There are some things I just won’t do for my kid. I don’t wake her up sweetly by rubbing her back and singing a Good Morning song. In fact, it’s usually “Heeeeyyyyy! Wake up! We’re late! Damnit! Get up!” most mornings if her alarm fails to rile her. I don’t make her a separate dinner when she doesn’t want what we’re having. Look, it’s this shit or you can nuke yourself some chicken nuggets. And I don’t care if you eat chicken nuggets every night all week. You need to diversify those taste buds! And as much as I’d like to sign her up for that nature camp my neighbors are sending their kids to this summer, I’m not going to wait in a fucking line at the gate of the park at 6 a.m. for a spot. Call me a bad mother; I’m just not doing that shit.
But there are some asshole things that I will do and one of those is clean my daughter’s room. Yeah, I said it. I clean her room. I know that sounds absolutely fucking ridiculous. I’m aware I sound like a helicopter mom who wipes her kid’s ass all day and I even felt like one after spending seven (seven; not several. SEVEN.) hours cleaning the upstairs playroom and my daughter’s room like a fucking peasant because I am a control freak.
Control. Really – that’s what it boils down to. I NEED A SEMBLANCE OF CONTROL OVER MY LIFE AND THE ONLY WAY I CAN GET IT IS ORDER. When the house is in chaos and disorder, so am I. I don’t mean I can’t do major life-changing shit. I mean, I can’t even wash towels. When the house is chaotic, all I can do is give up and nap. And since spring is the season of productivity – it was time to get shit in order.
And yes, I can be a tad bit anal retentive. I have her art supplies all separated and labeled by type in the Trofast storage system from Ikea. And when I find out she’s mixed her markers with her colored pencils and her crayons with her stickers – Yes, I about lose my shit.
Please know that I try really hard to be laid back. I try to let her be herself. I just don’t go upstairs at all because that way – I can’t criticize and yell at her for the condition of the totally redone room that I just recreated in August. I can’t bitch and complain that I can’t even make a path through all of the shit on the floor and WHY ARE YOU COLLECTING ROCKS AND KEEPING THEM AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS? I even told the cleaning ladies to skip cleaning the upstairs two visits in a row because my spawn began to assume that cleaning up was something the cleaning ladies would handle for her. I tried all of that reverse psychology shit but and just didn’t work. And I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I needed control.
That’s because when we let kids be “themselves” we’re letting them be disgusting little maggots who do things like draw all over their brand new desk or hide old grapes under their bed. (Sidenote: Old grapes DO NOT turn into wine.) It turns out that when you’ve been folding all of their tiny little clothes all of this time and telling them to put them away – they’ve just been throwing shit on the floor of their closet. They’ve mixed Play Doh with Barbie horse hair. They’ve been practicing their chemistry skills by creating their own perfume in the bathroom made up of stolen scented lotion from under their mother’s bathroom cabinet, water and God knows what else.
What is this upstairs rebellion? What mutiny occurred that made her think this was permissible?
After about three months of just avoiding going upstairs to see the mess, I couldn’t take it anymore. I could see it creeping down the stairs. I noticed it in the landing area when I walked in the house. I climbed to the top of the mountain and decreed that NO ONE would be having ANY fun this weekend until the playroom and my daughter’s rooms were both cleaned.
And NO ONE had any fun.
Every corner I turned, I found some other vile decision made by an 8-year-old and her friends that gave me that crazy-eyed look. We tackled her bedroom and the shame she’s been hiding in her closet like dirty clothes I haven’t seen since January. (I knew I bought her some dresses this fall!) We went through old shoes and clothes and created a giveaway pile as purging is one of my favorite activities. I found all of her hidden toy spots and organized those into their proper places. We cleaned the playroom and organized all of her toys into their specifically-labeled boxes, pleasing the organization gods. Doll clothes were with dolls clothes. Nerf toys were with Nerf toys. Figurines were with the figurines. And all was well again. I felt like the motherfucking fairy godmother (with a worse attitude) in Cinderella, creating magic with my wand and turning shit into … cleaner shit. And all of the chaos that dances in my head on a regular basis settled and I could breathe.
And after seven hours of hard labor, occasional yelling or getting scary quiet enough that my daughter would make ass-savings comments like “Thank you, Mommy, for buying me all of these toys” with that frightened look on her face, we were over the mountain.
THIS UPSTAIRS IS CLEAN.
So yeah, I’m one of those assholes that cleans my kid’s room but my motivations are really just selfish and self-serving so I’m actually an even bigger asshole. I need order and control! And really – my kid paid her debt to society by having to listen to me bitch for seven hours straight. What embarrassing parent thing (that most people would never understand) do you do?