You guys, I AM SO GROUCHY!!
I’ve been planning to do a follow-up to my last post, specifically to talk about my relationship with Gil. I had made that lovely resolution to kiss him for ten seconds everyday, and as I mentioned, I am failing miserably. I really want to list all the fabulous things that he does (and he does), but I can’t exactly see them right now because when he and the kids and I are all home together like we have been this ENTIRE weekend, I become so irritated that all the positives feel invisible.
Please humor me for a paragraph or so while I vent. I don’t know why it is that I feel like I can get ten times more done around here when it’s just the kids and me, and more peacefully at that. One would think that adding an additional adult would make everything easier, but it’s the exact opposite. We just seem to get in each other’s way, and very often we butt heads when it comes to parenting our children.
Piers took a nasty fall late yesterday on his bike and is still pretty banged up, so instead of loading everyone up and going to our “hippy, liberal church” this morning, as my mom refers to it, I went to the grocery store. When I returned, Gil and the kids were parked on the couch watching The Lorax.
Normally I’d let it go — whatever. I try not to be a TV Nazi. We limit them to thirty minutes a day during the week, but we often relax that on the weekends. HOWEVER, this morning when Piers was begging to play the Wii, I said to him and Gil before I left, “I don’t care if you play the Wii, but let’s stick to your typical thirty minutes today. Dad and I had some things we needed to get done yesterday so we let you play more than usual, but you need to do some other things today, plus it’s beautiful outside.”
EVERYONE AGREED. Now, our rule is that each kid gets thirty minutes of Wii OR TV time a day during the week. Gil knows this. Piers knows this. I realize I said “Wii” but I meant that I was instilling the normal rule — one or the other, and he chose to play the Wii. My understanding was that once his time was up, NO MORE TV today. Like I said, we usually are more relaxed on the weekends, but they watched a movie Friday night while Gil and I had our own Valentine’s dinner AND then another movie last night while Piers had ice on his face. No big deal, but really, it’s finally sunny outside and there was no reason for them to stay parked in front of another movie this morning. Plus, before I left for the store I even said to Gil — please make sure you keep an eye on the time and make him turn it off after he’s played his thirty minutes.
“OKAY, Viv. I heard you the first time. God. Chill out.”
So what do I walk in to? Gil and the kids lounging in front of The Lorax at 10am. Really?! In the big scheme of things, I realize this is not a big deal. My kids are not couch potatoes and they are active and healthy, but Piers gets cranky and wild when he watches too much TV, and for what it’s worth, so does Gil.
But more than anything, I’m frustrated that we agreed and he completely went against what I said right there in front of Piers. It just pisses me off. Sometimes he has this attitude of “Mom’s out of the house — the guys can play.” When the truth is — I am NOT rigid and hardly run what many would consider a tight ship.
Gil agreed to enforce the thirty-minute rule, and in typical Gil fashion, he forgot. I didn’t blow up like I wanted to in front of the kids, but according to Gil I had “an annoyed look” on my face while I was putting the groceries away. He walked into the kitchen and asked why I was mad and I said, “Because I specifically asked you to turn off the TV after he played the Wii for his thirty minutes, and I walk in to them watching another movie. I just feel like you don’t back me up on stuff and then I look like the bad guy for limiting them on something we BOTH agreed on. You and I came up with that rule together and then we agreed that we were sticking to that today –THIS morning. That irritates me.”
He was mad, but rather than say, “I made a mistake. I forgot and Mom reminded me. Turn the TV off.” He just rolled his eyes at me, pointed the remote at the television and the screen went blank without any explanation. Naturally Piers and Wallace went nuts, “Hey!! Why are you turning that off?! We were watching that!.”
“Sorry Guys, Mom doesn’t want you watching TV.” And then he stormed out of the house leaving me with protesting children.
I was livid. Then I had to remind them that we had said thirty minutes, and for good reason, they were annoyed. I also got “you’re a mean mom” slung in my direction. Which, really, I don’t care. I’m not mean, but I do follow through with what I say I’m going to do. I think it’s important to be consistent and that’s what I strive for.
Maybe I was being rigid. Maybe I should have just let it go. Maybe I shouldn’t have made a rule if I wasn’t going to be there to enforce it. I guess this is where the root of my frustration lies. Gil is gone most of the week – what I say goes and the kids are used to me, so they rarely complain. We’ve been sticking to thirty minutes since school started and it has never been a problem. I set a timer and when it beeps, they turn off the TV — no yelling and screaming.
I don’t know. I just feel like everything is harder when he’s home when it comes to the kids.
He took them on a bike ride this afternoon. Here’s how it went:
Gil: “Hey Guys, get your clothes on so we can go ride at the trail.”
Then Gil leaves to put on his workout clothes and shoes, goes into the kitchen and starts goofing around on his phone. Piers goes into the playroom and Wallace starts building with Lego in the dining room. I walk in and see them not getting ready and as a matter of habit start verbally reminding them of the things they need to do.
Me: “Wallace, you can’t wear your snow boots. You need to put your sneakers on. You’ll probably be more comfortable if you wear something other than jeans. Here, I’ll help you find some better pants.
Gil never looks up from his phone and pretends he can’t hear any of this — who knows, maybe he can’t.
Piers walks in wearing his best khaki pants. Jesus, it’s not like we’ve never been on a bike ride before. We do this regularly.
Me: “Piers, you can not wear those pants to ride your bike. Here (I grab some workout pants from the clean laundry pile on our couch that Gil EFFIN’ threw there earlier today), wear these.”
Fifteen minutes later, Wallace is finally dressed but Piers can’t find his shoes.
Me: “Piers, this is why I like for you to put your shoes on the shoe shelf by the door when you take them off. Try to think back to the last time you wore them.”
MOTHER OF GOD…..Gil has not moved. I’m starting to lose my patience and am apparently getting louder as Piers is getting more frustrated looking for his damn sneakers. Gil looks up from his phone — I kid you not it’s been at least twenty minutes since we started this process.
Gil: “Viv, what are you yelling about. This is supposed to be fun.”
Me: “And it will be as soon as YOU walk out the door!!!!!! Do you know where their helmets are?”
Gil: “Geez, I’ll find them. Chill out.”
He begins moving S……L…..O……W…..L…….Y.
Piers and I finally locate his shoes, and I walk the kids out to the car. Let’s see. Gil’s bike is on the bike rack but the other two are still in the garage. I get the boys buckled into their boosters. Gil is still inside.
Me: “Honey, I put their helmets in the back. Please make sure that Piers’ stays forward on his head. It may need adjusting.”
He rolls his eyes and acts like I’m an obsessive nim-wit. Hello, the kid took a nasty tumble yesterday and has road rash to show for it. Make sure his damn helmet is adjusted properly!!!
Gil (finally makes it to the garage): “Geez, I thought I put their bikes on the rack last night.”
While he is loading the kids’ bikes I fill up the water bottles and take them out.
Me: “Here, I got these ready for you.”
Gil: “It’s not like we’re biking across Georgia. This is why it takes us three days to get anywhere. You think we can’t leave the house without a bunch of crap.”
I resist the urge to smack him over the head with one of the bottles and walk inside and slam the door.
Needless to say, kissing him passionately is the LAST thing I want to do right now.
For those of you who are parents, do you have these battles with your partners? Do you have any solutions? Does it get easier as the kids get more self-reliant? I really don’t want to be chronically annoyed with Gil until the kids leave home. Please, I’m begging!