Diary of a demented mum: Gratitude? Ha! The Wolverine is much happier with misery
Your old friend has returned from an expensive self-development course bursting with tips on how to gain personal happiness.
She urges you to encourage a more positive atmosphere in the home by requesting your family to identify three good things that happened each day.
Knowing the Wolverine as she does, she acknowledges that this may not be the easiest of tasks.
All the same, she maintains doggedly, you could initially start with two, or, er, even one positive thing. Avoiding your eyes, she suggests that you also encourage your daughter to keep a gratitude diary ...
It's your day off, so you cunningly make the Wolverine's favourite curry. You eschew your normal rule of milk or water and splurge on a giant bottle of Coke.
As you dole out curry and pour the Coke, you announce brightly that you're introducing a new positive dinner-time routine.
The Wolverine snorts and tosses her side-fringe.
Great idea, enthuses your husband, who has been fore-warned.
In he dives. First, his head-cold has gone; second, work went really well today; third, guys -- just look at this lovely dinner!
Cue a dramatic eye-roll from the other side of the table.
Younger child eagerly reports that, Mum, he scored a goal today, got three stars from teacher for his Octopus drawing and he's been invited to a birthday party!
"Suck-up," the Wolverine snickers. "Shut it," you warn, and mention a wonderful morning walk, your crop of daffodils opening, and the fact that an old friend called in for a chat.
The Wolverine laughs knowingly.
"That would be Jacky, back from the Wellness Centre. More tips!"
"Your turn," you tell your daughter, through thinned lips.
"This is about control," she begins, shovelling your labour-intensive curry into her gob.
This is about invasion of her personal privacy. This is about helicopter parenting. This is about shark-parenting. In fact, in her opinion, this is about some seriously "pathetic" parenting.
She's been reading your manuals again.
Exasperated, your husband grabs her plate."Positive things," he orders. "Or no dinner and all the wash-up."
Not quite how Jacky's guru would have done it, you think.
Eye roll. Explosive sigh. Offensive snort.
"I didn't get into trouble today. Yet. No thanks to some."
A dark look in your direction from beneath lowered eyebrows.
"I didn't die of despair today. And the dinner's kind of nice, I suppose. Can I have it back?"
Your hands twitch in your lap -- they're itching to leap across the table and wrap themselves tightly around her throat.
No, you tell your hands. No, hands, no, no, no.
You decide not to mention the gratitude diary tonight.
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