Family Life

Daddy, why is there paint all over the decking — and you?

How can I be so messy, sweary and impatient, and expect my kids not to be?

My wife told me a good one the other day.

We were talking — again — about the way our kids are so quick to use the “Bad F word”, as the wonderfully batty housekeeper Mrs Doyle put it in the brilliant Fr Ted sit-com.

Our kids use that particular F word, and a few other not so good ones, way too much, especially when they’re “stressed”. Straight to our appalled parent faces. We hate it.

And we were saying — again — how, when we were growing up, we would never have dreamt of swearing like that at our parents, or insulting them so grievously, no matter how angry we were, and no matter how wrong they were.

Just didn’t do it.

Anyway, a woman in work had told A how, the other day, she was giving out to her son — he is around nine — for calling his Dad a dickhead.

“That’s awful,’ she had said to her boy, in suitably appalled parent mode, ‘you can’t say that to your Dad … could you imagine your Dad or me calling your Granddad a dickhead?’

The boy stared at her, his sincerely furrowed brow indicating he was pondering the message his Mom was trying to get across to him.

Eventually he exclaimed:

‘But, but Mom … Granddad isn’t a dickhead!’

Of course we laughed, A and I, and heartily.

But I couldn’t help thinking about the gap between how we expect our kids to behave towards us and others and how they actually do.

And more to the point the gap between what I say to my kids and how I actually behave.

Actually, you can maybe scrub for now the bit about how our kids behave towards others.

Our guys seem to be fine out there in school and all that. They have learned to play the game out in the world of peers and teachers and other people’s parents.

It’s just Mom and Dad who seem to get it in the neck. Boohoo for us.

“Fuck off,” said our 12-year-old boy eventually the other day, when we told him again we didn’t believe he had had a shower, like he insisted he had. And the hair still greasy on him!

“It’s not greasy, it’s soft,” he had said, with that over the top smile that usually gives the game away. But he was in too deep now, and wouldn’t concede.

And eventually he had exploded, slamming the door of the sitting room behind him.

Of course I followed him in and read the usual riot act.

The thing is I swear, A swears — much less than me, of course — so what do we expect, really?

‘They do as we do, not as we say” we often hear, and I am afraid I see that borne out all too regularly when it comes to my kids and myself.

They do and say things I don’t approve of, and I give out in the usual way, letting them know how wrong it is, and how much I disapprove.

But sometimes there a strange kind of déjà vu feeling around the whole business — and it’s not just that they are repeat offenders.

Of course they are, but it’s more than that, something weirdly familiar about their particular bad behaviour or response sometimes. The tone of it. The whole style of it.

And then it hits me: that’s exactly how I react sometimes, that’s pretty much the kind of thing I would say or do.

Or, more easily spotted: that’s exactly how A responds sometimes.

Yes, the penny does drop the odd time: they are actually only imitating how they have seen me react, how A reacts.

Oh ****!

I mean really what do we expect, as Mom and Dad, that they would ignore the regular day to day example from their parents and somehow turn out like the Waltons, drippy John Boy or chirpy Erin, or some other perfect PG family that only exists on Netflix?

We do everything in life the way we do everything else. I know that.

Like the other day in work a colleague, with a big grin on his face, asked me how the painting was going at home.

“How did you know?” I laughed, immediately checking high up on the back of my arms, visible under my black T-shirt.

I twisted the skin on the back of my right bicep towards me and sure enough, I had missed a few dark blue blotches when I had showered after finishing off the last garden chair before heading off into work.

How the hell do you get paint on the back of your biceps anyway?

You see, when I am painting like this I set off all resolute and measured … put the old sheet carefully under the item, carefully stir the paint, carefully scrape the stirring stick and put it carefully down on the sheet, and carefully start painting.

And then, pretty soon, I start the splishing and the sploshing.

Yes, I am a splisher and a splosher when it comes to painting. I want to get it done, well, of course, but I want to get it done quickly. Careful is just too careful, too slow, no fun.

So I start to splodge bigger amounts onto the brush and on to the chair leg, less and less precisely, and little, early on, splishes and sploshes appear on the decking outside the edges of the work sheet, as I daub away.

And I am in and out of the kitchen regularly rinsing out the old cloth, and back to clean up the now proliferating — and bigger and bigger — sploshes before they dry.

Of course by the time I am finished there are loads of drips and drops to clean up, and some of them are hard, so I scratch with my thumbnails and get the old wire brush in the shed.

Thing is, if I could be more patient none of this would be necessary. But I can’t seem to help myself. After all these years

I’m just not as patient as I should be. I can be with certain things, but mostly I’m just not.

And lo and behold, our son and daughter aren’t always as patient as they might be either. Especially daughter K.

O is a great man for getting down to work almost immediately on his schoolwork after school. Copped on pretty early that this allowed him to have time to do the things he likes afterwards. He’s a bit minimalistic about it all, but he gets the job done. And well; just no extra energy expended.

But will K ever see the light? Nope. There’s usually a barney eventually trying to get her off her phone — she’s not allowed to even have it, but she’s tough — and she generally does anything and everything to put off starting her homework. It can get really fruity between us sometimes.

Herself and her Controlling Daddy.

I wonder who was just like that when he was her age … could never get down to it, would rather do anything than start bloody homework.

Who, me?

Absolutely. Used to drive my Mom spare.

Another good one to finish.

I was at the automatic check-out at our local Tescos. My items included a packet of Paracetamol and a packet of Neurofen. We have our painkiller preferences chez nous.

Anyway I am scanning the items through and the process stalls … the screen informs me I need assistance.

The woman comes and tells me that under the law, I cannot put through more than one packet of painkillers.

We won’t go through the reasons … you just can’t.

She tells me how it is … and then tells me all I have to do is check in all the other items, pay, and then immediately put through the second painkillers, and pay for them, separately.

Sorted. Good cop and bad cop all in one blue Tesco uniform.

Is this what I am doing with my kids sometimes, telling them what to do, but — maybe unwittingly this time — demonstrating, in practice, what not to do? Good parent and bad parent in one splishy, sploshy, sweary Daddy?

Kids, eh? Parents, eh?

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33 comments on “Daddy, why is there paint all over the decking — and you?

  1. lovely read. #LGRTStumble

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha! This post really hits home! I tend to swear a lot too!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very good read! I don’t swear a lot but there have been instances when I did and my little one tells me I shouldn’t say bad words. lol #lgrtstumble

    Liked by 1 person

  4. emptynestmummy

    A great post, as ever. My kids are, I suspect, a little younger than yours, so are in bed before Mary Poppins Mummy turns into Potty-Mouth Mummy. But I know I’ll be busted one day. For now, they are just horrified if I say Oh my God! instead of Oh my Gosh! #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate saying this — so I will! — it’s all ahead of you, lol


  6. This took me back to my son’s first week of school, he came out telling me, mummy I learnt a naughty word today, I don’t want to hear it, I replied, please ,it’s dick, I told him that could be someone’s name, not when you put heasd after it he announced proudly, I said I never wanted to hear him say that again #triampha ttales@_,karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Made me laugh out loud 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ‘Careful is just too careful, too slow, no fun.’ My new explanation for the bad paint job I did on some old kitchen chairs. Am now exploring shabby chiq – roll on the good times.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I wonder if there really are ANY perfect parents anywhere in the world? I’m sometimes amazed that the human race has survived this long – why on earth we have’t totally ruined our children and they us is beyond me! Well done for getting that painting done at least, and even cleaning up all the drops – I’m doubly impressed by that. There seem to be more jobs than weekends at the moment, maybe I should be roping my kids in for more of them. That’s if I can bear the wrestling match over the phones. 😦 #globalblogger

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s see the next painting job is the decking!!! The one consolation in all this parenting business, and go to comfort idea is Winnicott’s notion of the “good enough mother/father”, the idea being if you are perfect, you stifle the kid’s development. Like it?


  10. This is another lovely read… and conjurs up some fine language and vocabulary skills of my littles too! Oy! Splishy-sploshy parenting — thats a good one, Enda! #dreamteam xo

    Liked by 1 person

  11. RaisieBay

    i can so relate to this when my older kids where the same age. Their Dad swore all the time but I didn’t and I hated to hear them swear. I tried all ways to stop them but basically I gave up and they grew up with potty mouths. I still tell them off now even though they are older than I was when they were young! My youngest have yet to swear and I’d be happy to keep it that way, but at the end of the day you have to practice what you preach, even if you keep them from swearing as children (like us with our parents) when they grow they will do as they please and you can’t stop them. At the end of the day, swearing isn’t that bad is it? I’d push with the showering though, there’s nothing worse than a greasy smelly teenager hahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh he showers!!☺ he was just trying it on. You’re right of course theres worse things than swearing. Something about kids doing it though grates. Even if I haven’t a leg to stand on really!!😱


  12. I enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing X #thesatsesh

    Liked by 1 person

  13. diynige

    I don’t swear much but when I do the kids instantly tell me off great read as always Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I can understand that they let a swear word slip a time or two, but unless you’ve called him a dick head then I would definitely say that is where the hard line gets drawn! #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve just had a revelation reading this. Even though I know they do as they see and not as their told. I’m really going to concentrate on how I talk around the little man from now on. I hope the damage isn’t already done! Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales.


  16. I’m coming back through with the #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hello from #thatfridaylinky xo

    Liked by 1 person

  18. #thesatsesh Okay, so my son is 5yo and if you work out the recipe for solving the ‘listen to me but don’t become me’ issue, I’d love to know. Plus, I love the idea of you splashing and spodging 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Alice Letters to my Daughter

    My cherubic 3 year old muttered a ‘fucks sake’ the other day much to my horror! We’re pretty bad with our swearing and I don’t limit it much around her. I think she’s aware that she’s not supposed to say certain things though. I quite enjoy a good swear though so I don’t have any intention of stopping! It’s the way I deal with things that I’d like to improve to set a good example for her/ #BlogCrush

    Liked by 1 person

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