It’s been over a month since Braai Boys been home. There’s been some readjustment, as you can imagine. It’s taken a while for the kids to understand that Daddy going to work this time doesn’t mean Daddy going to the desert, I think they’re missing their daily Daddy sweetie. It’s alright though, Wee Man will be potty training soon so he can eat all the sweets all day, as long as he sits on the damn potty and stops throwing it at me.
We’ve been catching up with friends and family and are frequently asked ‘what’s it like being back together after 2 years of mostly living apart?’, our bog-standard answer is ‘it’s great!’. Then I’m take aside and asked ‘how is it REALLY’. Well, the last month has been like an extended team building exercise.
When any employer told me we were going on a team building day I would get excited at the thought of a day paintballing where I could target any colleague who had p*ssed me off. Sadly paintballing or other such fun was not to be had instead we were normally packed into a sweaty conference room, sat at tables which had a crappy free pen, a large bowls of boiled sweets and a bottle of luke warm water on it. An HR Bod would be at the front delivering uninspiring slides about team building blah blah blah, followed by an activity or role play, urgh, makes me cringe just thinking about it.
The one presentation I do remember must have taken place first thing in the morning when I was buzzing from drinking a lot of coffee and eating most, ok all, of the sweets. The HR Bod talked about Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. I think it’s because it all rhymed that I’ve always remembered it, similar to I before E except after C (which I still sing outloud when I am writing). Basically this HR theory can be applied to our family life over the past month:
Forming: This was all about dependence on a leader, yep that’s me! The kids have enjoyed telling Braai Boy frequently that Mama is the Boss, Mama knows best (they got that from the Disney movie Tangled) and Mama would let us do it. That last phrase, Mama would let us do it, isn’t strictly true. There are times when the kids have been destroying the house making their umpteenth den of the day and frankly I can’t be ars*d to argue with them so I let them get on with it. As the Boss, I am responsible for answering all the questions and making all the decisions, until the family have reached a point of harmony (pah!). To help Braai Boy out I wrote him a Kids list, a list of changes to the kids, their likes and dislikes, routine changes and so on. My expectation was for him to read, digest and act on said list to ensure a smooth re-entry into family life. I know he read it.
Storming: Does what it says on the tin really. After being the sole decision maker for the last 2 years I now have to, I can barely type this, I now have to discuss things and even worse compromise. Argh that awful word, compromise, I don’t think we had anything about compromise in our wedding vows, I must check that. It is no longer what I say goes, no longer me making the decisions on everything all the time. I actually have to ask for someone’s opinion, erm, yes, it’s been difficult for me to relinquish control. You see, it’s not the big things that cause all the bother, it’s the small things. We’ve had a few ‘lively discussions’ about really very important things like where pans should go in the kitchen, self-emptying dishwashers, where the hoover lives and what we should have for dinner.
To be honest food appears to be the most ‘discussed’ topic in our house. You see, I’m used to buying what food I want when I want, deciding what I eat and when I eat it, as long as the kids are fed and happy I have no-one else to worry about. When I try to plan dinner this is pretty much how the conversation goes ‘what do you fancy tonight?’ ‘I don’t know you decide’, ‘I decide every night why don’t you decide’, ‘I can’t think I’m tired’, ‘so am I, how about pizza?’, ‘nah I don’t fancy that’, ‘what about stirfry’, ‘nah too much chopping’, ‘Jackets potatoes?’, ‘nope that’s lunch not dinner’, ‘Ok so what don’t you want’, ‘I don’t know’ and so on.
Norming: Settling in to family life again, we all now know where we stand. At this point I would like to point out that the kids still say that Mama is the Boss but Daddy makes the best egg sandwiches and basically does everything better than Mama, but I am still the Boss so I will take that.
Performing: Getting on with life and that’s where we are now, life has settled down, especially now the kids are back at school, Braai Boy is at work and I can actually get sh*t done.
Despite going through our extended family team building last week we had an incident. This could have been avoided if Braai Boy was psychic, sadly he is not. Let’s talk about Banana-gate. Braai Boy returned from deployment fit, healthy and slim, really very slim. Me? After the school holidays, The Move and the family holiday I was back to snugger jeans. Time to sort myself out. First up was to start eating brekkie and not just filling up on coffee. The healthy option was banana on toast, easy because there are always bananas and bread in the house. So, there was me, all set for Day 2 of healthiness skipping down the stairs to have another yummy fruit filled brekkie when I got to the fruit bowl and the last banana was gone. I stood there like some kind of idiot just staring at the fruit bowl. The last banana had gone, MY last banana had gone.
When he got home that night I questioned his choice of breakfast, he stated ‘You don’t like brown bananas Charlie’ to which I replied ‘That’s not the point, it was my banana, brown or not it was mine’, he frowned at me and said ‘You would have thrown it in the bin and not eaten it’, to which I replied ‘Yes, but it was MY banana to throw away’, ‘But Charlie that’s a waste of food’, I rolled my eyes and feigning defeat sighed ‘It’s OK, don’t worry about it’.
Little did he know I had just used one of the 5 Deadly Terms Used By A Woman. Looks like we may be back to storming for a while. Given his lack of psychic skills I have sent him the list of Deadly Terms, you know, just to remind him that what I say and what I mean are rarely the same thing. Anyway enough wittering on for today, I’m off to decide what we’re having for dinner, no wait, he’s not here, jacket potato it is then.