Even if you’ve never watched The IT Crowd, you’ve probably heard the “Have you tried turning it off and then on again?” solution to technical problems. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just go to Google and type “have you tried turning it off and then on again”. You won’t even get past “have you t…”
Part of the reason it’s so funny is because it is so often exactly the right solution to the problem.
Sometimes I feel that parenthood is like being in the IT department, except instead of computers we are fixing, it is life. Much like IT support, we are often underappreciated and misunderstood by those we serve. Also like the IT Crowd, we often find we repeat the same suggestions over and over again.
For example, let’s say your child has misplaced something. A schoolbook, perhaps. As a mother, my first assumption when my son says “I am missing a textbook and I need to bring it back to school or pay to replace it” is that it must be somewhere in the blackhole formerly known as “the bedroom”. So I say to him “Clean your room, and then we’ll talk.” His response will of course be “I already cleaned my room. It’s not in there.”
A quick glance into the room will tell me that his idea of “clean” is obviously not the same as mine.
Five minutes later, after a very brief search through the room, I emerge victorious, holding in my hand none other than the missing textbook, which 10 minutes earlier I was told could not possibly have been in the bedroom. Even though it totally was there the whole time, not even in a hard-to-spot location, but sitting on a bedside table, underneath a small stack of looseleaf papers.
So remember kids, when your mother says “have you tried cleaning your room?”, what she really means you is “Have you tried turning it off and then on again?”
And when it turns out she is right, let her smile knowingly and say “I told you so.”.