Friday, April 12, 2013

The magical powers of whining

When it comes to my kids, I deplore whining. It makes me wince and want to whine back at them.

But, when it comes to myself, I have found certain magical powers in whining. This blog is often filled with my whining. Sure there's nicer words for it, like sharing my struggles or discussing my concerns but in reality I am whining to the world about poor little me.

But I'm okay with it (and I guess you are too since you still read this blog) because I have found there to be a real power in getting my grievances off my chest. That is empowering and when I combine it with the guilt I feel now that people know I struggle in a certain area it means that I actually take action to hopefully stop future whining.

Take my sons giggling problem for instance.

While we have not solved the giggling dilemma, by any stretch of the imagination, we have made great strides in their attitudes. We have made great strides because I am being more proactive, they are having a good week and I am letting them suffer consequences.

They have to wear a uniform to school every day (a school t shirt in blue or green) which means I have to buy these shirts for them and launder them regularly. I do one load of laundry everyday so theoretically they should never run out of school shirts (they each have at least 5 that are somewhat acceptable plus one or two with holes or stains that I'm too cheap to stop using) 

Except they do run out of shirts, almost every week. They take them off and then some black hole eats them (probably the same one that eats the left sock for every pair of socks we own) or they discover that they "accidentally" cut a huge hole in one, or they have some unidentifiable stain on it and don't want to tell me about the stain so they hide it from me. They have a drawer just for school shirts so it SHOULD be obvious when they are running low and they SHOULD be able to round up the dirty shirts so that they make it into the daily load of laundry. Instead, they choose to wait til we're ready to get into the car in the morning to point out that they can't find any school shirts and then they cry for the full dramatic effect that they know will send me over the edge.

In the past, I have scrambled to lend them one of their brothers shirts, let them wear the weird stained/torn shirt or grab one that looks acceptable from the dirty clothes and febreze the crap out of it so that I can pretend its okay to wear again (with boys it's rarely okay to wear anything "again")

But not this week. This week I stood my ground and when 2 of my sons announced they needed school shirts as we were heading out the door I gave them the whole long responsibility guilt trip and then announced the would have to go visit the office ladies. Visiting the office ladies is pure shame in my sons eyes (I don't know why, they are very nice) so they were horrified. They whined and begged me to come up with another solution all the way to school. I walked them to the main office to get a loaner shirt and my office lady friend innocently asked Curly what happened to his school shirts. She made my day!!!! Curly lowered his head and mumbled that he forgot to put his shirts in the laundry so they were all dirty. Moe just shrugged his shoulders and grabbed the loaner shirt. Larry didn't need to borrow one but he stood and watched the encounter and I could see him processing this uncomfortable situation.

Fast forward to last night and Larry realized he was out of school shirts ALL ON HIS OWN and Curly realized that the shorts he wanted were in the dirty clothes. They discussed the problem amongst themselves and came upstairs to find me and offer a solution. Their suggestion? They wanted to know if they could do a load of laundry so that they would have what they needed for the next day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it?!?!?? I have taught them to to do laundry but they have never offered and they moan when I make them help with any part of it. Here's the best part, they actually went and did the load of laundry :)

Of course this meant there was giggling and they did get distracted because they decided that doing laundry was a three man job that required tossing clothing like an assembly line and needed a ladder and it was all happening 20 minutes after their bedtime so they stayed up way too late, but still, they did a load of laundry to prepare themselves for the next day. THIS IS HUGE!!!

If I hadn't whined about their behavior on this blog I don't think I would have made them get the loaner shirts at school. If they didn't have to deal with the shame of the loaner shirt I don't think they would have thought ahead. I they hadn't thought ahead I wouldn't have gotten to see they look of genuine pride and accomplishment on their faces this morning as they pulled their carefully chosen outfits out of the dryer and started their day calm, cool and collected as 2 8 year olds and a 6 year old could possibly be.

I say all this to let you know that I appreciate that this blog gives me a place to whine and the all of you that read and comment help give my whining a magical empowerment where change can actually begin to happen.

Now it's your turn. Let your whine out. What's really been bugging you this week? Maybe some of my blogs magical powers will rub off on you and your whining problem too!

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