Here’s the thing, my darling kiddos. You definitely do need to do something to make your mum feel better. Parenting is a bloody frustrating gig. No one does what they say they’ll do, when they said they’d do it. “In a minute” is the phrase a mother is most likely to hear (especially, help me, this particular mother). It’s a lot to get through day after day and as a result sometimes I don’t feel very good at all.
Many times when you think I’m angry, you’re just misinterpreting my frustration. I’m not angry with you, I’m frustrated in general. Yes, there’s a big difference.
Anger is generally a flash-in-the-pan, heated emotion. Frustration, on the other hand, is a low-simmering pot of irritation.
The reason I’m telling you about how slow-burning frustration is because sometimes I leave it on the simmer for too long and it spills over into anger. That’s when you notice me. When things boil over, you don’t notice that I’ve quietly been simmering away for weeks, months, years all along.
I keep telling you, I’m only human
I’m pretty sure you’d feel just as frustrated as me if you had to constantly beat your head against a brick wall, too. You’d be feeling frustrated and, just as importantly, you’d be feeling hurt.
I want you to know that my frustration is accompanied by a lot of hurt, just like yours would be.
It’s not exactly physical pain (although, sometimes, it sure feels like it could be). Rather, it’s the hurt you cause me when you don’t listen, don’t act, don’t seem to care, and – probably the worst – don’t even notice.
It seems that if I don’t nag you repeatedly to do the things, the things don’t get done. Or, rather, you kids don’t do the things, but the things still need doing, so guess who does them?
Yup, the family fairy does them.
And that poor fairy is so frustrated with having to be the one nine times out of ten. She’s frustrated AF. In fact, she’s one hellava f*cking frustrated family fairy.
Just look after the family fairy for me
So here’s an easy way to make your mum feel better: look after the family fairy.
As often as you can, pick up the things, clean up the things, and wipe down the things. Then do the thing you’re asked to do, when you’re asked to do it. Straightaway. Not in a blessed minute.
And notice the fairy, too. Because she’s not a myth – she really does exist and she works incredibly hard every darn day to make a nice life for you. So please, look after her.
Such a simple act that will make your mum feel better isn’t too much to ask, is it?
Bonus way to make your mum feel better
There’s a bonus round here. I’ll give you another easy way to make your mum feel better for free: say thank you to the family fairy.
Not every-once-in-a-while, but every day. Maybe more than once a day, if you can manage it.
Expressing gratitude to the people we love for doing things for us builds stronger relationships and, believe me, reduces everyday frustration. I don’t even need to click through to the science on that one. I can tell you for a fact that a simple thank you makes me feel better about EVERYTHING. Such a tiny reward for all the hard work I put in, but surprisingly, it’s enough.
A thank you is enough.
So there you go. Two things to help you help your mum feel better. Do what you’re asked to do when you’re asked to do it, and say thanks to me for doing all the other things I don’t ask you about at all.
Believe me, that’s A LOT of other things. Surely not so hard to be a little bit grateful for all that?
My eldest turning 17 made me feel like all of a sudden I was ‘running out of time’ to parent my kids into adulthood. What did they still need to know? What hadn’t I taught them yet? It was a moot point, of course. Teenagers would rather die than listen to their mother… but maybe, possibly, hopefully, one day. And so, ‘Dear Children’ was born.