Torment of the Tidy


I am not OCD with cleanliness.  I do prefer to be organized and have things in their place.  Having kids…err, living with kids creates a direct conflict to being a tidy person.

I used to be way more tidy when I was younger and the days before having kids around.  My college roommate Adam can attest to this.  He was not so tidy. Everyday he would return to our dorm room and flop his book bag right behind the chair to my desk.  Every time I needed to use the desk, I had to push the damn thing out of the way.  It drove me crazy.  Adam never grasped what the bid deal was.  After a while, I know he did it just to get a rise out of me.

Fast forward to the toddler years.  All the stuff that accumulates with having babies/toddlers/kids is a maddening.  I quickly learned to let it go.  It starts with the primary colored rattles, swings, saucers, special spoons and bowls, sippy cups, and all the other wrangling devices we use to confine the toddlers. These just make their home in the living room for about 2 years.  Your house looks like the physical therapy gym for Willie Wonka’s staff.

 

Why can’t it look like the Pottery Barn for Kids ad ?!?!?!?!?!!?!

Our kids are old enough now to manage their own tidying.   Notice that I said “old enough” and not “willing”.  It’s a slow program thus far.  They do a fair job at “cleaning their rooms” which is to say the merely move all the crap from one location to another with a slightly less cluttered feel.

*Warning* If you are full OCD, you should probably stop reading now or pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with your therapist.

The behavior that drives me nuts?  Leaving things around.  They leave their socks in every room.  And not just a pair, they leave one sock here and another sock over there as if they are leaving breadcrumbs to find their way back.  I don’t get it.  They leave the drawers open after they retrieve something.  Board games are never put back together and they leave the pieces and cards all over.  I have a basket in their room where I simply toss the random stuff to be later sorted out.

Our house was built to accommodate a small version of the Brady Bunch.  The kids rooms adjoin with a bathroom.  Two sinks, one for each.  Shower and toilet.  You’d think the universe is in order.   Oh… NoOOOO!!!!   The little buggers have to use our bathroom.  Is there some human nature where primping is communal?  It was our desire for them to use THEIR bathroom, to have them fight over the time spent in there and bond over the experience.  Mostly just don’t mess up our bathroom.  Isolate your filth in your bathroom.  It hasn’t worked.

In our bathroom, Emmie leaves her box of earrings on the counter all the time and neglects to put back in the drawer.  She brushes her teeth in our bathroom and leaves her toothbrush laying out.  She will shower in our bathroom and leave her dirty clothes on the floor.   …are you dialing your therapist yet?

I will be in the other room knowing she is brushing her teeth and hear the “SPLEUPHT” of  her spitting efforts.  I use the term “spitting” quite loosely.  It resembles the sloppy sneeze of a rhino instead of the precise spit of a viper (“spsst”).   The end result is a constant dried pasty film on the sink basin and sometimes the clump of toothpaste that never seems to breakdown during the brushing process.  It’s annoying and disgusting.

The bedrooms are insanity.  Toys and pieces of toys are everywhere.  About twice a year we will get in there and go through everthing and tidy up by consolidating those board game pieces, throw out old toys, DVD’s back in their jewel cases, and generally put things in their place.

The Little Pet Shop toys are the worst.   Each character has 23 pieces.  Where do all the stuffed animals come from?  I fear I am going to move the stuffed animals and find ET staring back at me.

This euphoria of tidiness lasts about 10 hours.  And within 2 days, it looks as if nothing was ever cleaned up.  The room looks like mobsters came in to ransack the place.

The kitchen.  You can imagine.  Adults are bad enough.  Kids leave wrappers everywhere, crumbs, and the floor is nothing but dried mac and cheese and cereal bits.  Here is a slight upside though.  Go buy a rechargeable vacuum that can be quickly deployed for getting that stuff sucked up.  The kids actually like to do this one.  We bought the Electrolux broom.  It is a dust buster on a stick but with more umph than what we grew up with.

We have tried to implement programs of allowance.  They don’t last.  The kids are well fed, their clothes are clean, so why should they bother.  We figured that throwing a few sheckles at them, they might come around.  We share the same last name which means we can’t violate any labor laws.

I have but one victory in all of this chaos. I have successfully trained them to leave the TV remote in the same place. Thank God for that.

I suppose I will just have to live with it.  Or I can kick my other plan into action.  I want to hire a non-english speaking 18 year old Swedish maid.  I am taking applications.  I will do my due diligence and check references on Angie’s List.

Send photo’s with resume.

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