Please hand me that parenting book … so I can hit my child over the head with it ….

This year I wanted to do it differently with Connor.

Last year (and the previous two) were filled with me being handed last-minute notes and requests to supply two dozen cupcakes or build a RDP model home which includes statues of goats. <True story!>

I really was pulling my hair out and it constantly was putting me on the back foot.  My anxiety levels really does not need this last minute injection of adrenaline.

Connor gets a note or an instruction from school, throws it into his bag, and then remembers to give it to me on the way to school of the day that the item is needed, or the night before at around 8pm.

It happens regularly.  Often my mornings include dropping off at school, high tailing it to a store to buy something, then sticking it together in my car, and dropping it off at Connor’s school’s reception so it can get to his class by 08h30.

I have used the principle of “if he does not give it to me, he will not get it, but then he will suffer and learn his lesson…” sadly the principle is better than the application.  What happens is he does not arrive at school and then gets excluded and I feel sh*t as I feel I have somehow failed him.

This year he is in grade 4 and I thought, okay, this is the year we get organised.  We get out sh8t together.  Yes we do.  Can I get a halleluja?

He needs to start taking responsibility for his things.  He needs to start doing things himself, without his mommy running around for him.

Seriously, this is the year!

My kids have few chores – really, there is always someone/me doing it for them.

They drop their towels on the floor, they forget to flush, they drop their clothes maybe near the wash basket, they leave toothpaste all over the basin, and so on.  I generally haul them in when I want them to help out with something, but in short they have few “you must do this every day” responsibilities.

The one I have tried to install is.  Get home from school, unpack your bag, give notes or messages to me/mom, and put your lunchbox and cool drink bottle in the kitchen in the wash up area, and then go off and do what ever it is you want to do.

You go and play or watch tv or set the cat on fire.  But do these things first.

My kids remember to do this maybe two days a week, and it does my head in.  I walk in their rooms, they are swimming/watching tv/playing and I see their school bags, dropped in the middle of their bedroom floors, nothing has been done, school clothes strewn all over the room, lunch boxes, juiced bottles and scraps still inside their school bag.

I go in and check every day, and three days out of five I am unpacking their bags, and putting their lunch boxes in the wash area, and finding shoes to put them together.

This year, I decided to start off with a very clear instruction and a punishment if not done.  I do not want to start it with Georgia doing it as well, and then I am sitting with two kids bags I am unpacking.

Later for that!

Unpack your bag every day, on the day I see that it is not done it is no tv/DS/computer/electronic anything for that day.  Solution = immediate punishment which I hope will teach a lesson and not repeat the bad behaviour.

Last night – Sunday night – after 19h30 Connor goes: “Mom I hope you won’t be cross with me” –  which generally means, yes, I am really going to be really angry now.

He produces 14 school books that need to be colour coded and covered for school on Monday morning.

It is Sunday 19h30.

I am so ready for a cup of tea and a catch up episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I can taste it.  I have been counting the minutes til 19h30 since about 17h00 as I knew kids would be shuttled off to bed and I could go and lie in bed, with my cup of tea and the visual flashes of Greys, as I doze off to sleep.

Connor presenting me with 14 books to cover sort of put an end to that.

I was deliriously upset.  I was so angry that I pursed my lips and started shaking internally.  I could only respond by being quiet and centering my anger, because if it was left to run around the room, I am sure that we might be one child shorter at the end of the evening.

Kennith covered the books in brown paper, and Connor stuck the front covers on, I then did the plastic covering.  We finished at about 10pm.  Fortunately we had plastic, brown paper, colour paper for colour coding and sellotape.

I thought that we had dealt with this issue, but it would seem that my “super nanny” stance on it was not working, as Connor had just done the thing I had asked him and reminded him for a week not to do.

I decidedthat Connor would lose tv/DS/computer privileges for this week until Friday.  Added to that he would lose fishing priveledges for the remainder of this month.

He sat there with his big blue eyes which started to film over. He looked down, closed his eyes and his lips started moving.

I paused as I covered “History Grade 4” and his eyes remained close and his lips were moving ten to the dozen.

Me: “Connor what are you doing?”

Connor: “I am counting so I don’t cry…”

Me: “Okay ……”

I felt shit, and I know the punishment was a bit harsh.  But I am very tired of the “last-minute” rush that I constantly seem to be doing.  I also cannot “run after him” – he is 10, he is in grade 4 and he does need to take some responsibility for his things.

But, I still feel shit.  This parenting malarkey is not all it is cracked up to be.

<<pictures from Connor’s first day of school this year>>

Leave a comment


  1. Tania

     /  January 20, 2012

    Well Done Mom Celeste !!! After watching an episode or 2 of Worlds Worst Mom on DSTV TLC channel I realised that my 10 year old son could be doing alot more than he is currently doing, for example, make his own sandwich when he is hungry, or, even assist with making his and his sister’s sandwiches on a Sunday evening. 😉

  2. Charlotte

     /  January 18, 2012

    Amandalynn 6 & Lorelai almost 2 also have chores they have to do every night. 1) Unpack your lunch box from your school bag (I remind them once as we enter the house) or you do not get sweet for school tomorrow. 2) Finish your supper (at least your veggies) or not sweets/TV. 3) Clean your room (pack toys away before you go to bed) or no sweets/TV/having a room/toys

    Yes I’m cruel but at the age of almost 2 I do not have to sit and argue with Lorelai about doing it as she knows she has too.

  3. Julz

     /  January 17, 2012

    Now I feel bad. I am like the wicked witch with Dylan who is only 3. You internalise, I land up spending ten minutes everynight apologising for shouting at Dylan. He has a chore chart already with things like pack away toys and he has to take his bowl to the kitchen etc. He loves newsletters so he removes them from his bag but refuses to give them to me which is a problem so now I try to check his bag when he isn’t watching.

    I don’t think the punishment is harsh at all. It is the only way he is going to learn to take responsibility so well done. I month without fishing should jog him daily memory.

  4. Sue Stuart

     /  January 17, 2012

    Hi Celeste I am a “lurker” who decided to comment after reading one of your recent posts! I watched my SIL do projects, cover books etc for both kids for years and it used to make MY blood boil LOL. Hope my 2 year old learns fast!

  5. Anita

     /  January 17, 2012

    Think the term “tough love” is very appropriate here – I often feel totally crap about these kinds of things and would love to change the situation for my kids but know that in order for them to learn from their experiences that sometimes they need to feel the pain.

  6. We have started doing the same with Cameron (who is the same age as Connor) – he lost his glasses on holiday – even after I asked him every day “do you have them” – and the med aid wont replace them so we have to fork out and he will contribute towards it!

    Life is hard – I have counted many times so I dont cry.

    Parenting is not for sissy’s!! LOVE the photos 🙂

  7. Charne

     /  January 17, 2012

    Oh my word, he is adorable! Do i feel ridiculously sorry for him? Yes, absolutely.(maybe more so because he is so damn cute!)
    But, do I think the punishement was fitting? Yes, absolutely!

    I am soooooooo going to suck at this disciplining thing though~~~

  8. Nope, I really do not think it is harsh punishment. It is totally fitting. Maybe the lesson will sink in now. (Miss big mouth here whose first kid starts grade 1 tomorrow). I am intending to be nazi mom fro day 1.

    Stunning photos girl!

  9. Firstly, I love the photos 🙂
    Quintus does that last minute thing too. Drives me insane! (I always end up finishing it up and rushing to school with it later that morning. With the excuse that “I forgot it at home!”


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