Boy A once described something as “unnegotiable” – I’ve never forgotten the clumsy word.
A brilliant post from Urban Stepmom got me thinking about what is “unnegotiable” for me.
In the past, I’ve tended to put up and shut up a lot, endeavouring to silently tolerate situations that leave me grinding my teeth.
It’s not that I’m planning to institute a Reign of Terror, but there are certainly aspects of our stepfamily life that give me so much stress or plain niggling annoyance that I need to try to change them.
In the end, gritting my teeth and trying to endure just causes a kind of overflow effect, where the pent-up stress makes me less able to handle other stresses that wouldn’t normally rock me.
The little things often seem to create more frustration that the Big Bad Majorly Ugly Issues.
I’ve always taken the view that I can’t make changes happen by myself; without the Lovely Man on board nothing will be different. Some of these I’ve half-heartedly tackled in the past, been met with assurances that things will change and then watched, frustrated, as the same old song kept on a-playin’.
Maybe it’s a question of really speaking clearly and firmly about my feelings, negotiating solutions and then following through with determination.
In a stepfamily don’t ask, don’t get sometimes translates to don’t insist, don’t get.
One thing I’ve learned is that in selected matters that are REALLY important to you, you can’t afford for your concerns to represent the path of least resistance, or the extended family members who don’t mind recruiting Nasty or Whingy to get their way will automatically prevail.
After all, if I say I really want something, but back down from insisting, the Boys or their Mum’s contrary wishes will always bulldoze through, leaving me waving my tiny garden trowel and squeaking But!.. But!.. in their wake.
So here are some matters I’m going to aim to have formally added to the Family Unnegotiable List over the next few months.
No kids in my ensuite bathroom.
The Lovely Man recently commented that if we were to do a planned remodel where we move the weirdly-sited back toilet into the main bathroom and turn the extra space into a walk-in pantry, we would need to be flexible about letting the Boys use the ensuite if another kid was already in the main bathroom.
If that’s the deal, I’d rather keep my cooking appliances in their current unreachable ten foot high storage cupboards and retain my ensuite sanctuary.
After all, we have another bathroom that the Boys can use in the studio.
Our ensuite is the only place I have in the entire house guaranteed kid free. Otherwise known as The Sanity Room.
Sanity and wee on the floor are mutually incompatible, in my view.
No toys in the loungeroom
Our loungeroom is basically a wide hallway. I’ve tried asking the Lovely Man to encourage the kids to keep toys out of the walkway. I’ve even corralled toys onto one rug so we can transit the loungeroom without clocking up painful Kid Recreational Equipment Injuries.
No matter what I do, the lounge instantly becomes an obstacle course of Lego, remote-controlled vehicles of various descriptions, comics and general junk the moment the kids arrive in our city. I can’t handle the complete encroachment of kid chaos any more.
From next visit, there will be a designated playroom set up near the kitchen.
(Oh, and please don’t tell me That’s just living with kids. We are talking about domestic crazy of Hurricane In ToyWorld proportions here, not just normal kid mess. I have the pictures to prove it.)
Pleases and Thankyous – every time!
Self-explanatory… I don’t feel good about giving or doing for the Boys unless they Use Their Manners.
They’re getting a lot better already – at the instigation of the Lovely Man, impolite requests and answers are met with Pardon? Pardon?
I’m sure it’s violently irritating to them. But it’s also highly, highly effective.
Effective is good.
Kids who don’t answer when offered food/asked for their flavour preference/their opinion don’t get what’s on offer/don’t get consulted further.
I am not going to stand begging them to pick from raspberry or chocolate like they are doing me a favour.
Currently they know that the Lovely Man will make sure he persists until they eventually decide to pay attention.
This visit, they’re going to learn that if they’re not on the ball by my second inquiry, the opportunity to get whatever it is will just fade away.
What’s on your “Unnegotiables” wish list? Or what would you like to put on there if you could?