I don't consider myself to be an unreasonable person. Not at all, in fact. Most of the time, I'm a deeply logical, rational kind of person (this was even one of the many things D reproached me of: lack of "emotion" (fuck that!) and too much "logic").
And yet. And yet.
I ask the girls to do certain things around the house. They're 9 and a half and just over 7 now, so perfectly capable of doing these "certain things". And Lord knows it's not exactly slave labour I'm asking of them.
And yet. And yet.
I feel like I have to spend my entire life shouting at them. Nothing gets done without me asking (nicely) a few times, then barking orders and/or getting stroppy a couple of times.
Is it really so unreasonable of me to ask them to put the milk back in the fridge when they've finished using it? I mean, it's around 30°C at the moment and milk needs to be cold, right?
Is it really so unreasonable of me to ask them to pick up used tissues and throw them away, rather than leave them on the floor of the sitting room?
Is it really so unreasonable of me to ask them to lay the table, or clear the table, or put their clothes away?
I don't know, but I do know that they don't do any of these things, or at least, not without a lot of effort on my part.
I had a massive sulk-fest (which was very childish, I admit, but it seems to be the only kind of reaction they understand) at lunchtime today. They did NOTHING to help, hadn't put their breakfast stuff away (so - bottle of milk, carton of orange juice, both on the table), stared idiotically at the TV, squabbled, left clothes strewn all over the sofa and floor, left dirty used tissues on the floor, etc. And I just lost it. I made lunch and then set the table just for the two of them, saying I wouldn't be eating with them because slaves and servants don't eat with their masters. I ate my lunch alone, on a stool on the balcony with the cat at my feet (it wasn't wholly unpleasant, I admit). I felt like shit, but you know what? They cleared the table, they didn't squabble.
The trouble is, I don't want to miserable them (yes, to miserable is a verb) into submission. I just want them to take some responsibility, to cut me some slack, to give me a break from DOING EVERYTHING. I'm tired, people, I mean, seriously tired. Because I do EVERYTHING. I have a full-time freelance translation job, part-time teaching job, plus I do all the shopping, cooking, dish washing, laundry, clothes folding, housework (such as it is), organising and various miscellaneous stuff (presents for parties they're invited to, school stuff, homework supervision...), admin stuff (personal and professional), leisure stuff (booking holidays, organising activities)... I do it all, I tell you, and I have HAD ENOUGH.
I have no life of my own - when the girls aren't here, I either sleep, work or hang out on the internet. I never see friends (no money to go out anywhere, not much motivation either), have no love interest (ha!), few leisure activities.
All I'm asking is that they participate a little in our life together. Is that so very unreasonable?