My kids hate my lists. I LOVE my lists. I especially love lists written on a sheet of fresh, crisp notepaper, or a sticky "list" post-it note. Those are list nirvana right there. And I very much enjoy crossing things off my lists. Once, I even wrote down everything I had done instead of what I needed to do because then I could cross everything off! YAY! Ok, so I'm a little listaholic. But the point is, lists make things easy. They make things clear and there's no misinterpretation to be had. And therein lies the problem.
When you write something on a list, certain people (my children) take them VERY literally. So, I am unable to write a list such as "clean house, do laundry, make dinner" because 1. my kids would say "make DINNER? Is she kidding?" and 2. their idea of "clean house" involves putting all the crap into piles and pushing everything to the perimeter of the room. Therefore, I must make lists that say things like "put socks on stairway into your laundry basket" or "empty the 2 1/2 pounds of yeast you spilled, then vacuumed up, out of the cannister so it doesn't blow up". If I put "clean kids' bathroom" on the list, that may involve one party picking up only their clothes off the floor, or another party cleaning just the countertop (by scooping everything into a drawer and running a tissue over the surface). So, I have to be specific.
Today, for instance, my list did not include specific instructions to clean up the family room. Now, common sense would dictate that if it's your crap, pick it up. But common sense is in short supply around here, so child A thought child B should pick it all up because it was her job to vacuum, but most of the mess actually belonged to child C. Again, common sense would dictate that child B would ask child C in a nice way (i.e. NOT "pick up your stuff, you troglodyte!") to pick up his things so that she could vacuum. When I indicated that the perpetrator should pick up the mess, child A said to me "Well, it wasn't on the list!" Oh, my.
So, I guess I am going to have to start making lists even more specific. Like "after pouring cereal, fold down bag and shut box and replace in pantry where you found it", and "don't sleep in a sleeping bag on top of your covers because you're too lazy to make your bed", and "the entire house is not a shoe rack". Before you know it, I'm going to have to include things such as "Take shit. Wipe ass." I mean, seriously? Does everything have to be spelled out? What ever happened to common sense, seeing something out of place and fixing it, or putting things back after you use them? Or doing things for the common good? Holy cow, would it kill kids these days to pick up the Tootsie Pop wrapper after they drop it, instead of leaving it on the floor for three days until I cave in and pick it up myself? ("But it's so FAR down there and I'd have to BEND and my back HURTS and it's not even mine....blah, blah, whine, whine).
I'll keep making my lists. Because even if they do not appreciate the convenience and sense of making a list and checking it twice, I can at least look and see what they have checked off and what they consider "done". And no one can say "I forgot" because it's right there, on the sticky-note list. CHECK!