“It’s good to leave your room super-messy when you’re away. Whoever tries to break into your room will think it has already been ransacked.” Douglas Adams
Not my actual home office, but not far off.
(Image courtesy of Google Images)
What I see as I sit in my home office beyond my desk consists of some unfinished puzzles, a couple of pompoms, a corral of miniature toy animals, a princess crown and some deathtrap of plastic pieces and marbles strewn across the floor. It’s looked exactly this way since Monday, when the kids were off from school and home with their dad.
Lest you think I’m pointing any fingers of responsibility at their Daddy for letting this disaster exist, I need to tell you that I have entered and exited this room, stepping over and picking my way through the detritus, every single day this week, several times a day, whereas he has not but crossed the threshold.
I’ve asked my darling children no less than 392 times to please clean up their toys, lest they get stepped on, are the cause of Mama slipping and breaking her ass, or get tossed in the garbage. They came up with 392 excuses as to why it couldn’t be done:
“But Mama, I’m going to play with all of that a little later!”
“But Mama, it’s not my mess!”
“But Mama, I have to do my homework!”
“I have to go potty RIGHT NOW!”
“My arms hurt!”
You get the idea, right? And each time, I’ve let it slide because I have my own list of excuses. I’m making dinner, I’m finishing up some work, I’m getting the other kid in the bath, and of course my everyday default excuse: I’M JUST TIRED.
So what’s a busy Mama to do? I want my children to be neat and to pick up after themselves, but I have at least 392 reasons why I can’t (don’t) make the time to patiently make these lessons clear. Somehow, in my mind, it’s easier to ask, repeatedly, then lose my shit, then pick it all up myself when I eventually get around to it.
Is it self-sabotage? Laziness? Or just prioritization? When I think about it, not only would I like my children to be neat and pick up after themselves, I’d also like them to do everything I tell them to do without argument or question. I’d like it if at least one of them would eat something besides carbs, sugar and cheese. I’d like it if the other one didn’t take such particular delight in farting on me. I’d like it if there were never any screaming or arguing or pooping, barfing, or wiping of noses on my shoulder.
But then again, as my little one is rubbing her nose on my shoulder right now with her arm wrapped around my neck, I have to admit that I’m okay with some messes and some screaming, because life would be pretty boring without it. And if they were completely compliant, obedient children, I think I’d have a lot more to worry about. And look at this, she’s now putting the marbles away…oh wait, no she’s not, she’s playing. So I guess she did intend to play with all this stuff later after all.