Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Mother, the Nag

They say the first step in overcoming a bad habit is admitting you have a problem. So here goes.

My name is Lori Conger, and I am a nag.

There. I said it. I completely admit it, and just like most bad habits people are addicted to, I hate it! I have a dream of one day becoming completely nag-free, but as for now, without even realizing it, I nag constantly!

And, like all addictions people have, my biggest fear is passing this annoying trait on to my children. I mean, do they stand a chance of being a normal parent some day, one that is patient and wise? I doubt it, and at this point, all I can think is, My poor grandchildren!!

It's not that I don't try to encourage my children without nagging; it's just that I seem to like immediate results, and experience has shown me that nagging helps produce them. As soon as I tell my children I'm going to stop nagging, the urge to do so becomes even stronger.

Last week I sat my children down one by one, showed each of them a list of responsibilities I had printed out for them, and discussed my expectations. I then looked each child in the eyes and said, "Now, I'm not going to nag you about these things (I'm sure my children were thinking, yeah, right!). These are responsibilities I expect you to do without being asked. And when you have successfully accomplished each responsibility for ten days, you earn a treat. It's completely up to you whether you earn your treat or not. It's your choice." Then I sent them on their way, sure my little talk would produce happy, self-driven children who would accomplish their obligations without prompting or nagging.

Ha! I have to laugh at my naivety sometimes. Not 24 hours had gone by until I was nearly bursting at the seams wanting, to "remind" my eight-year-old son that all the time he was wasting was really time he should have been spending checking off his list of responsibilities. I had to nearly bite my tongue completely off in an effort to keep my mouth shut.

Finally, I broke down. "Okay," I said to my son, "I know I said I wouldn't nag, but I just have to say that you're going to be so sad when your sister gets rewarded and you don't, so you might want to check out your list."

Ugh! That's exactly what I didn't want to do. Why can't I be patient and just let time teach a lesson? It's obvious I have a serious nagging problem. So this week, I decided to dedicate this post to my children, and in an effort to sympathize with them, I wrote this poem. Here's to all children with mothers who are addicted to nagging.

My Mother, the Nag

My mother is a nag, you know.
She just can't help herself.
From, "Have you cleaned up all your stuff?"
To "Put that on the shelf."

She reminds me of my homework
As soon as I hit the door.
Before I hang my backpack up
She tells me three times more.

"Practice your piano.
Make your bed and do your chores.
And while you're at it, please, please try
To find your bedroom floor."

I roll my eyes and plug my ears
As I begin to moan.
Just then I hear a ringing sound,
And Mom shouts, "Get the phone!"

Trying to distract her,
I ask if I can play.
She loads my arms with laundry
And says, "Go--put away!"

"Take a shower. Brush your teeth,
And don't forget to floss."
Sometimes I wish my mother
Wasn't such a constant boss!

I know she doesn't mean to;
In fact, she says she wants to quit,
So I told her I'd remind her,
But that hasn't helped a bit.

It seems she just can't help it
No matter how she tries,
And ignoring all her promptings
Hasn't proven to be wise.

So, if your mother happens
To be something of a nag,
All I can say is, "Sorry
That your life is such a drag."

And as for me, I have to say,
Although it isn't fair
I've decided to tell God about it
In fervent, pleading prayer.

Dad always says if I have faith
My wishes can come true,
Though how God's gonna change Mother
I haven't got a clue!

And though I don't feel lucky,
I just have to say
My biggest fear is growing up
To be a nag someday!!


Taffy and Tony said...

I'm totally a nag, too! And I love the peom. It's great. And you have a wonderful talent, I must say.

Cathy said...

Lori, you sound like a wonderful mom. How the heck would your kids get anything done if you didn't remind them. You aren't a nag, you are a reminder. Children have really short memories.

Melanie Bingham said...

Loved the poem. Maybe I'm wacko but I'm pretty sure nagging or reminding is your job. It's like part of the job description / qualification to become a good mom. I would prefer a mom that nagged or lovingingly reminded to one that ignored me. I feel bad for the kids out there who don't get nagged.

Dixie said...

Did you write that poem?? Nagging is in a mother's genes.