I know I have a Pollyanna attitude, I’ve mentioned it before. I always try to look on the bright side, and within our blog in particular, I tend to show the shiny, positive things – lovely days out and holidays with the kids, us doing crafts together etc. But I feel there is room for the other side too, and it would be unrealistic not to admit it.
I’ve struggled with blogging lately,
for many reasons. One of them is my kids. They are my life, of course. I don’t really have anything else, and I pour my heart and soul into what we do together. But I’m finding it really, really hard.
My kids hate each other. There, I said it.
I know all siblings fight. I won’t be the first parent to say they feel more like a referee than a mother. But with my kids it’s constant. And often violent. It wears you down.
A recent event has prompted my outburst. It has been haunting me ever since, so I have to spill it! I’m sorry, blogs are usually brimming with advice and ‘how to’ but I have nothing. So feel free to just join me in a moan and nod along accordingly. Or if you have any decent advice, please share it. For goodness sake share it! Lord knows, I need it!!
So it was our busy evening – athletics for both kids, followed by band practice for Hugo. Paul was working, so I was in charge of getting them fed, changed, and out of the house quickly. All was going well, I’d kept my cool and not even had to shout at them to hurry up. I was just closing the doors and putting the dog on her bed when it happened – all hell broke loose. Apparently Hugo had hit toby with his trombone case. Toby was raging!
This is typical. Hugo knows exactly which buttons to press, and is very physical. Toby has the shortest fuse I’ve ever seen, and flies into a melodramatic, noise-filled rage at the least thing. Hugo denied his action, and took his place in the car. Toby raged and refused to leave the house. He was insistent that I needed to deal with the situation better and punish his brother. I tried to calmly explain that, as I didn’t see the incident. I couldn’t take one person’s word against the other. If I did, then next time Hugo accused Toby of something, I’d have to take his word for it and punish Toby for something which he may not have done. And he would do exactly that, believe me.
These kids are too smart to miss an opportunity like that.
So we negotiated, quite calmly (for us!). I gave myself silent Mum points for averting a potential disaster. Toby thought I should put Hugo on a ‘2’ (a kind of warning system, 3 is a punishment). I agreed I would do this (as I was in little doubt that the crime had been committed, it happens regularly).
Cue a slightly late exit to the car.
Then all hell broke loose part II.
Toby saw Hugo sitting in the front of the car and launched into another tirade. “He shouldn’t be allowed in the front. He should be punished not rewarded.” Toby grabbed at the car door and started screaming at his brother to get out. I shouting to him to get off the car, trying to persuade him that he could ride in the front on the way home. Sadly that wasn’t good enough. Toby ran into the courtyard and started kicking the stones around, screaming at me to do something about it, and if I didn’t, he would run away. Totally losing it and criticising my parenting skills (or lack thereof).
It would be challenging enough to calm this situation and get him into the car normally, but Hugo getting out of the car with his mobile phone pointed at Toby, smirking and pretending to record the whole thing, just escalated the situation times twenty!
Next thing I knew, Toby had flung his mobile phone at Hugo and was chasing him around the garden, kicking at him violently. He then ran off, shouting at me that he was running away as he had threatened. Chaos had descended.
I shouted at Hugo to get back in the car, chastising him for making things worse, then called after Toby. Bearing in mind I have a terribly sore back, I didn’t want to have to follow him, but there was no alternative, he wasn’t coming back. I waddled off down our immensely long garden to try and restore order. (Next time I want a house with 3 acres, have a word with me!)
Well, long story short, by the time this was all sorted out, we were too late for athletics. Toby refused to go anyway, saying that Hugo would just tell everyone there what had happened and embarrass him. Also probably true.
This is not a story to show my lack of parenting skills or control,
though it would appear I have little of either. No, this is a story of all-too-common situations in my family. It is why I am exhausted, exasperated and quite frankly at the end of my rope.
Luckily it’s a fairly strong rope, but still…
I really want the kind of family life where we do things together, have quality time and days filled with positive experiences. But seriously, it is hard enough to get out of the house without one of these incidents!
I’ve read so much about dealing with it. My hot favourites are Siblings Without Rivalry and Raising Your Spirited Child, both of which I’m on a second reading of! (affiliate links)
If you have wondered where I’ve been of late, this is only the tip of the iceberg! It’s hard to write a family blog when your family is this dysfunctional! Thanks for sticking with me. One day soon my kids will find out I’ve written this rant and insist I remove it immediately. So any comments or advice, get in quick before I’m banned from the internet forever.
Thanks for listening!
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