|Not my house, but let's be honest. It feels like this sometimes. Read on.|
This parenting thing keeps getting a bit more trying.
I don't love trying. I prefer easy. I like easy recipes, easy crosswords and easy crochet patterns.
I avoid unintended stress and chose to challenge myself in other ways...
My daily challenge is to not lose it.
(I've been failing.)
Oh, these children.
I've become my Mother. (So says everyone at some point, right?)
I do this thing... when I walk around my house and see the girls toys... e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, I have to remind myself to breathe. I have to to calm myself down because their stuff. It's everywhere.
Now, let me tell you - I'm not very particular at all. I have absolutely no OCD traits. In fact, you can leave every cabinet door open, turn the volume up to whatever number on the TV (it doesn't have to be odd or even - I don't care) you prefer – and I'll be fine.
But the toys everywhere? With no putting away before moving on to MORE messes?
The toys will be on the floor in the living room, dining room, on the floor, in the hallway, by the door, on the bar stools in the kitchen, on the counter, on the stairs, in their room, in their playroom, in the family room, on the front patio, on the back patio... It's the million little collections strewn haphazardly all over that drive.me.insane.
I'm fine with toys awry – but WHY, OH WHY, can't I have ONE room that is free and clear of doll clothes, small plastic pieces, marker lids and Lila's ever-growing collection of paper things.
Her: "I'm saving that, Mommy."
Me: "YOU DO NOT NEED TO SAVE ALL THE PAPER THINGS, LILA. MEMORIES BELONG IN YOUR HEART, NOT ALL OVER THE HOUSE."
Her: "But it's special."
(I told you I was failing.)
So that thing I do? When there is stuff strewn everywhere? I call out a warning in a calm tone, "Oh no, Mommy's going to lose it. I'm going to lose it."
They know this now. They know it's code for, "She's going to pile all of our stuff that's all over the house into one pile and then she's going to tell us to put it away. She may even throw some of our stuff into that pile. It's best to lay-low and not speak."
That's what I do.
They start scrambling once I make the losing-it announcement, trying to get to their piles of stuff everywhere... but I beat them! I pick up the Barbie dolls, the Spiderman(s), the books, the notebooks, the doll clothes, the random cardboard things and I start tossing them into an obnoxious pile in the center of the room/house. And I do it with glee. (I enjoy it. Not lying. It's almost as great as popping bubble wrap bubbles. It's like peeling a hard-boiled egg in one piece.)
Then I tell them, "I'm LOSING IT." (This is to assure that they're totally in the EYE of the storm.)
(See? I'm nuts.)
I'm yelling by this point, usually - because I'm not a quiet Mom. I'm a yeller: "PUT THIS STUFF AWAY. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. PUT IT WHERE IT GOES. YOUR THINGS, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AND WE DO NOT NEED TO HAVE EVERYTHING YOU OWN ALL OVER THE HOUSE AT ALL TIMES."
They'll flit about, putting things away quickly - anywhere they can think of - which only further ignites my toys-everywhere-induced rage. I then say, "DON'T DO IT THE EASY WAY, DO IT THE RIGHT WAY."
I repeat that at least 4 times. (Incidentally, I don't find repetition to be all that effective of a deterrent, but it annoys them - and sometimes that's just as great.)
So, 5 minutes later I've calmed down. The house is tidier. The stuff is put away. And then they go on their merry way thinking, "Whew. She's crazy. But man, I do like my playroom neater..."
"Mommy, doesn't this organized doll house look so nice?"
But it doesn't stop them.
Not but 60 minutes later I could repeat the entire occurrence above...
And I do. (It's my responsibility as a parent. I can't ignore the mess. That's taking the easy way, I need to do the right thing. So, I do...)
I start with, "Oh no, Mommy's going to lose it. I'm going to lose it..."
...you know where it goes next.