I’ll admit it. I nag my kids. I don’t want to do it, but I just can’t help it. I think it’s a parent’s job.

All I’m trying to do is to get my kids to learn the basics – get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth and hair, wash face and get out of the house at the right time with the right stuff. It’s not a lot to ask of a bright bunch of kids. Then at the end of the day – get undressed, put clothes away appropriately, have your drink, brush your teeth and get to bed.

To me it seems so simple. Surely they should get it after all these years? So I ask nicely, then I ask again, a little less nicely, then I tell, then I tell a bit louder. And suddenly I’m shouting and nagging.

I maintain that if my kids just got on and performed these very basic functions of their own accord that I wouldn’t need to nag.

I’m not proud of myself. I appreciate that other styles of parenting are available, but I just don’t seem to be able to use them. But until you’ve had three (or more) kids in under five years plus a part-time job plus a husband who works very long hours, please don’t judge me.

I’m afraid my eldest bears the brunt of my nagging. He seems to be the least able to do the basics, yet surely as the eldest he should be the best?

I’m really trying not to, but somehow I just can’t help it – he goes out of the house with his shoelaces trailing, he drops his clothes on the floor, he forgots his violin and his PE kit, he makes a mess wtih his breakfast every day…

My husband says I’ve got to ease up on him and choose my battles or risk damaging my son and his relationship with me. Now obviously that’s something I really don’t want to happen, so I’m going to try even harder. I could let him be late, I could let him go out the door with his shoelaces undone, I could let him forget his homework, I could sigh quietly at the mess he makes with breakfast and then just clear it up myself…

My husband has also had a word with him to point out that mummy, sorry MUM,  nags because he’s not getting these basics right and maybe he could try a bit harder to get organised and be tidier.

If I’m such a bad mum, why am I the only one who hears when my son cries because he’s hurt himself, my daughter shouts in the night because she’s had a bad dream or my son calls from the bathroom because he can’t find the shampoo?

Everywhere we go people comment on how well behaved our kids are, how bright, how good at sport… My husband acknowledges that it comes from me pushing them just a little bit and always encouraging them to try their hardest and keeping bad behaviour in check.

Every day, at school, in the shops, outside the various clubs we go to, I see parents who talk to and treat their kids a lot worse than I do. They don’t just nag, they shout at them and talk to them with no respect, sometimes they swear at them, sometimes they even physically push them around a bit to get them to do as they’re told.

I may not be a perfect mum. I may be a nag, but I’m the very best mum for my kids and I will carry on being the best mum for my kids.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Good for you! Keep doing what you believe Is right. They are your children, you have to live with them and, lets be honest, life is a lot harder away from MUM, it may make them more able to deal with it x

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  2. Oh the nagging thing is pretty prevalent in our house too….and probably every house worldwide, I just don’t think mums can help it, it’s in our make-up! For me it’s the youngest who seems to be ‘getting it in the neck’ at the moment, he sounds a lot like your eldest in forgetfulness and walks around in a permanent daze – he came as a shock after having 2 girls!

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  3. I’m sure that you ‘nag’ out of respect for your children and their potential. One day they will understand.

    The only ‘bad’ thing about nagging is that is that it can wear you out, so give yourself a break too x.

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  4. Ha ha it probably comes as no surprise that I wrote a post very similar to this last year! I nag all the time too and I shout a lot too, which I know I shouldn’t but it is just the way I roll! You are not a bad person at all and it sounds like your children are a credit to you!

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  5. Thanks very much for the support, ladies! It’s good to hear that nagging is pretty rife. I’m impressed with, but also slightly sceptical of those women who say they just talk to their children in calm, quiet voices. They’ve usually only got toddlers and pre-schoolers in my experience so haven’t got round to nagging!

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  6. Ha I am nagging my kids now to get dressed still,what is it with lazy Saturdays 🙂

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  7. EXACTLY, Sonya! That’s all you need – do it right first time and there will be no nagging!
    Thanks very much, Claire Justine. So glad I’m not the only one!

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  8. I think as mothers it is very hard to let your children ‘fail’ and them not getting these things right is a kind of failure. It is very very hard to bite your tongue, for them to find out the hard way the consequences of – not remembering their homework, tripping over their shoe laces, forgetting their oyster card etc, but one day you won’t be there and the will have to do it for themselves -so the question is, when do you stop nagging and allow them to make the mistakes that enable them to learn the consequences of their actions.

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  9. Thanks very much, it is so hard to know when is the right time. I said I’d let him make his own mistakes more when he got to secondary school as he needs to learn independence, but sometimes it can be hard to bite my tongue. I’m hoping when he makes mistakes he will learn from them and I can hold back. Fingers crossed! For him and for me.

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  10. Oooh you are so not a bad Mum. It is the unfortunate lot of Mums that we have to nag, and we will forever be berated for it, and berate ourselves, but it is our job. Although I do tend to think that they will get there by hook or by crook, so sometimes it’s not a bad thing to lay off the nagging and see where it gets them. My hubs practically brought himself up. He’s still a nightmare but he manages to function just fine. Actually the more I put in place to help him out, the worse he is. I have stopped telling GG it’s cold and to wear tights and a vest, she’s just learning by her errors!

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  11. Thanks very much, Actually Mummy. It’s a good idea to let them learn by their mistakes and I’m trying to do that more with my eldest and his school work. My 9 year old can also be stubborn about how much or little he wears too!

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  12. This post really resonated with me, as I, too, am a nagging mum. I have a 12yo son, and your comments about your eldest could have been written by me about mine. HIs lack of interest, organisation and self-motivation drives me absolutely insane on a daily basis. I can only imagine (and my friends with older children tell me, too!) that the next few years are going to be equally challenging and not much improvement. I thank heavens regularly that I only ever had one child. Not that I’d swap him for the world, but I just get so sick of listening to myself nag and moan!!

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  13. Thanks very much, Caroline. So many people have told me that they are just the same – and their kids are just the same – which is a relief.
    I get sick of listening to myself too 🙁 It’s a vicious circle, no doubt the kids are sick of listening to me!

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  14. Such a refreshing, honest post! I think most of us nag, as much as we don’t want to. If we think something is important, then we do need to insist and be consistent and our nagging has good intentions behind it after all! As others have said though, it is a good idea to let some stuff go and let them deal with the consequences sometimes. All about getting the balance right, not always easy!

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  15. Thanks very much, Mummy Zen, I think you’re right! I like to think I’m consistent (although I’m not perfect!).
    Good to know I’m not the only one, Jaime!

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