My Kids Are Driving Me Nuts!


Am I right in thinking the kids don’t go back to school for two weeks? It’s only the kids seem to have been on holidays for a very long time. I mean, I’m only asking because I’d hate for them to miss the start of the school year and fall behind.

“Hey!” I yelled out tonight. “Who’s left all these pistachio shells on the floor?”

I knew who it was but I like to give my kids a chance to own up. And I hold great hopes that one day one of them will surprise me and do that.

“Get in here,” I said to Miss3 a few moments later.

“What wrong, Daddy?” she asked me innocently.

“This is,” I told her, pointing to the mess. “What do you say about that?”

“Sorry,” she said, head bowed. She’s very good at saying sorry because she gets to practice saying it a lot. “I fix it.”

So here I am living the dream as a stay at home dad.


Finally, and it’s currently more like a nightmare – which is why I haven’t written anything for a couple of days.

Not only are we having some teething issues with the washing – I still can’t work out which pink bit of cloth belongs to which daughter – I’m also exhausted from the kids being on holidays and wrecking the place all day and then coming into our room all night.

I’m so very sick and tired of being woken up throughout the night I gathered the kids together on our bed for a chat before their bedtime tonight.

Who am I kidding? These days I’m lucky if they’re fed and showered by their bedtime. It was 9pm and Tracey was up me because I didn’t remember to shampoo their hair. I did, But I also made an executive decision to not give a toss about it. I chose sanity instead. I’ve spent considerable time tonight trying to come up with a word to convey my current emotional and mental state, and I’ve settled on ‘ARRRRGH!’ It seems so odd to me I managed to hold things together internally relatively well while Tracey was on Death’s doorstep, but now she’s home I’m struggling with panic attacks and simple parenting tasks. I was warned about this, but being so positive and thankful to still have my wife with me I didn’t expect it.

Am I sounding a little manic? Then I’ve managed to express things rather perfectly.

“Look around guys,” I told the kids as they mock-wrestled on the bed, leading to the inevitable ‘it was an accident’ injury. “This isn’t your bedroom. You don’t sleep here. There’s nothing for you here between the hours of goodnight and good morning. You walk into this room again,” I continued, getting to my point, “you won’t be walking out – they’ll be carrying you out in a box.”

Don’t judge me. I’ve tried to be more subtle but it hasn’t sunk in.

Of course, Tracey seems to be enjoying watching my efforts.

“You’re sounding more and more like me,” she’ll point out while I’m struggling to remove the cuss words from my sentences as I give further instructions to the kids on how to put things back into their rooms. I swear they don’t know the purpose of wardrobes.

And that’s just the start of it.

So much Nerf and Barbie lies scattered throughout the yard it’s like a toy store exploded nearby. Plus there’s more makeup ground into the carpet than Miss12’s face and something like two reams of A4 paper lie doodled on or sticky taped together and scattered throughout the house.

Miss8 made me a chef's hat from two bits of paper. Judging by the state of the dining table it took her several hundred attempts to get it just right.
Miss8 made me a chef’s hat from two bits of paper. Judging by the state of the dining table it took her several hundred attempts to get it just right.

Miss3 has even started a rock collection in her bedroom. Not especially rare rocks, I might add, just the ones from around the stepping stones which lead from our front gate to the front door. There’s maybe ten or twenty thousand of them out there.

Less now.

“Mum!” called out Miss5 from the other end of the house this afternoon. “Mum, I need you!”

“No, you don’t!” Tracey happily called back. She didn’t even take her eyes off her iPhone and her Hay Day efforts. “You need Daddy!” Then she nudged me because I was at that moment lying beside her pretending to be asleep. “Bruce,” she said, grinning (I know she was grinning because she’s doing it a lot lately – plus I could hear it in her voice), “your daughter needs you. I’d go myself, but…”

…but she’s milking her recovery worse than a professional wrestler entering an arena.

She’s not really. She just gets tired easily and needs to spend stupid amounts of time tending to her drains. In fact, she’s so determined to get back to normal I keep having to tell her to stop doing stuff. If she’s going to tire herself out I have my own ideas about the method she should employ.

“And Bruce,” she said just as I wearily exited the room.

I stuck my head back through the doorway and muttered the only thing I had the energy for.

“Hmmm?” I asked her.

“Would you mind putting the kettle on for me on your way through?” she smiled.

Which is code for ‘make me a tea’.

I left again, but she wasn’t quite done.

“And maybe nuke me up some mac and cheese? I love you!”

I love her too. I love having her back. I love how well she’s handling all the crap with her bags. I love the kids still get to call out for their Mum to help them change the channel so they can watch a movie through the Xbox, even if they get their techtard Dad instead.

But, and this is something I never thought I’d say, I think, at least for the initial teething period of me being home doing the day to day stuff instead of running away to the sanity of a workplace, I’ll love this all a whole lot better when they’re back at school.

As a sort of bonus, even Miss3 will be going to pre-prep for two and a half days a week this year. I pity them.

“And what do you do with those shells now?” I asked Miss3 once she’d picked them up. I could have told her but I’m trying to do what I think good parents do and encourage her to make decisions and find solutions.

“I put them mmenna mah buudhuun,” she mumbled. I didn’t hear what she said, but assumed it wasn’t ‘in the bin’ because suddenly she was running past me.

“Hey!” I yelled after Miss3. “Where are you going?”

“I put them in my bedroom!” she yelled over her shoulder.

Sure enough, when I got there, the shells were all over the carpet in her bedroom, scattered amongst the rocks.

“Why would you do this?” I asked her. “Why didn’t you put them in the bin?”

And she looked at me like I’d lost my mind. I’m not saying she’s wrong.

“But they’re my shells. I love them.”

Of course they are. Of course she does.

And they’re my kids. Which is what makes them super special and forever grants them a place in my heart, no matter how much dumb they do. I just don’t know why they feel the need to test those limits like a Raptor trying to find the weaknesses of his enclosure.

But anyway, on a not entirely unrelated matter, while I have your attention can I just check it’s the 27th still, yeah? A Wednesday? It’s just since I’ve become a stay at home Dad I’ve realised how very, very important education is.

Can I also ask, how early am I allowed to drop the little darlings off to school? I’d hate for them to miss a moment.

Tracey now requires several more meals a day than your average Sumo. Albeit small meals. At first I was happy to cook them but eventually I came up with the idea of frozen meals for her Hobbit-like second lunch and dinner because I can’t just cook bacon and eggs, by way of example, for one and I’m fat enough. I bought several of everything they had in stock. I’m hoping she doesn’t like the curries.

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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”


  • What’s your Hay Day handle Tracey? I’d love to see your farm, I’m an addict too,

    Pity to you Bruce but chin up, only dozens & dozens of school holidays before Miss 3 finishes high school, but you’ll cope better, this past few months have been harrowing for you.

  • I haven’t even mentioned how I got her to pick the shells up and put them in the bin only to find her walking around the house with the bin!

  • Oh dear, that gave me a much needed laugh. I think because I can relate to this soooo very well!!!
    My husband works away for a week at a time, so I’m home with 4 little treasures on my own…which is even more fun over the holidays 😉
    He doesn’t understand why I have such a short fuse, crabby, fed up, etc etc… I refer to his week at work as his ‘holiday’, yes he works long hours…but he gets all his meals prepared for him (which he can eat uninterrupted), washing done, but the most envious part is the fact before he goes to sleep each night he has 30mins or so to sit and watch tv on his own with no interruptions….
    Oh the joys!!
    Ps.. thanks for this! I really needed to know im not alone, not the only one being driven mental by my children 😉

  • A neat little trick for finding out whose clothes belong to who: write their initials on the inside tag so all you have to do is glance at that while you are sorting their clothes into their piles ? easy as! Hope your family has a fabulous rest of the week & thanks for my morning giggle!

    • Another way is give dots. One dot for the eldest, add second dot when it’s a hand me down, and third dot when grown out of again. Then you just match the dots.
      Even put the dots on the new clothes, so number three gets new shirt, add three dots, then when handed down to fourth, just add another dot.

  • My daughter finished school last year and in the 13 years she went to school I always thought I would be the first parent for drop off after the holidays and I never was. Girls love their little ‘treasures’ next it will probably be the flowers in a mud pie that you will find in her room!!

    • We’ve a couple who love making ‘perfume’. The industry will go sharply into decline if anyone ever bottles their concoctions.

  • Haha? I have a Little Miss who just loves to bring all her treasures out of her room, play with them in the lounge room and then ‘put them away’ where ever the heck it takes her fancy! My house looks like an Officeworks store was blown in the front door by a tornado! Paper, sticky tape, staples?, pens, arrows?, and all sorts wierd and wonderful paraphernalia strewn about! And the standard ‘I don’t know how that got there’! Well today, it will all be going in the ‘Uh oh’ box, probably never to be released. And with all that I still don’t want school holidays to finish…. I dont want to get up at 5am and do lunches, argue about who’s turn it is to unpack the dishwasher, get in the car halfway to the bus stop and be told by the 13 year old ‘whoops I forgot to put jocks on’, get back from that bus run only to find the younger ones sitting in the lounge with a ‘Gee, that was quick’ look on their perfect little faces while I loose my shit entirely and scream ‘Get dressed you only have 5 minutes to get to the bus’!
    I love school holidays?

  • Love it Bruce! I’ve always said kids should be in school everyday from 7-5, six days a week and only get Good Friday, Christmas Day & ANZAC day off!! Can you imagine? We could employ more teachers, as we’ll need more to cover the hours – that helps the unemployment rate and parents Mental Elf stays in tact!! ?

  • Oh yeah! Just to make you feel a bit better…. The first year my oldest is out of school, my youngest will be starting. That’s right – 2031 before I’m finished with school holidays ?

  • Oh dear, Bruce has realised he has children 😉 I actually preferred it when my 4 all went to the same school – only one drop off and pick up! Pre-prep was annoying because you had to leave home early (and you only had 6 hours max anyway). At least with some in high school, there’s a bus trip instead of pick up.

  • You poor silly boy.LOL. It’s summer and hot. Get all the kids in their swimmers, take the shampoo outside where the hose is and start washing hair in mass. A job done and a half hour of fun all wrapped into one.
    I hate to say it, but if it was up to me the kids wouldn’t go back to school before the 1st March. Yeah don’t get me started on that little rant.

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