Everyone already knows the answer when they ask themselves or others, “Do I reeaaally have to?” Otherwise they wouldn’t ask. They’d just do whatever it is and be done with it. The question is really just a delay tactic.
My daughters do it all the time when it comes to housework.
“But Mooooom. Do I reeaaally have to (insert chore: clean the bathroom, bathe the dog, do the dishes)?”
I want every parent out there join hands and chant after me: “YES, YOU REALLY HAVE TO CLEAN THE BATHROOM, BATHE THE DOG and/or DO THE DISHES.”
“But I hate scrubbing the toilet!” they will inevitably cry. “It’s gross! People pee in there!”
Here’s what you do. Don’t engage. Just say, “OK. That’s fine. You’ll just have to find your own bathroom.”
When I said this to my daughter, she looked overjoyed as if a fairy contractor came in, waved his magic plunger and built her a private on-suite room de toilet over the weekend.
A nanosecond later, it registered.
“You mean I would have to go outside?” she asked weakly, eyes darting between the white scrub brush and the sliding glass back door.
“If you don’t want to clean the bathroom anymore, you can pee in the yard.How high you can lift your leg anyway?”
I then called the dog over to lead us on a tour of his favorite spots.
“Oh and see that hose over there?” I said pointing to that hose over there. “Just Google how to turn it into a outdoor shower. It’s called DIY or do it yourself. I’m not sure what you’ll do in the wintertime but for now, it’s a perfect solution to your problem.”
Surprise! Surprise! That night after work, I was greeted with something better than a bouquet of flowers: the smell of Windex, Comet and Clorox bleach permeating the air.
I quickly made the lovely girl a flower out of a Kleenex tissue, thanked her for her service and began to slowly engage in neutral conversation… That’s when we heard a bloody scream coming from the backyard. It sounded like two wild animals fighting.
Turns out, I was unfortunately right. And there on the back deck was an opossum’s almost dead screaming body in a flower pot to prove it.
Neither my sister, Wendy, or a friend who was visiting from England were of any help beyond shining a flashlight from inside the cover of the house. Oh and they handed me a makeshift undertaker’s tool kit: barbecue tongs and a plastic bag.
“Do I reeaaally have to?” I begged.
That’s when my daughter’s head popped out of the bedroom window in a moment of sheer glee.
“Yes, Mooooom. You reeaaally have to.”
Karma is a you know what.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com