Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Breathe in, breathe out...

My favorite laptop appears to be dead as a doornail. So I started to use the desk top that normally gets used by the kids. Last night, it got sick with a nasty virus and until it gets cleaned, I can't even turn the darn thing on. DH is in the process of cleaning it, but it isn't a quick fix. The virus it got is the same one it got before. Either all the anti-virus updates that we use are completely no good or the darn thing never got cleaned in the first place (which also means all the anti-virus updates we have are no good.) So, now I get to use my LEAST favorite computer just to feel like I am not completely separated from the real world. This is making me feel grouchy and mean.

I know I shouldn't complain. Some people don't have any computers and here I am griping about having three. It would be much easier to be appreciative, though,  if the keys were all where they were supposed to be (why is the Del next to the space bar?) and if the N key was actually there (instead of a space that I have to pound where the N should be.) So I have to use a portable extra keyboard which is exactly like the laptop's keyboard. Grrrrr.... Also, if my hooflings would stop being nasty to each other, I would be eternally grateful. Somehow each of them came home with separate, grouchy moods and it's making the perfect storm of ugliness around here.

There are only two half days of school left of this year and instead of making the girls giddy with anticipation, all three of them have bad attitudes! What is up with that? We had a nice and relaxing three-day weekend so they aren't tired and worn out. Truly I don't know what t he problem is and I don't entirely care. I just want it to stop. I have a hard enough time getting motivated  to just get out of bed. Dealing with bickering and back talk and arguing is just more than I care to put up with.

I'm starting to feel like one of "those" moms. The ones you see in the store with the unruly kids and they just keep yelling and swearing at everything the kids do? Ok, I'm probably not THAT bad, but I don't like feeling like this. I tell the kids, "finish your snack and get started on the chores you didn't finish last night."
Suddenly, I'm a monster. I get disgusted looks of shock and I'm immediately barraged with reason's why they just CAN'T, and how tired they are and how it just isn't fair...Seriously? I'm asking you to pick up your OWN dirty clothes here, not trek, uphill, three miles in the snow.

I don't think I am being unreasonable. Each of them has a section of the house that they are responsible for. LH does the living room and the bedroom. EG does the bathroom and sorts the dirty laundry. TD takes care of the kitchen, but they all do the dishes. DH handles the laundry and the money making. I handle everything else. I don't think it is that big a deal. Any of the areas could be completed in 15 minutes or less (if they didn't spend 45 minutes griping and then put it off for three days.) I admit, my kids have more responsibilities than most of their friends do. (I overheard one of the teens complaining that SHE had to WALK THE DOG EVERY DAY!!! Oh, the humanity!) But, I don't think it is out of the realm of fairness to ask them to do it. for ten years I was in charge of all of it and I only asked them to keep up their rooms. Well, now, I admit that I can't do it all, but it still has to be done.

If they would simply take care of their own stuff, they wouldn't really have a problem. They just don't MAKE SENSE that way. They have to come home from school and explode all over the living room, get a snack and leave a trail of food-mess all over the house like a messy snail track, and fling clothes in every room of the house while getting dressed for bed. No matter the routines I write down, or the rules I yell about, or the threats I make, or pleading I do the house always looks like I have a gaggle of toddlers in here. Actually, I think it looked better when they WERE all toddlers.

My kids all share one bedroom for the time being, so I know they don't have much room for their own things or even really to play in the there. That means is they want to relax, they either mess up their room (that is already a wreck) or they drag their stuff into our one living area. I'll give you one guess where the entire Littlest Pet Shop collection is right now (and it isn't in the LABELED DRAWER that was created for them.) The dining area is connected to the kitchen, so cooking and eating usually take place in almost the same space. I would think that this would mean things are CLEANER because it is only three steps from the dining table to the sink. Not so. It just means the kids get grouchier and more overwhelmed looking at the table AND the counters at the same time.

Laundry? I don't even know why I bother. Once DH washes and dries everything he takes the baskets out of the laundry area so they don't get confused with the dirty stuff and rewashed. Ah, but where do they go? In the dining room (because it shares the doorway with the dining area) or in the living room because it is not quite as far as going ALL THE WAY DOWN THE HALL to the bedrooms. IF the clothes baskets ever make it to the appropriate bedroom, that is usually as far as it will go. Apparently, taking something out of a basket and putting it in the dresser (directly in front f you) is far too much work to do (for anyone but me. (I admit I have clean clothes on  the foot of my bed but that has more to do with the closet door being blocked by the dog than anything else.). It's just too hard. That must be why it never gets done. By the time the clothes are dirty and (eventually) make it back to the laundry room, there is a good chance that they have never even seen the dresser drawer. Most likely they were pulled out of the basket, already unfolded and rumpled, worn until they were about to walk by themselves, and then they were tossed in the bathroom hamper and left until the last moment when it was absolutely necessary for it to be worn.

This house is tiny. I think the first apartment I lived in was probably about the same size as this. We don't have room for clutter or mess. Just walking around makes me crazy. But, actually cleaning up everyone else's mess makes me angry on top of worn out. I hate not wanting to let people in the house when they knock on the door, and not having a good place to let the kids do their homework or color and draw. There isn't a place to practice musical instruments or work on posters and projects for school. Maybe this house would work better if we didn't all have so many hobbies, but that would not be nearly as interesting.

I hope you will excuse my monthly rant about housework. I have been working so hard lately trying to get back on track energy-wise, and it feels like the more I do, the less the kids help and the more mess they make. I can't wrap my brain around this. EG has never known me before I got sick. She has only ever known me to be slow and tired and need help. TD was only two when I got sick. It doesn't make sense that they think I am going to go behind them and clean up their disaster area. I never have before. With LH, I can almost understand it, she is rather self-focused much of the time, so if it doesn't get up and bite her, she will never notice it.

In any case, I have stopped being nice and I no longer can tolerate the mess or their general ignorance of it. I hate to have them trapped inside all summer simply because they won't wipe up the PB&J off the counter or move their shoes out of the walkway, but that is about what it is going to come down to. If they won't do it, neither will I. And if they refuse to do the simplest of things, like throwing a PAPER PLATE into the garbage, then maybe I won't do the simplest thing like take them to the pool, the shopping mall, the park...even the grocery store. I'm going to give them until 10:00 each morning to get their 15 minutes of chores done every day. If it isn't done by then, the day's plans get canceled. That's really a shame, too, because I really wanted to get a tan this summer.

What do you guys think? Am I being unfair? Too strict? A big meanie head? Expecting too much of a 13, 9, and 7 yr old? Or is it reasonable to expect them to be able to clean up by themselves, the mess that they made by themselves? Sound off and let me hear what you think.

Deb "The Mean Mom" Lollar

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