There is an article floating around the interweb, “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink”, and if you haven’t ran across it, you should click there and read it. I shouldn’t have to micro-manage my household. If you know it needs done, DO IT! If you know it needs cleaned, clean it. If you know it needs wiped up, then by golly wipe- it- up. If you know it’s weeds and it’s out of control then fire up the weed-eater and don’t ask me what needs weed-eated. If you know it needs washed, put it in the dishwasher instead of leaving it sit. Seems simple enough to me. But I’m the “princess” of the household, which is a laughable statement. I guess I could be considered Cinderella, stuck between her fantasy world and the life that left her feeling slaved.
I am the teacher. The sane keeper. The rationalist. The rule maker and enforcer. I am the maid, the doctor, the organizer. The list maker. The short-order cook. I wear many hats.
I work diligently every day to keep the house picked up of toys, dirty dishes, and abandoned dirty clothes. I make sure the bills are paid and the trash is taken out-which, by the way, is the oldest child’s job and it seems that most of the time a reminder is needed even though the last piece of trash placed in it is his. I have to make notice that the grass is mowed. I try to do my best to make healthy meals that will be enjoyed by everyone which is a hard job to do since they don’t like the same foods I do and getting them to try something new is like trying to convince the devil that he’s not going to take over my life. I fail, at times, to keep the cabinets stocked, the tea jug full and the papers organized. I try to ensure the toilet is cleaned to give them a clean place to sit. I sweep and mop the floors almost daily so the food they drop is still edible and I also make the bed daily so that my husband can crawl into it at night and dishevel the sheets once again.
I fail… A lot. I get discouraged and want “a break”. I blink and the house is once again a mess. Or it seems to me it happens that quickly. The toys I just picked up are now all over the house instead of on the shelf where I put them. There is pee on the toilet seat I just wiped down and socks shoved into the cushions I just vacuumed. There are clothes left in the dryer that are wrinkled and piles of papers on the table. The sink I just emptied of dirty dishes is once again full. The stove top that was sparkling is now full of grimy pots and splattered food. There are clutter piles, empty cobwebs hanging from corners and the freshly mopped floor with sticky spots and that somehow look dingy. There are freshly placed hand prints on the stainless steel kitchen appliances that I worked so hard to scrub off. And the list could go on for days… and days… and days…
It leaves me feeling spaz-tastic. I undeniably love my responsibility as a mother and wife and my boys love me. However, there are times when I want to sit in the floor and throw a fit like an emotion-filled toddler.
“Things aren’t going my way! SOMEONE needs to listen to me, look at me and acknowledge me! HELLO, can you hear me? See me? I know I asked 30 times for you to put the dirty dish in the dish washer. That thing that’s next to the sink. Why isn’t your clean stack of clothes put away yet? I know I asked you to do that 53 minutes ago. Be considerate and wipe up the tea you spilled. With a wet washcloth. Not the dirty socks you shoved in the cushions! If the trash is falling on the floor that is a good sign the bag needs tied and carried to the dumpster. You know that hamper I bought specifically for your dirty clothes? The clothes go in it like we discussed, NOT THE FLOOR NEXT TO IT! Please. Someone. Anyone. Are you listening to me?”
You know that “break” I was looking for? I occasionally use that break and then it seems the work doubles and an overwhelming anxious feeling somehow sits right on top of that mess. I pitch that fit I was talking about too and then I become devastated that I “lost” it and raised my voice.
It’s really my fault. I’m the guilty one. I’m the one responsible for allowing these boys to run this house and I just follow behind them cleaning up their mess. They could care less if there are dirty dishes, piles of papers or sticky floors. Mother’s have been known to go on strike but unless I’m prepared to pack my stuff and move to the camper, and I’m NOT, then I need to include them into this daily routine with me.
How’s that you say? Chore time. That’s how.
What do I mean by that? Well exactly this…
While I am cooking for them, they have to complete as many chores as possible. If they would take their piles of clothes to the laundry room, it would make my job easier. “You want to be fed dinner? Pick up your clothes. I know you don’t want to walk around naked. You have to be hungry, it has been exactly 2 ½ hours since I last fed you.”
I am going to get small baskets each labeled with their names. Decorative baskets so that the piles of clutter look cute at least, and place their names on the front. If I find it, it goes in their basket. Another chore on their list… Empty your basket, not me. I need my patience and sanity much more then you need to place piles of junk everywhere. I somehow end up with toys, piles of change, wadded up receipts, ear plugs and ear buds that consume my counter tops. The junk is not important to me so I can throw it away. But it’s up to them to decide if it’s important. And NO- it can’t be moved from one pile on this counter to a pile you have started on your side table in the bedroom. That’s ridiculous. I will one day walk through the house with a surprise visit from the trash can. If you’ve not touched it in a month- surely, you don’t need it.
So, instead of the never-ending battle of the ceaseless messes, I will include them. Not only will I include them, but they will get fed with a smile. Not only will they get a smile but maybe they’ll get desert more often. Not a reward system for them but more of a reward system for me. It’s like, “I like you today. You saved me an hour of mumbling under my breath and touching your stank underwear. I think I will make you cookies.”
Am I complaining? Not really. My house is my safe haven and I need it to be clean and feel welcoming not like I’m constantly running around like a spaz. I asked the boys what I like to do with time off and their answer was… wait for it…. “Clean.”
Clean. Clean? Oh boy, there is something wrong with this answer. I DO like to clean and have a “clean” house. So please my loves, my lives, my heart and soul, STOP MAKING UNNECESSARY MESSES AND CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES. Please… I feel as if I am always babbling and giving orders like a broken record. “Clean this. Put this away. STOP LICKING THAT. Would you take the trash out for the fifth time? Landry, where’s your laundry? Would you please just listen to me?”
They probably don’t hear me because it’s more like background noise since it’s been going on for so long. Like the silent hum of the refrigerator.. like the sweet lulling sound of peaceful classical music or the blissful sound of crashing waves as you sit with your eyes closed in relaxation mode. (HAHA- peaceful, lulling hum- yeah, I like that, we’ll go with those comparisons.)
I know that there has to be other momma’s out there that feel as though they are living in a dèjá vu-broken record world. Maybe you all have some ideas that I can adapt and implant into my lovely boys. 😉
I repeat, I am NOT griping, complaining or being a drag about my life. I am merely making light of the craziness I live in. I appreciate the life I call mine more than I can ever explain. I am indebted to the Lord for all the graces and love He had planned for me. I will see that these boys I have will notice a change in the women I am when they begin to help around the house.
One thing I can say is that my boys keep me going. Messes or not. I will one day be without each of them and the destruction that follows in their tracks, unless of course it is God’s plan for me to go first. In which case they should know how to keep house. Or they will end up paying a maid. Lord, help her.
Does anyone else feel as if they live in a déjà vu-broken record world?