I’m not going to mince my words: my son has really been getting on my nerves over the last few days. I, like so many other adults out there right now, have been attempting to balance working from home with homeschooling during what’s arguably the biggest world crisis of my lifetime. This is not normal. It’s not business as usual. It’s a total, utter head-fuck.
What many of us need most right now is empathy and understanding, but if you have kids around you may as well forget both. Sure, we can develop their skills in both, but asking a child to understand the global context of something we can’t even compute or the ‘local’ context of the impact on others of eating everything in the fridge is a battle you’re probably going to have to keep fighting every day.
Well, frankly, I’m bored, a bit angry and really, really frustrated. I don’t like any of these feelings very much, though, so when they arise, I tend to try to find a solution. I’ve tried reason and calm conversation. I tried love-bombing and time out. I even bought my son some Coco Pops against my better judgement.
This morning, though, I’d had enough. After hearing my son demand lunch from the comfort of the sofa two floors away from where I was working at 11:14am, I broke. I walked downstairs and stared at him playing some mind-numbing game on his PS4 and asked if I could spend the money on his GoHenry card on some crap that I didn’t need on Amazon. I had a physical tantrum and yelled across the room how bored I was. Then I told him to make me something to eat.
‘I’m confused,’ he said, ‘What are you asking me?’
‘I’m asking you to take my boredom away, spend money on things I don’t need and feed me more regularly I need to be fed,’ I replied, sternly.
‘I think you might need to see a doctor,’ he said, looking quite concerned.
‘Okay, can you book me an appointment?’ I asked.
Perhaps the doctor will tell me I’m a child with little regard for adults, I thought as I left the room. I wonder what conclusion my son will reach.