Hello lovely people! After a brief hiatus of the summer holidays we are back again with another issue of our agony aunt column Dr Doolally: Domestic Dilemmas Discussed!
In this issue we turn our attention to the never ending struggle of mum guilt, mattress disasters, and tooth brushing battles.
Domestic dilemma #1: Guilty guidance
I’m trying to juggle being a working mum. I feel guilty leaving the kids but I also feel guilty of not feeling on top of my game at work. As a result, I’ve lost confidence. Please help.
Mummy guilt. It’s the worse type of guilt there is.
Now I’m answering this during a time when my full-time job is that of being a domestic goddess. I haven’t experienced the feeling of leaving the kids to go to work. We need to work, to earn money, to give our families a life that’s more fulfilled and memorable. Why feel guilty about that? There are lots of things I could feel guilty about but I won’t let myself and here’s why.
We all have FAR too much to do. All the time. We put so much pressure on ourselves… and for what? For who?
When I’m doing anything, I’m already thinking about the eleven-ty billion other things I haven’t yet done. Nor probably will do, as I’m an excellent procrastinator.
I feel perhaps we don’t focus and enjoy tasks (whatever they may be) while we are doing them. We should revel more when we get things done and congratulate ourselves on our awesome-ness.
I now try to break down every single thing I do in a day. I focus on that particular task 100%. In the moment. It’s rather liberating.
Admittedly, there’s a lot of puffy breathing involved. But I could pass that off as meditative?!
When you’re at work, focus on each task and give it YOUR version of YOUR 100%. Do your best. Because let’s face it – that’s all we can do.
When you’re at home with the kids, give them your undivided attention.
Put your phone away. Concentrate on listening to them. Consume them. All too soon, they will be wiping our aged bums and singing us to sleep.
Domestic dilemma #2: Mattress mayhem
So what would you do if you went into your girls room after putting them to bed and found that they had whipped the sheets off the bed and ripped the stuffing out of the mattress? I’m a single mum to 3 kids under the age of 6. We moved house last year. The kids are settled and doing really well in their new school. I’ve just started a new relationship after a fairly recent break-up. They get on really with him. We are all feeling positive and excited about our future. So why did they do this?
Holy crap! Or should I say Holy mattress!
Being a single mum to 3 kids under the age of 6, I’m surprised you haven’t done this yourself! What a superhero you are.
I imagine it’s pretty hard going at times. I hope you’ve built up a support network of fabulous people for when the going gets tough.
We moved 2 years ago. Harry was 4 months old at the time. It was discombobulating for longer than I could have prepared myself for. I’m astounded at how incredibly resilient children are. It’s difficult to know how they process changes of any kind. We can verbalise worries but I guess it’s not so easy for the little ones to make sense of it all.
When I was a little girl I had foam features in my 80s wallpaper. Once I started picking at it, I couldn’t stop. It became rather addictive so I do understand that perhaps the intention wasn’t to cause criminal damage, it just got a little out of hand.
To me, this screams they are acting out for a bit of mummy attention.
It is so lovely to hear that new love is in the air. Perhaps for the kiddies, it’s all a little too unsettling. You mention you’ve recently broken up with someone. I wonder if the kids think you’ll leave them. They just need reassurance that you’re there for them forever.
My suggestion would be for you get a weekly team clean going. Just you and the kids. Show them that having pride in your home is really important. It might be a suitable ‘punishment’ for them but actually you’ll be spending quality time together as a team and on many levels I bet they will really enjoy it. Put some music on and dance around while you’re doing it. You don’t need to buy presents or give them life changing days out; you just need a pair of Marigolds and a little Uptown Funk.
Domestic dilemma #3: Toothbrushing traumas
How can I get my two year old to clean her teeth?!! I have tried everything and have now bought about six different toothbrushes (even got an electric Peppa Pig one from the bloody Netherlands!!) but it’s still a fight every time!!
Now I do not condone violence. I want to make it absolutely clear that no child was harmed in the process that is… the twice a day tussle of the teeth clean.
Let’s be very clear. Two year olds smell your fear. They know when you’re on edge and they love it. They will push your buttons until you start to steam. I know, because I go through this twice a day with my little goblin.
It goes like this.
‘Harry, time to clean your teeth…’ My voice quivers, damn it, he knows. Mummy is going to lose her shizzle. He’s got me. I ask him assertively.
‘Harry, are we going to do this the easy way, or the hard way?’
Now I know my kid is a sadomasochist. He chooses the hard way every time.
I’ve gotten my inspiration from the icon that was Big Daddy. I wrestle the little poppet to the ground. Disclaimer… it’s a very comfortable non-friction inducing rug. I straddle him so that his shoulders are trapped in a very comfortable and non-threatening manor. Then I make him laugh. He opens his mouth. I go in and I scrub as quick and fast as I can. Then I release the little beast.
It wasn’t always like this. The dentist had once offered wise words about using 2 toothbrushes. He would play with the decoy brush while you went in with the other one. Unfortunately this very sensible method didn’t work for my boys.
I can offer you comforting words. It won’t be like this forever. My 5 year old cleans his teeth perfectly for 2 minutes twice a day. He did his time at teeth cleaning borstal and he just wouldn’t dare…..null
So that’s all for this month’s dilemmas! Who else has experienced any of the above, and what advice would you offer if you were in their shoes?
If you have a domestic dilemma that you’d like discussed, we would love to hear from you. Email Dr Doolally at firstname.lastname@example.org and your dilemma will be treated absolutely anonymously!