I love the school holidays, but I really struggle with the squabbling and bickering.
Before I continue, with this post, please don’t get me wrong, I adore my children, and I do love having them at home, but…
Oh, the squabbling. The bickering, the tale telling. The sulking, the arguments, the not sharing, the oversharing…
It’s that time again. I’ve breathed a sigh of relief, because there’s no school for two whole weeks. No lunchboxes, sports kit or uniforms to organise. No having to remember what after or mid school extra curricular activity each child has and that they have the correct kit. No mad rush out the door in the morning. Mornings are calm, sort of. It’s nice to be on holiday. The excitement of Christmas Day looming, and goodness knows we are all tired and could use a break.
But, and it’s a big but, we have a problem.
My children some of the time, get on ok, and will play together nicely, and we all enjoy being with each other, but when they decide that they don’t want to, the squabbling that ensues is enough to send me over the edge.
“She looked at me with her eyes” (um, because there are other parts of her anatomy she can see out of, and how exactly am I supposed to stop her looking at you?)
“She touched me when she was putting her coat on” (Well, if you’d moved out of her way, like I did ask you to, at least 3 times, then you wouldn’t be in each other’s space and not touching each other)
“He pulled my hair because I sat on the sofa, he says it’s his sofa!” (OK, so actually it’s MY sofa, and would you like it if someone pulled your hair?)
“He moved my toothbrush!” (And? You’d like me to do what??)
“She sat next to me!” (Oh the horror!)
“He nudged me when I was on the stairs” (again, with the fighting on the stairs, visions of children needing a trip to A&E in the Christmas week, with broken bones from falling downstairs because behaving like civilised human beings is not in their repertoire, float through my head)
“He smiled at me?” (Really?)
And so on…
And let’s not go there on when it descends into physical squabbling and I have to act like a boxing referee.
I can’t be alone. From the conversations I’ve had at the school gate, I know I’m not. Us parents face the school holidays with a mixture of dread and joy. I love spending time with my children but could do without feeling like I might qualify to work for the United Nations, with the practice in negotiations and intervening that I have to do.
It’s their age, the stages they are at, it’s normal. My own father will remind me, smiling sagely, that my brother and I were pretty awful and drove my mother slightly mad with our squabbling too.
So, I down another coffee, enjoy the times of peace when they are playing nicely, or are happily separate, and brace myself for the next round of bickering. I’ve tried all the tricks, suggestions and tactics, and like when the UN intervenes, sometimes they work, sometimes not.
My mantra now is “this too shall pass”, and I mutter this repeatedly as I seriously consider adding “peacekeeping skills, a work in progress” to my CV.
How to you solve the problem of your children squabbling? Or is this what my mum would have called karma coming back to get revenge?