So, I was just thinking: sometimes it pays to be a bit crap. Let me elaborate. Since coming home from my hols I was hit with a couple of deadlines and was thus a bit harried. Being harried meant I was tired and slower to rouse myself of a morning, and I tell you, this system is working a treat. Today, when I came down the stairs bleary-eyed at five to eight, the kitchen was a scene of great industry. Both children were hard at it, grating cheese, buttering crackers and filling water bottles. I watched as they carefully rinsed and dried their lunchboxes. Later, I saw that they had carefully decanted the Jacobs Cream Crackers into a Chinese takeaway box, to keep them fresh and crunchy.
There is a life lesson here: to be a lazier parent. Now, I’m not suggesting that we all go full on ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’, abandoning our youngsters in a shack on a marsh where they have to catch a fish if they want any dinner. I’ll draw the line there, but a bit of self-sufficiency wouldn’t go amiss.
Learning by consequence, that’s what the child experts are calling it. Case of point is when one of mine refused to wrestle herself into a wetsuit at the beach and was pure foundered, while all the others splashed about on their boogie boards. Next time she put it on her. The pair of them used to hate wearing wellies, so when we’d head to park on a wet winter’s day, their feet would be sodden. But wet toes meant that there was no stopping for hot choc in Kaffe-O as a treat on the way home. That didn’t please them.
Since I’m tired listening to myself now, I’ve decided to stop nagging, and let them be the victims of their own foibles.
You know yourself how exhausting it is, especially now. Before we leave the house it’s all: ‘Do we have masks? Have we got poop bags for the dog? Where’s the car keys, and flip, did I put my phone in my bag?’ Cue much sighing and friction as the minutes pass by. It’s A LOT.
When we were down south in August, we also needed our Vaccination Cards if we wanted to dine inside. Sometimes it took us three goes to get out of the hotel room. In the end, I decided that if I wanted any class of a holiday, the children had to step up and be responsible for their stuff.
Here’s another example of how being crap can be effective. I was listening to a podcast which featured a fellow who despite being smart, was chronically disorganised. We’ll call him Mike. Mike attended a networking event where he met an entrepreneur he’d always admired. They had a chat and the guy handed him his card and told him to give a ring. Mike was all delighted and pocketed the card and took it home, determined to ring the chap the next day. Except, you’ve guessed it, he promptly lost it. He pulled his apartment upside down and inside out hunting for said card*, but to no avail. He felt like a prize clampet.
Anyway, a month or so later and doesn’t he find the card, I can’t remember where, but it was somewhere daft, like in his medicine cabinet or something. So, he rings the businessman who doesn’t sound in the least bit irked that it took him so long to get back in touch. In fact, he actually sounds impressed, because it came across as though Mike wasn’t through-other at all, just busy; in demand, like he didn’t really need the contact.
I thought that story was quite interesting, but maybe it’s because I’d just love it if my mediocrity could be merrily glossed over, so instead of looking useless, I’d appear poised, confident, a together sort of a person.
*Of course, this would NEVER happen to us because we’d all be well ahead of the game and would have taken a photo of the card on our phones and saved it. Immediately. (As if. I’d probably lose the fecking phone as well.)
That’s what I’m leaving you with today. Permission, should you need it, to be a bit rubbish. Turns out, it really pays.