Before I begin, those of you with children under 4, look away. Don't read. It doesn't apply to you.
This is about cleaning, and any woman with a child or children under 4 who has a clean home needs counseling, because no sane woman with a child under 4 can maintain a clean home for more than, maybe, half a day, tops.
For the rest of us, or for those who wonder what's coming Bwwahhaaa, well, this weekend, MOM HAS HAD IT.
And I hate using 'Mom.' I like to pretend I have an identity that isn't so close to Moo or Ma'am, or Mumu. Something about the 'mmm' sound. Anyhow, LAHDEEDA has had it. Okay? I have HAD it.
I am not a 'neat' person by anyone's standards. My OCD 'can pick a minute jelly stain on the wall from 30 paces away' guy, Hubby McRed, and I have come to an uneasy peace. He avoids the kids' rooms, my desk, the laundry room and the closet if it's messy, alone. This does mean I have to occasionally get him his clothes, but whatever works. The rest of the house I try to keep well, at least clutter free and swept. I'm not so good at vacuuming, but in a prior incarnation, Hubby McRed was the God of Vacuuming, and nobody, I mean NOBODY can vacuum to the perfection he can... the straight 'freshly vacuumed' lines that are so neatly parallel to each other, the way the carpet stands up, cheering, at the end... it's a skill.
I had the house clean for a week. Sunday to Friday. We weren't even home most of Friday. Yet, somehow, upon waking on Saturday morning, I see...
Dishes to the ceiling.
Counters filled with wrappers and dirty spoons, leftover food cans, cilantro on the cutting board...
I move to the dining area... my eyes sweep over an un-wiped-down table, crumbs the size of whole bread loaves on the floor, a yogurt stain mocking me in it's peachy little way.
I scan past it to the living area and there's the dog bed, ruffled up into a ball. The couch pillows askew and ascatter. Dog toys everywhere. The ottomon blanket twisted. Oooh. Was I upset.
So I went up the toy-laden stairs into the hall of trucks and cars. To the laundry room (yeah, it's upstairs, I know, sooo cool) with the pile of 'tween girl clothes hanging out of an open dryer (seriously, do you have to wash your sneakers?) and the cat food all over the floor. I go look into Drama Girl's room, where the rule generally is clothes stay in the closet and nothing is on the floor, and discover her floor littered with, well, Tween stuff.
This is all BEFORE my first cup of coffee.
I glare at Hubby McRed. I can't help but think if we'd GONE to that playgrounds cafe this morning, I wouldn't have quite had it. I'm sure somehow it's all his fault. I mean, I see red beard hairs in the sink... he's not innocent...
I drink two and a half cups of coffee... and discover MORE dishes have been made. TWO dishes to make one bowl of oatmeal. Why?
So I exploded.
And created my own universe. It's like, cool. Life has just begun on one of the planets I accidentally created, and on another planet, they are wondering if they were created intentionally or if life was a haphazard accident.
I spent some time creating order in my new little universe.
Then I returned to my house.
I made a DECISION that ENOUGH was ENUFF.
I informed the Bear and Turbo that they need to clean the hall.
I told Hubby McRed I was cranky so he could hide.
Then, I sent Cinderel.... I mean Drama Girl to the sink.
I had her unload the dishwasher, and then, had her rinse EVERY dish in the sink and EVERY dish overspilling the sink. I had her do it properly, (I was checking) and to then load the dishwasher.
She was indignant, and attitudey, and I told her the truth.
"Perhaps, if you understand how much work I have to do because you don't rinse your own dishes or put them in the dishwasher, or because you just casually use three bowls, six spoons and seven glasses just to make one meal, perhaps you'll appreciate the effort, and you know, STOP MAKING SO MANY MESSES!"
The boys have 'dog toy' duty. They are responsible for putting the dog toys away and taking the toys upstairs after they've played with them. They also have to clear the hall of their toys. This week, they will be doing their new chore: helping unload dishes.
They required some prodding, but it's expected. They are um four.
Drama girl though, well, she's DRAMA. She whined and moaned and though she worked, it did sound like she was being tortured. She calmed down though when Hubby McRed told her the more she moaned and whined and yelped about it, the more we'd give her to do. I was ready to gag her, for all the whining, have you EVER heard an 11 year old whine?
But Hubby McRed took the rags out of my hand.
"You don't understand," he said. "To her, this is torture. I remember dishes and doing them. It's awful, they just pile up, and it seems like they go on for eternity. This is the WORST CHORE for a kid... hey, there are some dishes up here, lets go bring them down..."
It may have been cruel, but it was worth it...
And the whole time I was trying to put into words just WHY besides having a greater understanding of what her obliviousness does, she should do chores, Hubby McRed stepped in with a surprisingly good reason. I mean, I knew the reason, he just had a better way of putting it...
"Drama Girl," he sighed. "You do chores because you're part of the family. Everyone does their part. Doing chores teaches you to respect the work that goes into being part of a family. By doing chores, you become a more responsible respectful person. It makes you a BETTER person. If you never did any chores and you never worked, you wouldn't value anything or care or respect anything. It's not just about doing chores because we don't want to do them. Although we don't. Do you think your mother likes doing dishes every day? And by the way, you and your brothers are doing the dishes every day now..."
See? Wasn't that insightful of him?
And to prove his point, he pointed out who the polite kids were, the kids we liked, that were respectful, well-behaved and liked for who they were... they were all kids we knew who had chores. Then he pointed out the kids that had no chores (Seriously, I have no idea how he knew this...) and asked how she thought they behaved.
Well. It was a winning closing argument.
After her bout with the WORST chore EVER, she did her normal daily chores and then realized she had the whole afternoon to play. See, it wasn't so bad doing chores.
The kicker? Because the universe has lately been very good about reinforcing my points... she knocked on her friends' door, two polite boys that live in our hood... what did they say?
"We'll be out in a half hour. We have to finish our chores..."