Last week I sent my son to school in his pajamas. It was one of those mornings. “I don’t want to go downstairs, I don’t want to eat breakfast, I don’t want to brush my teeth, I don’t want to pack my backpack, I don’t want to get dressed.” When he dug his heels in over changing out of his pajamas, I asked myself, "Does he really need to put on day clothes?" And I decided it wasn’t a fight I was willing to fight. So I put a pair of “proper clothes” in his backpack in case he needed them during the day, and off to Junior Kindergarten he went. For the record, I would never have let my daughter (first child) go to school in her pajamas unless it was Pajama Day. Let’s file this under Things I’ve Learned In Seven Years of Motherhood: pick your battles.
The situation got me thinking about all the things that happen in our households that no one ever really hears about. That so much of what we see are the smiling Christmas card portraits or the proud Facebook updates of how Johnny cleaned his room without asking, or how Poppy made rainbow loom bracelets for her class AND her little brother’s.
So, in the interest of keeping it real, here are a few things that have been going on in our household lately:
Sometimes, we use bribery.
One Friday night a few weeks ago, we promised our kids a couple of toonies each (yes, four dollars each) if they had breakfast, played quietly, didn’t fight, and didn’t come into our bedroom until after 8:00am the next morning. For kids who get up at 6am, we thought it might be a pretty tall order for the weekend. But they did it. And the routine has stuck. We paid them that one time and every Saturday they still wait until after 8:00am to come into our room.
My house is rarely spotless.
I regularly roll out my mat in my living room and do yoga even if the house isn't tidy. Sometimes, in my downward dog, I can see dirty dishes piled in the sink. I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and remind myself how much better my body and mind will feel after doing yoga. I’ll get to those dishes, I’ll fold the piles of laundry eventually, but taking care of myself needs to be a priority. The place gets cleaned, but it’s not always tidy. And I’m learning to be okay with that.
My kids fight. A lot.
They fight about anything and everything: who got their vitamins first; who knows how to sing Oh Canada better in French; who has a nicer teacher. The latest thing is who gets to click in their seatbelt first. My son is younger and it takes him longer to buckle up, so he’s always asking his older sister to let him go first. Most of the time she complies but after a while her competitive nature takes over and she just can’t let him win every time. WWIII breaks out in the backseat of our car on a regular basis. My husband and I talk ad nauseam about respect and kindness, etc., etc., etc., but some fights I’ve come to accept. Because I know that when they’re in a school environment — or out of my earshot/eyesight — they totally look out for one another.
My husband and I sometimes push the boundaries, and pay for it.
A couple of weeks ago, we were having a great time at the family bingo night at our kids’ school. We even won a prize (Lucy Waverman cookbooks, at that!) Our eldest was having so much fun playing bingo — okay, my husband and I were too — we didn’t pay attention closely enough to the tired cues of our youngest. And lo and behold, family bingo night turned into total-meltdown-screaming-kicking-tantrum-craziness on the front lawn of the school. Our youngest, not me. Although I almost went there as well. Totally our fault. And we know for next time…
We order in every Friday night.
We eat healthily most of the time, but on Friday nights we have family movie night and order pizza. And not the whole wheat or spelt crust option either. It’s always the same order: pepperoni, mushroom, and pineapple. Dee-licious. Most weeks I make up a platter of raw veggies and hummus to serve on the side, but not always. There’s nothing I love more at the end of a busy week than knowing I don’t have to cook, to prep, or to even think about what’s for dinner.
So, the next time you see a happy picture of my family, you’ll know it wasn’t taken on family bingo night, or after a car ride. It may have been taken on a Saturday morning — after I’ve stayed in bed until 8am (but before the kids have started fighting) — or on a Friday evening once the pizza’s been delivered. And my son might be in his pajamas.
By the way, that day I sent my son to school in his pajamas? I fully expected him to be wearing his day clothes when I picked him up. But no. He marched right out of his class with his pajamas still on, smiling the happiest smile ever. God love him.
What’s been going on in your house lately?