Thank You, Thank you very much.

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Can someone, anyone, tell me how to teach my kids some gratitude? I know, I know, being a mom is a thankless job and waah, waah, waah to me. But really. I need a thank you over here. And it needs to come out of the mouths of the little people I brought into this world with my own blood, sweat and screams.

Yesterday, by the time Mike got home from work, I had reached that critical level of stay-at-home momness. You know it: Defcon 5. As in, this bitch is gonna blow if you don’t back up off me. “Get away from me!” Yeah, I said it. I needed my kids to get the heck away from me and not talk to me for a good 12+ hours. “Mommy needs alone time” was a complete understatement. I actually *gasp* questioned why I ever wanted to have kids in the first place. Lucky for the other 3 people in my family, Wednesday night is grocery shopping night. And mommy goes solo.

You wouldn’t hire a maid to clean your house and not tip her, right? You don’t stiff your waitress when you go out to eat, do you? (There’s a special place in hell for those of you who do.) You wouldn’t go to a friend’s house for dinner and forcefully spit your food onto your plate, loudly exclaiming that it’s disgusting, would you? No, you’d tip your maid and waitress. You’d probably thank them as well. You’d eat the dinner your friend made whether you liked it or not and you’d warmly thank her for inviting you over. For taking the time to cook a meal for you. Out of the generosity of her great big heart.

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So why is it that I can’t get a thank you out of at least one of my two children? I pick up after them, cook for them, clean their clothes, clean their stinky little bodies, read them books, color with them, take them to the movies occasionally, go on play dates, take them to the beach, the lake, the playground. Do I get a thank you? No. Today, I picked the kids up from camp and took them to the movie theater to see Monster’s University. We ordered nachos and fries and sodas, stuff I rarely let them eat. As we’re leaving the theater, my son sees the concession stand. “I want a treat!!” “Sorry, we just filled up on junk. We’re leaving,” I tell him, trying to tug him out the door. “I want a treat!” he screamed in his best belligerent three year old voice. “Didn’t you have a great time at the movie? Didn’t you just tell me your tummy was full of french fries and soda?” Apparently not. Instead of a thank you or a “I had a great time” which I would take in its place, I got a pouting, crying kid who told me that he never gets anything that he wants.

You know what kid? Join the damn club. Mom doesn’t get what she wants either. She doesn’t like picking up your wet towels from the floor, digging under your bed for your dirty underwear so she can wash it, or hunting down your sister who has disappeared from the house. Mom does it because someone has to. And all she wants is a thank you, thank you very much.

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2 thoughts on “Thank You, Thank you very much.

  1. Threatening pain should work. Or threaten to take away some of what they already take for granted – just think of boot camp. Zero privileges. They have to earn them. That should work.

  2. You can only threaten your kids with something you are actually willing to carry out. Otherwise, they realize your threats mean nothing and they do whatever they want no matter what you say. That being said, I rarely threaten violence because I usually can’t bring myself to carry it out. But they do lose what few privileges they have. And they don’t care. But maybe I can utilize other boot camp techniques. Banging on trash cans to wake them up…screaming in their faces while they do eight counts…. With my luck, my kids would enjoy doing eight counts!

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