Sometimes I feel like an HR manager at home, except that unlike work, I can’t fire the people that live in my house with me—at least not easily. I’d like to, sometimes, believe me. For example, this evening, I walked into a war zone when I entered my house after work. My soon to be 15-year-old daughter was buried in her cell phone and computer, with the TV blaring loudly in the background. My two boys, ages 10 and 13, were swearing and screaming at each other. While I know they have foul mouths, I have zero tolerance for this sort of behaviour when the windows are open (the neighbours think we’re obnoxious enough already).
So I decide to try to break up the chaos by suggesting that we take the dogs for a walk at the dog park. I get groans from two kids, but the middle one, who has a huge homework project due tomorrow, happily volunteers to accompany me. I insist that everyone should come . . . “It’ll be fun . . . come on, spend some time with your mother”, I say. Not to mention that the dogs are not very well trained, and I really do need some help bringing the two of them to the dog park. So off we go. When we get there, the kids promptly get out of the car and leave me to wrestle the dogs out of their seatbelts, onto their leashes, and through the dog park gate. No sooner do I get them through the gate than they both start barking wildly at all the other dogs in the park. The kids immediately plop themselves on a park bench and don’t move. I am annoyed. After three times around the park with the dogs, I decide to call it a day. It doesn’t help that my male dog barks at every man that walks by, my female dog chases and barks at almost every dog that we encounter, and my two boys are now 25 feet off the ground, up a tree.
So back I go wrestling the dogs onto their leashes, out through the gates, and buckling them into the backseat of the car. The kids are starting to pile in, arguing and yelling at the dogs and each other, when I promptly invite them to vacate the vehicle. “Get out!” I say. They look at me in astonishment. “Get out of my car!” So they do. The walk back to our house is 20-minutes maximum; the drive back takes three. That gives me ample time to water my garden, feed the dogs’ dinner, and reset the code on the garage door keypad, preventing them from getting into the house if or when they do come home.