Yesterday I was charmed and treated and pampered by my children (ok, they gave me gifts and when I asked them to do chores they said "we have homework"). Today, however, I would like to point out the Anti-Mother's day. What's this you say? It's every day EXCEPT Mother's Day. It's coming downstairs after "my" day to find a half-empty bag of chips spilling out on the kitchen table, a bottle of red liquid (Kool-Aid?) sitting near-full on the table, several paper towels cemented to the counter top, aided by an ice cream scoop full of melted ice cream, miscellaneous sticky spots on the counter top, the sink filled with unrinsed dishes (apples, peanut butter, cereal, there was enough food in there to feed a small country, all swimming lazily around in murky puddles of ick). Dog hair forming tumbleweeds of sorts and rolling down the hallway with the breeze created by a person walking by. My lovely, velvety-soft blankets for the family room (I envisioned the family snuggling under these while watching a movie some Friday night) wadded up on the floor, full of dog hair after being slept on by thankful dogs (what luxury!). Each of my toilets has a pink ring in it, albeit of varying shades (depending on the level of bacteria growing in there? I don't know, I'm no chemist - but my husband is!). There is a wad of hair on or near the top step that's been there for over a week now - it just changes locations depending on who's foot it's been stuck to. I spilled nail polish remover on my bathroom counter and when I wiped it up, a layer of grime attached itself to the towel I was using (how can you not even SEE the dirt until you add water?). I dropped off some conditioner for the kids in their bathroom and, well, I've attached a photo, because while it's not the worst it's ever been, this is what their bathroom looks like MOST of the time! What you can't see in the photo is the underwear turned inside out, still tucked into the jeans, the wrappers from various feminine products strewn about, the odd toothbrush dropped on the floor (once I even found Hayley's headgear on the floor!), and the sprinkles and dustings of various girly makeup products creating a fine mist upon the countertop.
Now, I ask you, what is the solution to this problem? I've begged, cajoled, pleaded, threatened, asked nicely, whined, thrown a fit, ignored, taken away priveleges, demanded and still can't seem to get this "you live in this house, you need to contribute to it's cleanliness" message across. We have chore charts, lists, family meetings. A couple of weeks ago, I decided not to say anything at all, not to mention the mess, nothing. Two weeks went by and the clothes on the bathroom floor grew to dizzying heights. It was like mountain climbing to get to the shower (take some extra water, a flashlight and call me when you arrive safely!). After there was no visible linoeleum left, and one had to literally high-step it across the mounds to reach the toilet, I did hear a few comments such as "wow, there are a lot of clothes on our bathroom floor" and "where are my jeans?" Oh, I was good at this, let me tell you. But I broke. I could only take it so long (and I'm pretty sure one of the children might have been missing for a time). I demanded that they sort the clothes out and bring them into the laundry. There were so many clothes, the hallway had to be utilized to sort them and it took nearly five days to rid the hallway of clothes (keep in mind I have SIX large laundry baskets in the laundry room to hold the various loads - whites, jeans, towels, darks, colors, sheets).
The fact that we could even GO that many days and not need those clothes is testimony to the "too much" syndrome. Perhaps we should pare down to five pairs of underwear each? That might solve the laundry problem, but what about the rest of the house? Popular women's magazines say "dust the baseboards" seasonally. HUH? I have NEVER dusted a baseboard. It's all I can do to dust my shelves in the family room and I'm not ashamed to say I only do that about twice a year. Sure, I Windex the sliding glass door when the dog slobber has rendered it opaque, but there are only so many hours in the day. I'm happy if the kitchen table is wiped off, the chairs are all pushed in and if someone is standing in the doorway, they can only see the "clean" parts of the house. A few vacuum marks on the carpet and I feel like I'm in a showroom home. And if you can walk in my house and smell Pine-Sol instead of wet dog, then it's a red-letter day.
No wonder I'm eating chocolate chips and blogging at two in the afternoon. Happy Anti-Mother's Day!