Let me begin by saying that I have good kids, I know this, and everyone tells me this. Having said all of this they are spoiled, not spoiled rotten, not yet anyway, but they are indeed spoiled. I only really have myself to blame for it too, and that's what chaffs the most! I did not want them to ever do without. I never wanted them to feel longing for what others had, and they did not. The unfortunate thing about this is that they have never had the joy of longing, desperate longing. There is something to be said for wanting something so much that it hurts, and then working so hard that you finally get that desired item. Not only does it feel amazing to get what you want, but you have waited for it so long, and worked so hard that it feels extra good. I have through love, deprived them of this. I have also become a rough around the edges June Cleaver. I stay at home. When they leave in the morning, mine is the last face they see, as I drop them at school. I pick them up at school. I cook, do laundry, clean (well the very bare bones minimum of clean). I am the one that the teachers automatically know will be going on class trips. I am the one who is at the school to lend an extra hand. I sew them Halloween costumes, do crafts with them at Christmas, and all the other holidays. I ensure that their birthdays are beautiful memories. I make fancy cakes for every occasion for their classes, that's 4 fancy cakes. I am not trying to toot my own horn, but rather to point out that my kids are very lucky to have me as their mother.
My kid's have never known anything but to have their needs met before they even know that they have needs that need met. Again I have done it to myself. I have made it my mission to make their childhood as perfect as I can. It's honestly almost like a compulsion for me. I work really hard to give my family the best of me that I have to offer. I'm not perfect, but I try really hard. They (I include my husband in the "they") have never known anything different, and therefore have no appreciation for what I do. I am very much taken for granted, and again, it's my own fault. They do respect the sacrifices that I make for them. There come a point in martyrdom that the martyr rebels. The martyr wonders if his or this case, her cause is worth the anguish. I reached that point yesterday morning.
Yesterday morning two out of the four kids were behaving like spoiled rotten little brats! They were acting like I was a servant, and did not deserve any respect. I lost it! There is a good chance that where ever you are currently in the world, you heard me. I was fuming all morning. I fumed all day. Then it struck me, maybe I should go on strike. Isn't that what they do in the working world when their work requests have been unmet? In my head I planned out my placards. Oh, I would catch their attention, I would demand their attention! At some point in my plan, I realized that it might be just a little over the top.
Last night after dinner, I gathered everyone around the table. I asked the kids if they knew what a "strike" was. Some of them knew the meaning I was looking for, some thought about bowling. I explained to them that people strike because they want more money i.e. compensation for the job that they do, better work hours, or sometimes they just want some respect. I told them that if things around here did not change, I would go on strike. That meant they would have to make their own meals, do their own laundry, walk themselves to school, tuck themselves into bed. I would stop working until my demands were met, and would then have them all sign a contract. That got their attention (although my smart aleck husband quietly whispered that maybe he would put back to work legislation into place). I then told them how it made me feel that I worked hard to make their lives nice, but they were being rude, and making my life sad. Again, I feel like I got their attention, but only time would tell. They were horrified about having to "find" their own dinner. Rowan looked ill "But Mom, you wouldn't make Elly find her own meal, she's just a baby." To that I responded "I guess that one of you could fin her some food." I told them that they had for the moment narrowly escaped a strike, but I would strike if my demands were not met... some respect, and politeness. I then asked them if there was anything that they would like to see changed. Riley felt like she would like to see me have more patience with them. At that point my silent husband piped in "Perhaps Mom would have more patience, if you guys did not always ask so much of her, all at the same time" She had a look of mild recognition on her face. It told her that I would like to have more patience, and if they tried, I would try.
This morning I had a group of little angels. I did not have to raise my voice to anyone. Rowan kept asking me if I was having a nice morning, with a frightened look on his face. There were lots of thank you Mommy's. For the time being I feel like they heard me. I imagine that we will have to have a few refreshers, but for now, I feel like I was heard, which is a good thing.