hot minute- before launching my still-in-the-works book and rocketing off into Never Never (Clean House Again) Land- but have since decided ain’t nobody got time for that. Besides, when I realistically thought about it, I did think it would be rather like Suburban Snapshots’ experience with the attention of the Interwebs: Cool, yeah, but pretty much equally a pain in the ass surrounded by anonymous buttholes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to be legit countdown-to-the-breakdown famous one day for channeling my unceasing inner creativity into words for people’s consumption, but my cutesy little online outlet ain’t gonna git ‘er done. I still love TEA, and will continue to use it to feel super special, but it’s the book(s) that are going to do the thing.

That is something else I’ve been making more progress in, what with the free high courtesy of the temps below Hell Fire degrees, but I digress. After Googling “belly button as adult” and learning everything anyone never cared to learn about the navel (I suddenly had an intense urge to know what it’s connected to on the inside of an adult torso, which is nothing, I think), I made up my mind to come here, post my list (super dense because The Hubs will be home in just two sleeps!), and get to work. I heard it’s supposed to warm up later today, and I don’t want to get caught Cinderella-style with one shoe on and pumpkin all over the place.

To the list!

  • Coffee
  • Useless and unnecessary Googling
  • Blog
  • Laundry
  • Folding
  • Put away-ing
  • Unload dishwasher
  • Reload dishwasher
  • Clean sink
  • Pick up kitchen
  • Pick up living room
  • Dust
  • Pick up master bathroom
  • Make list for unsuspecting loin fruit upon return from school

Tomorrow I’m going to do floors. I dislike doing floors. But alas, floors must be done. Tuesdays always strike me as the best time for this, so that is the rationalization I’m using to convince myself that that is why I’m not doing them today.

Now run! Outside! Enjoy the cool weather! Before it gets away!

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This Is Why Tigers Eat Their Young

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that growing up, I’d be able to pay for the therapy I clearly need. And yet, now, I want to wear a t-shirt emblazoned with it.

If you’ll remember from a post last week, here lately I’ve been at the end of my rope with the fruit of my loins, and one ill-timed eye roll away from tying it into a noose and slipping it over my head. After writing about it and linking to the Attachment Parenting website, I left the tab open on my computer. This weekend, while babysitting a friend’s children, I had a moment to actually read some stuff on the AP blogs. It reminded me of why I chose the AP path in the first place, and was really quite refreshing.

The post I especially liked was one with straight-forward tips to get your kids to help out around the house without resorting to threats of violence or promises of treats- two things it seems like I do exclusively as of late. It’s a dilemma I posted on my Facebook mommy groups about in search of advice, but the suggestion was nearly always to use a reward chart. Not a bad one, per se, but I started Da Beeb on charts when she was four, and over the years neither one of us would stick to them for long. And, as more and more people and sources seem to lament, it doesn’t really appear to foster a sense of duty or a desire to do one’s fair share (although there are exceptions, such as with developmentally challenged children). This has been our experience with them. It seems to embed the desire for gold stars or princess stickers or check marks or money (the latter something that I regularly get asked for now for the simplest thing, like picking up her shoes in the living room… WTF?) It breeds the mentality early on of being reward driven rather than result driven. As an adult, ain’t nobody tryin’ to give me gold stars for doing laundry and brushing my hair. I have to do what I have to do because I value having a car to drive and clean drawers to wear and not being taken for a homeless person. And because I don’t want to go to jail. But mostly because there are just things in life that need to get done.

The post that really got me thinking on that (the effects of reward charts, not imprisonment) was one by Evolutionary Parenting that they shared on their Facebook page. I’d never really thought about reward charts in that way, but once reading it, it really made sense. In our house growing up, you did your chores because if you didn’t, you had to answer to the Authority (which often held a belt). Period. Sure, there were some lectures about not living like a pig, or contributing to the family, but it was mostly about staying out of trouble and escaping punishment. As a result, both my brother and I are adults who are extremely externally motivated. If we don’t want to do it, we don’t want to do it (which, really, is most people), but it seems extra hard for either of us to get things we need to done, and sometimes we reap the consequences. To this day, the best way for me to accomplish anything is to hear that clock a’ticking until Dad’s Home. Of course, “Dad” might be my husband coming in from offshore, or guests coming over, etc, etc, but the sentiment is the same. There is a situation fast approaching at which point bad (or just unpleasant) things will happen if XYZ isn’t finished. I basically spend my life going from 0 to 60 in the half hour before something simply must be completed (which is an absolutely unfortunate way for a writer to be!). I’m not proud of it, but I realize this about myself. Although, much like depression, self awareness is not always enough to pull oneself through.

But I digress. My point is that I do not want that sort of headache for my kid. I want her to work through life- because it is just that, work- to the best of her ability, and not get into her own way as I often do. I think the first step to that is to teach her to be internally motivated to achieve things. Which is kind of like me trying to teach her Mandarin (if it hasn’t been addressed on Ni Hao Kai Lan, I know nothing of it). I’m totally lost.

Finding posts like the afore mentioned AP one make me feel better, and give me a bit of gentle direction that I can hopefully turn into positive results in my own household. It’s going to require more work on my part (boo), I need to make more of an effort to be more patient with her and guide her rather than command her (not my strong suit, the patience). I really don’t believe that the old adage “Spare the rod, spoil the child”- which actually appears nowhere in the Bible, but that I heard incredibly often growing up- is about beating your children into submission. From my understanding, the rod is supposed to be that of a shepherd, right? And what do shepherds do with their rods (please, let’s pretend to be mature for a minute here…)? Do they hit their sheep with them when they get out of line? That wouldn’t really foster a sense of trust and protection between the herder and the herd. From what I’ve seen, shepherds usually use their rods to guide their sheep around obstacles and out of danger’s way, and to fend off danger is necessary. I feel like that’s what we should do (more of), rather than threaten to punish for a lack of strict obedience. Easier said than done to be sure, but it’s not always about doing more good, it’s sometimes just about doing less bad. But I mean, who ever heard of repressed children morphing into rebellious teenagers, right? That’s crazy talk!

Hopefully I can make a discernible difference in her now before she thinks I’m completely lame and awful. I feel that timer going, too. Maybe that will help!

Wow. Shit got deep there for a minute.

___

See, this is precisely why I don’t get things done until the last minute (besides the above stated personal drama): I wrote this out Sunday night in order to be prepared for today. I knew Monday would be busy and wasn’t sure if I’d get a chance to blog (I didn’t), and I wasn’t yet sure about Tuesday, so I was like ‘I know! I’ll go ahead and type Tuesday’s post out, then I’ll be prepared! Yea preparedness!’ I also thought ‘Hmm, what is true today that will still be true on Tuesday?… I know! My kid being an absolute turd.’

Then my kid has to be all wonderful and I have to change my blog post. Man, kids ruin everything.

All day Sunday while I watched the Littles, my Not-So-Little was very mature, indeed. She helped out, did things for them, didn’t whine or complain about anything. I’m always quick to praise her for helpfulness, and this weekend she earned every word. Then yesterday- despite whining to go play rather than hold signs while we were at the annual Improving Birth rally (appropriately held on Labor Day each year, to bring awareness to birth rightsevidence based maternity care, and truly informed consent/refusal), which, really, was to be expected- she was awesome. A little whiny about being forced to go eat Mexican food (sometimes I feel the need for a maternity test), but good.

photo (2)
Baby’s first peaceful demonstration, I’m so proud

And then there was that moment. Most days she goes outside to ride her bike with the neighborhood kids (can we just take a moment to acknowledge what a blessing in everyway it is that we have the type of neighborhood and kids for this?), and comes in around supper time/dark, often dragging her feet and begging for five more minutes. She hadn’t been able to play with them all weekend, so was super excited to play last night. She came in about 10 minutes before supper was ready to ask if she could go in their backyard to play (all location changes must be preapproved), and I told her no and why. I unconsciously held my breath for the inevitable, and she responded “Ok,” and happily ran back outside. You know how it felt when you were growing up and your sibling was probably about to hit you, so you were prepared and waiting for it, and then it didn’t happen? It was kind of like that. Followed by immense relief, happiness, and a bit of apprehension. And then she was perfect for the rest of the evening. She came in on her own right before the oven timer went off, she ate her carrots and chicken without so much as a nose crinkle, and brushed her teeth without complaint.  It was magical.

It’s times like this that remind you why you don’t abandon them outside of firehouses and orphanages. And It’s great.

Hopefully it’s the sign of the end of this growth spurt’s moodiness and hormone surges. She was great this morning, too. I try not to gush too-too much to her, I don’t want her to get used to that exhausting level of praise and head patting, but it sure is nice.

No list for today. I’m watching another one of my friend’s kids today (and I’m rather excited- of all the children this friend has, the one coming over today is totally my favorite). The house looks like a tiny little war broke out, toys and socks everywhere (I’m honestly not even sure whose socks all of these are, or how exactly they got here). I’m just going to get done what I can get done and hope for the best.

Really, if all I have to do to get things to change for the better around here is write a premature blog post about it, expect one soon entitled How Much It Sucks That I Haven’t Won The Lottery & Have Yet To Magically Wake Up One Day A Size 8.

Have Mug, Will Travel

As anyone who has broadened their horizons in a direction outward of their home sphere will say to people who have not, you really don’t realize how much you take for granted the accessibility of loved ones. Look at me, I’m saying it to you right now, although I have no idea of how broad your horizons are. Having people you care about within whim-distance of you (that is, close enough to see “on a whim”) is something truly special. While the situation was less than ideal, I was very pleased to be able to go pick up a friend whose car had died, thankfully after all the kiddoes were dropped at school. We had already talked about meeting at her house for coffee, so I had my new favorite Ariel mug in tow. At least that way I felt less like a mooch about the free coffee, and got an extra shot of Torani Classic Caramel syrup. We got to visit and chit chat and goof around, which are some of the things we do best together. We discussed the possibility of going all Breaking Bad in order to generate extra income (although neither of us is a chemist) and I got the news that someone I know is pregnant, and it might be twins, and if you’ve happened to pop over to the WMC and read my latest featured post, you’ll know how happy I am for her, so we talked about that, too.

Alas, if a friend gives you a ride, she will want coffee. If you give that friend coffee, she will stay at your house for four hours and not get anything else done or her blog updated. Which is why I’m here now, at nearly 1:30pm.

Oh, but I did manage to send Shelby off this morning with a cute little Minecraft-inspired bento box lunch I prepared last night. I’ve been pinning the crap out of school lunch bentos lately, and I was inspired. Behold:

photo (1)
Please, contain your excitement

It’s not award-worthy, but it’s not awful. It’s a ham and lettuce sandwich, cheddar and mozzarella cheese cube building blocks and a Creeper apple. The details are made of nori attached with honey. I’ll let you know whether she was stoked or appalled.

I have actually gotten a few things done today. I picked up the kitchen (mostly) and did the dishes. I also realized I hadn’t sent in the house note, and had no stamps, so I rushed out to the post office, with nothing but a twenty. After some nice-but-somewhat-catty bantering between the two postal employees behind the counter, I started to get uncomfortable. I mean, I know it sucks to make that much change, but I did offer to buy a few more stamps to make it easier, though I was not in the mood to buy two entire books, which was her response to my offer. The other woman said “You’re nicer than me, I wouldn’t have sold it to her…” in a tone that clearly stated that cattiness was not my imagination. Then when I asked where the drop was for the outgoing mail, she smiled and said “I’ll take it for you,” which had just enough cartoon villain in it to make me wonder, after handing her the envelope, if my house note was really getting paid on time this month. Guess I’ll find out, won’t I!

So now I’m back at the house, excited that I’ll get to make a list with things already crossed off of it, and that I’m about to have artichoke hearts on toast. Toast I made in the oven, because who loses a toaster that’s sitting on the counter? This girl.

Enjoy the list, and really check out the artsy mugs Disney has out right now. But don’t buy the Ariel one. That one’s mine. There can be only one.

  • Get Shelby to school with awesome lunch
  • Coffee with esteemed biotch
  • Dishes
  • Pick up kitchen
  • Clean vent-a-hood
  • laundry
  • Go to post office
  • Be nice to rude public servants
  • Mail house note (maybe?)
  • Pick up living room
  • Find craft stuff for crafting date tomorrow
  • Find most delicious quiche recipe on Pinterest
  • Pick up Da Beeb
  • Feed said Beeb meatloaf
  • Homework
  • Make sure Mr. Waffles gets some sun time this evening
  • Downtime