I knew Motherhood would involve plenty of role-play. Taxi driver, social planner, chef, homework inspector and even cheerleader were all parts I expected but Logistics Supervisor was a role I definitely was not planning on. Item location, relocation and the myriad of questions on the topic has got to be one of the most annoying aspects of parenthood. Where’s my football? Where have you put my schoolbag? Who do my kids think I am, their own personal Google?
I desperately want a robot to come live with us and spend its days and nights obsessively cataloging everything we own. I want it to use its little robotic claw hands to stick a tracking device on each and every item and spend its entire lifespan locating them when they go “missing”. And yes the constant sound of its whirrs and clicks may eventually grate on my nerves but nowhere near as much as those endless questions on where my kids’ belongings have gone. Usually framed in the following four frustrating ways…
Querying an item’s location without even looking for it.
Mum! Mum! MUM!!
Where’s my school shirt?
Is it in your wardrobe?
I don’t know.
Have you looked?
No.(Looks in wardrobe) Oh it’s here.
Blaming parent for misplacement of item.
Mum, where have you put my bag?
I haven’t put it anywhere.
(Whining) But I gave it to you on Tuesday, where did you put it?
Nowhere. You didn’t give it to me.
(Ear-splitting whining) BUT I DID!!! Oh hang on, found it.
(Nervous laughter) I forgot I left it under my bed.
Oh you forgot?
Moving parental items without permission.
Where’s my phone?
Where’s my phone? It was in my bag but seems to have walked itself out of it.
(Nervously) Ha ha, that’s funny.
No it’s not. I need it.
Oh well, I’m sure it’ll turn up.
Oh you are, are you? Hang on, what’s that behind your back?
Oh, it’s your phone. (Drops phone, runs like the wind)
Relocating items intended for the following day.
Where are the clothes that I left on your bed?
The ones that were laid out on your bed for the wedding tomorrow.
I don’t know.
What do you mean you don’t know? There was a full set of clothes on the bottom of your bed. How could they just disappear?
Oh them! I eh threw them in the laundry.
You did whaaaaaaat??!
GRRRR and Double GRRRRRRRRR!
I read somewhere that losing things is developmentally appropriate for kids. That they are so busy dealing with actual physical growth that remembering where they’ve left something is not exactly a priority. And although that makes a kind of sense to me, it doesn’t really solve the problem. So I guess that leaves us with two options.
Option one: the robot or option two: acceptance.
Option one involves waiting for someone to develop and market the logistics robot. Considering we’re only at the stage where robots can just about vacuum the floor without maiming a cat, this could be a very long wait.
Option two doesn’t involve any waiting but does involve a change in perspective. If we simply accept that logistics just ain’t a child’s game, we stop expecting them to keep track of their things. And if we don’t expect them to keep track of their things, we don’t get so annoyed when they don’t. That significantly reduces the opportunity for irritation. And less irritation equals yes, you’ve guessed it, an altogether much calmer parent.
I know which option I’m moving towards
Orla Breeze is a writer, columnist, workshop facilitator, eft practitioner and Mum of 3 so generally quite busy! She is based in Hong Kong and also spent 8 years in the UK working at both the BBC and ITV whilst there. Nowadays her focus is on writing about parenting, running parenting preparation workshops and offering private sessions for parents of all ages and stages. Oh and looking after her kids! She makes regular visits to Australia and Europe and can be contacted here by email.
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