Relaxation, responsibility and restrictions

We’ve had a lovely few days away. We ate lots of lovely food, walked on the beach, had afternoon tea and fish and chips (not on the same day), watched films, went to some favourite places and generally relaxed. We’ve been to Suffolk a few times over the last 5 years and we love it. We have lots of “happy” places and lots of memories so it was nice to stay somewhere new but close enough to all our favourite places. Of course, there were some moments of aggro – silly bickering, a few strops and a couple of “are you determined to ruin this holiday”s – but on the whole we got along and agreed on plans and had a lovely time and made some new memories. But the problem with relaxing (as lovely as it is at the time) is that you don’t want it to end. And I’ve got it bad this week.

We came back on Sunday early evening and after unpacking I realised that I would need to do some washing. Grr. I hate that it is me who has to be the grown up and responsible one who has to think of things like clean underpants. I’m not sure how we got into a system whereby I am the one who does all the washing, food shopping and most of the cleaning and cooking. K will cook on occasion – if I ask him to – and will put the hoover round – again if I ask him to or if his parents are coming to visit – but that’s about it. I can’t remember him ever putting a wash load on, in fact I don’t think he would know how. I suspect that it comes from the stay-at-home-mum days and the fact that I had nothing else to do other than housework and chores (oh, and look after 2 small children). And I’m also probably to blame. I’m quite organised and have a bit of a routine with chores, but sometimes it would be nice not to be the one that has to say “oh look the wash basket is full” or to notice that there are no more loo rolls. Why can’t the person who puts the last roll on the holder mention that they have done so? We have a board in our kitchen where we write stuff that needs to be bought when the weekly shop is done (by me) so it’s quite easy to work out – you use the last of something, you write it on the board. And why is it down to me to realise that A only has one pair of tights that don’t have holes in. Somehow I was supposed to know this and be able to wash said pair of tights on a daily basis so that they are clean for the next day. I don’t like this side of parental responsibility. It’s rubbish. Told you I’d got it bad.

I’ve mentioned before that I have been leaving the kids to their own devices to the main when it comes to school work and bag organising. I have an app on my phone that tells me what homework tasks they have each been set and I check in with them that they are on top of things and help where necessary. I also have a quick shufty at their books every now and then. I was a little disappointed that T had a few “reasonable effort” comments in some of his books and we’ve agreed that if he doesn’t get good feedback at parents evening this month(*)  we will restrict screen usage. I’m not too sergeant majorish about screen  use – I restrict Playstation to 40 minute sessions once or twice a week and insist on no phones at the dinner table – and both of the children keep their phones in their rooms overnight on the understanding that they won’t use them after a certain time in the evening. However, I recently decided that I was being too lax about it and a friend recommended an app that you can use to block phone usage at scheduled times or on an ad-hoc basis (as punishment for example). So I installed the app on my and the kids phones. Well. T sat in the lounge with his hood pulled over his head for 2 hours one evening in silent protest at the new regime. And this is the boy who is not a “typical teen”. He was mainly annoyed that, when the block is lifted, all of his apps are rearranged and not in their usual folders. Hmm. A little bit annoying I’m sure but at least I know that they are not on their phones at silly o’clock and I have some control. And I’m all about the control. After a few days he got over himself and seemed to have taken it on the chin. but then something happened and he needed to access something and it all kicked off again. So I suggested that the alternative would be for me to remove the app BUT phones would need to be left downstairs at bedtime, without fail. I thought I would be laughed out of court but he agreed to give it some thought and decided that he would go for the alternative as it meant he could keep his apps all neat and tidy and where they should be.


(*)Since the ultimatum for a good parents evening, I have had an email from T’s Business Studies teacher to say that he has made an outstanding start to the course, contributes loads in class and is producing brilliant work. Chuffed.





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