Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rule #31

I saw this book on my trip to the library and it piqued my curiosity. I remember reading "The Rules" as a single girl, and practiced many of them. I wouldn't really recommend this book, I breezed through most of the rules, which seemed pretty common sense to me... one rule stood out for me personally,

Rule #31: "Don't complain about the kids"

I have 3 beautiful daughters, and 1 handsome, mischievous DESTROYER. I can't even begin to tell you the never-ending list of things he scribbles on, squeezes out, shatters, pees on (yes), stains, smears, squashes, throws everywhere, & tears apart... He is quick & persistent. He will unlock, climb, and sneak. Just when I think he is sound asleep, or I am in the middle of doing an important contract for the hubby, or I'm trying to cook dinner, or I just look away for a second.... OH NO!!! He has a knack for finding permanent markers, nail polishes, any expensive cosmetic item, countless toothpastes, oils, powders, glitters, anything with dye... I don't even know why I still try to enforce no shoes, food, or drinks on the carpet. Our carpets are beyond repair now and I look forward to the day that we get laminate floors.

In addition, the beautiful daughters argue, whine, complain, ignore, & also make minor messes. So, by the end of the day I, like many wives, am exhausted & drained...I am trying to make a nice dinner (that no one will likely acknowledge or appreciate)...and the house is still a mess.

I want to release some of the episodes of the day like a teapot letting off steam... but alas, apparently I should not. Maybe I want to justify to my tired husband that I too am VERY tired, and that I have been tidying the messy house all day-- to no avail.

I don't feel like I'm insecure, but maybe subconsciously I am now? Now that I'm a housewife struggling with a messy house, do I have a need to prove that I'm not inferior-- that I just come against a lot of obstacles throughout every day.

According to the book, "he will eventually tire of it and secretly think she doesn't know what she's doing... He might start questioning whether you are spending enough time with your children and feeding them all the right food groups. He may look bewildered every time you raise your voice or scold your child (even when the child deserves to be scolded) as if there is something wrong with you! You will feel judged, unsupported and diminished. Trust us, if you let your husband constantly see how your kids upset you, he many be compassionate for a while, but then he will become your biggest critic, the resident backseat driver."

They suggest that you tell him positive things about your kids ("Johnny brushed his teeth by himself today, Jane wrote her name for the 1st time, Brittany is saying please & thank you"). He will appreciate the happy news & think you are doing a good job. If you want to complain, vent, or get sympathy better to call a friend. I totally relate to this after having a handful of "Mother's Helpers"... I much preferred hearing how well things went to how terrible the day went-- it definitely made the helper seem more competent & caring when things went well and who doesn't love hearing when their kids do something good?

If your husband came home every day looking disheveled, disorganized, with more disaster stories you might begin to think he is just incompetent. So, instead of acting like a harried, overwhelmed mother who seemingly lets her kids run amok- we can pretend we are a CEO. The house is the company, the kids are the employees, & we run a tight ship. We will not accept insubordination. We will set rules for everything (meals, bathing bedtime, time-out, etc), and stick to them. We will act confident, not flustered. The more structure we give the kids, the more they will respect us. We don't need our husband's approval, but we will get it anyway.

Update: Ironically I posted this right after the "law of attraction" post, and I must say I had the worst afternoon/evening yet... he was like a mad midget on crack. He turned the house upside down & inside out...till 10:30pm (bedtime is 7). So, I'm noting that from here on out I really need to make an effort to focus on my progress with his improving behavior, not his out-of-control behavior.


Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

They are talking about husbands who never spend a day alone with their kids! That is the dumbest rule I have ever seen..from the 1950's I think.

My son, age 38, is with the kids two days a week...ages 19 mos and 3 years. My DIL works those days. He totally gets what she goes thru on a daily basis.

Sherié said...

I agree, many of their rules sound like their from the 50's (although the divorce rate was much lower then)... and I believe in having an authentic relationship with your partner. I guess I just need to find a balance between sharing the challenges & the highlights.
Whatever you focus on is your reality. Lately I find myself focusing too much on all the messes my babies create constantly, instead of enjoying all the cute things they say & do.

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