Friday, May 2, 2014

Clean it up.

I was talking to one of my neighbors the other day about a song writing challenge he's doing with some friends. Each week one of them comes up with a topic or theme and everyone has to write a song within the guidelines.

When it was his turn to come up with a challenge, he asked everyone to write a song for kids about cleaning their room. Not because he thought it would be a particularly fun thing to write about, but because he has two kids and has had it up to HERE with trying to get them to clean their damn rooms!

I was shocked. Their house always seems so clean and organized! I guess I just assumed his children were freaks of nature who picked up after themselves like it was no big deal. Because surely that happens somewhere, right?

I gotta say, it was kind of nice to hear that I'm not the only parent on the block banging my head against the wall, trying to decide between yelling at my kids or tripping over toys for the rest of my life. It made me wonder if I'm transparent enough with some of the BS that goes on around my house. Because thinking other people have it all together when you don't (and, ps, we all don't), is really hard. I hope I share enough of the bad with the good for you to know I'm not some perfect a-hole. If I don't, I think it's just because it's really hard to find time to write when everything is cattywompus. And when I do find time? I'm much more likely to use it drowning my sorrows in a bucket of wine than I am sitting at the computer.

But there's something to it, you know? Something really nice about knowing that EVERYONE struggles. So I'm gonna work on that. In the meantime, just know this: just because I usually try to find a silver lining does not mean we don't have cloudy days.

Anyway. The actual point of me writing this was the cleaning. Which is an ever loving nightmare in our house. Seriously. It's like the one thing we consistently struggle with. You name a bad way to get your kids to clean up, and I've done it. I yell, I threaten to throw things away, I do throw things away...

I box stuff up and stick it in the basement and when no one notices after a while, I donate it.

I shame the kids for being spoiled and not deserving they toys they have.

I give up and leave it messy.

It's pretty much a never ending battle. But today, I had a victory.

Bill was coming home from a work trip so I wanted the house to look nice for him (it SUCKS to come home to a messy house). We had a few errands to run and time was getting away from us so I knew we didn't have time to fight about cleaning up. Especially because the boys had created a "series of African trees for their giraffes to eat while they went on an adventure and a date" which is to say, every single pillow was somewhere on the floor (plus, the normal mess from the morning).

I considered how many times I would have to say "clean up" before we had to leave and I realized I just didn't have it in me. Suddenly I had a ding (what the boys say when they have a good idea). I needed a clean up song.

I searched on Spotify and found a few that would totally work. Without warning, I turned one of them on LOUD and stood in the hallway where the boys could see me with my hands on my hips. They both came out of their room looking a little confused and found me standing there with a smile, nodding along to the song. Without a single word passing between us and no hesitation whatsoever, they both started cleaning up. I swear. It was like an honest-to-god miracle.

By the time we'd listened to maybe 4 songs, everything was put away. EVERYTHING. There is no way this has ever happened before. When I complimented them on the hallway and living room (where most of the pillows were), Liam was like, "You should see our room!" It was also clean. I am still sort of in shock. It's one thing to get it done but to get it done that fast? A total first in my house.

I now have a go-go playlist and a new lease on life. And if stops working? Barney on repeat.

1 comment:

German Zollinger said...

Wow, you must have been really happy and relieved! Kids can be quite messy, so having them clean their own mess must have been quite a moment for you. Now if only children's TV emphasized cleaning enough, perhaps most children would be concerned with cleaning up after themselves. At least you've found a solution!

German Zollinger @