There are lots of things that I find frustrating about being a parent; the long hours, terrible pay, complete lack of positive feedback or gratitude to name a few. There is one thing though that drives me absolutely mad. The kind of mad that I can actually feel in my shoulders and neck – a fury that fizzles in the back of my head and makes me want to hit something or someone.
(I don’t obviously, I just let the resentment simmer internally.)
The thing that makes me mad is my children’s complete inability to find anything, even when presented with very clear instructions.
“Where are the matches?” Belle asks me this morning.
This is how it always begins. They make no effort to actually look for anything themselves. Oh no. That would require a teeny tiny amount of initiative and why bother with that when you can just ask Mummy?
“In the cupboard under the sink I think,” I say, trying to work at the same time.
She goes to look.
“They aren’t there,” she says.
“Did you look properly?”
“Try the shelf under the coffee table,” I suggest, my voice light, the tingling already setting in across my shoulders. I know that in a minute I will have to get up to find them but I’m trying hard to resist the urge just to shout ‘MOVE OUT THE WAY!! I’LL JUST FIND THEM AS YOU ARE TOO HOPELESS!’
“I can’t find them,” she says.
“OF COURSE YOU CAN’T!” I yell. Inside my head.
“I’m going to get up now and look,” I say, calmly, “and if I find them under the sink you know how I am going to feel don’t you?”
I push my chair back, get up and go into the kitchen. I open the cupboard under the sink and move one j-cloth. The matches are there. I take them out, hand them to Belle and silently go back to sit at my desk.
“Sorry,” she says.
I say nothing.
Instead I type this until the fury subsides.