How do you cope with squabbling siblings?

Posted Monday 17th March 2014   By Ericka Waller

Mostly, I enjoy being a mum. My kids say cute things and find me really funny. They don’t care what I look like or judge me for still having sugar in my tea. Yes they are messy and watch truly awful TV, but they make life interesting.

Except when they argue. And god do my girls argue.

It starts with spaceman spoon argument “I always have the one with a spaceman on it. I can’t eat my cheerios without it.” Inevitably, seconds after this sentence there is a tussle, the cheerios end up all over the floor and everyone is in tears (apart from the dog).

Then they argue over what to watch, who is sitting where, whose Bear is wearing whose Build-a-bear outfit, who is sitting where in the car.

Mostly I tell them “no blood, no foul. Come to me if you are missing a tooth. Other than that, get on with it”, because there is nothing more annoying than spending ten minutes trying to decipher what your sobbing toddler is telling you, only to work out it’s ‘she poked me with a crisp’.

On bad days I shout at them to not shout at one another. I snap and point, hiss and sigh. I feel like the energy they have to smack and bite each other is stolen directly from me.

Sometimes within half an hour of them being up, I am sobbing over chocolate biscuits in the bathroom. Then they find me to tell me who did what to who. Sometimes I keep my cool. Sometimes, like my toddler, I lose it.

On bad days the husband comes home to an exorcist version of his wife. The house is a pit, the children are red eyed and I have a slightly psychotic glint in my eye as I retell him every boring argument and it’s bloody outcome, while he sits quietly looking a bit scared of me (and probably thinking how he’d just like to look at Sky News on his ipad).

I rant that I cannot cope and he will have to give up work and if I hear one more row about an old milk bottle lid I am going to go insane.

Then I stomp upstairs, slam the door and lie in bed thinking ‘go on girls, do your worst so he knows what it’s really like’ but of course they don’t.

The change of scene turns my bickering brats into little angels and I can tell the husband is thinking ‘What’s she going on about, they are delightful. How lucky she is to spend all day with them drinking tea.”

Of course once they are bathed (“mummy she has my toothbrush, I always use that towel, she splashed me, I wanted that milk!”) and are fast asleep in bed, I forget about the arguments and my heart fills with love and wonder all that jazz.

And then morning comes and it happens all over again.