Treats should be doled out judiciously. They’re probably a little frequent in our house. Still, they hold a lot of power.
- Toddler refusing to put on socks and shoes and you really need to get out the door? Promise a treat when you get where you’re going.
- Schoolchild doesn’t want to go to their expensive swimming lesson? Treat after the class.
- Everyone eats up a healthy dinner with minimal moaning, homework is done and place isn’t ultra-messy? Treats for all!
I won’t claim it’s the best parenting method in the world, but it gets us through. Recently I realised it’s one way traffic; I hand out all the treats. It’s time that changed.
January has been quite tough in our house. I finished up a contract before Christmas and started a new freelance job in the New Year. (Sidebar: Look! I even got interviewed for the Irish Examiner about my three day week)
My work hours have been rather erratic; in one role I can start as early as 7am, and finish as late as midnight. I’m delighted to not be tied to one place day in day out right now while I work out my path. In some ways I have all the control, in other ways I have none of it. I’m at the whim of employers to decide if they need me or not but I’m learning so much. Frankly, I’m way out of my comfort zone and it’s a certified good thing though you might not realise it if you saw the bags under my eyes. One highlight of January was sitting on the stairs late at night trying to explain the concept of freelance and shift work to a six year old who just could not understand why I couldn’t collect him from school every day despite having spent a lot of his little life at childcare.
The glory of a full time job is setting foot in that office each day knowing what you’re expected to do, knowing that you can do it, seeing familiar faces and catching up with your colleagues over coffee. At home everyone knows the drill too; where they’re supposed to be on any given day. We haven’t got that certainty right now so I’m making a February planner for the fridge so that the six year old can see what’s coming up in the next few weeks. Right now I’m definitely working office hours for a few weeks straight, but I’m trying to not send him to after school care five days a week. He’s got three days off for mid-term in the middle of it. He’s been invited for playdates and we’re trying to work it out so he can get to those. Luckily the three year old, though usually not very flexible at all (in fact he has an iron will) is happy to head off to his playschool and hang with his buddies whenever we send him.
Amongst all the juggling I realise how always “on” I am when I am at work: Always eager to make a good impression in various offices; always ready to learn and prove myself; work out where the coffee is and make sure I’m not stealing someones milk; getting to know some people well enough to discuss our Netflix habits and just generally trying to be comfortable in whichever hat I’m wearing that day. Metaphorical and physical hat, in case you’re wondering, I mean there’s implied dress codes to be followed too.
So dammit I need treats too, grown up ones. To this end, I dropped the little fella to creche this morning and I got a blow-dry for no reason. (I know loads of people get this done all the time but that time is long past for me what with the childcare costs) I’m going to work soon, to sit in a room on my own for ten hours. My hair is smooth and swishy and actually lovely and no one will see it but me. But for forty minutes this morning someone looked after me and it transformed me from manic packed-lunch maker to a calm, in control and ready for the day person.
Next month, nails.
I’ve already used this gif on the blog, but to be honest, it bears repeating a lot.