parenting

Kids and jobs

Hattie and Joe have been hard work over the past few days. We think it’s mostly to do with the disruption of the past couple of weeks: finishing at kindy; staying at different places; having meals out (many of which I’ve written about on my new blog, Kiwi Café Kids); and generally not following any kind of routine. However, going by past experience of these kids of ours, I feel confident that I’m a contributory factor.

I’m really busy at the moment. I had my only exam in mid-November (three of my four papers last semester didn’t have exams, but they had huge assignments instead because life is awesome). The exam was on a Saturday, I took the Sunday off, and then I began work as a research assistant for one of the uni lecturers, taking part in a big piece of research to which she’s contributing. Until 21 December, when we left town for Christmas, I spent most of Monday to Friday on campus, undertaking huge literature review about how children access play opportunities in suburban neighbourhoods (and we all know how much I like to talk about playgrounds…)

For the last few days before the start of our Christmas break I was locked away in my bedroom, writing up my findings. I discovered that the scope of the work was enormous, and I couldn’t finish it before Christmas, so I’ve been writing more or less non-stop since we returned home last Wednesday.

Anyway, I know that the busier I get, the more Hattie and Joe play up. It is a horrible vicious circle, given that the busier (and more tired) I get, the less capable I am of retaining my perspective in the face of children’s bullshit. Tristan has heroically shouldered 95% of the parenting burden over the past few days, but he’s also worn out and fed up. And – just to compound things – our current au pair, Laura, finishes this Wednesday.

When I put the kids to bed this evening I explained that I knew they were really sick of me being so busy, and that I’d do my very best to finish this writing tomorrow, so we can spend a lot of time together. I explained that the work was important for a lot of reasons, including the fact that it will (hopefully) help me to find a good job, which will eventually enable us to save lots of money and go on lovely holidays. This resonated with them, but the best news seemed to be that I would soon spend virtually all day, every day with them. Their faces lit up – it was a glorious reminder of how much kids really just want to hang out with their parents, when everything is said and done. I’m so lucky to have these lovely children!

Collins026

But I told them that this is my job at the moment, doing this work, and that I had other jobs to do after I’d kissed them good night: getting the washing off the line; going to the supermarket… all those things that have to be done on a regular basis. And then we talked about what their jobs are:

  1. Be good kids
  2. Be kind to everybody
  3. Try hard at everything they do
  4. Listen to Mummy and Daddy, and teachers
  5. Have lots of fun!

They agreed that they’ve probably got the better end of this whole ‘jobs’ deal at the moment…

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