At the risk of branding myself overly obsessed with all things laundry, there is trouble with a capital T brewing in this house.
No, I’m not talking about the overpowering stank at the bottom of the kids’ hampers. Or socks so stiff and crusty they could walk themselves to the laundry room. It’s not even the omnipresent mountain of clothes that creates a real danger of suffocation should it collapse.
The passage of time has brought forth a new problem, and the struggle is real.
T-man and Bear are some pretty sharp tacks, but there are things that seem to be simply beyond comprehension for these kids. Now, to be fair they are children, so it’s not like I’m expecting them to understand nuclear fusion or metaphysics. They’ve gotta have something to study in college, after all.
That being said, there are some very basic concepts that I’d really think would be no brainers by now. Unless I say “when you feel like it” then I truly mean “now, please” when I give an instruction, regardless of whatever iPad game has its hooks in you. “Putting your shoes away” means a great deal more than shoving them under the nearest coffee table or chair. Leaving empty boxes in the pantry is just mean, and dirty clothes don’t teleport themselves to the laundry room.
But today? Today we’re talking about trash versus recycling.
If the blog could speak, you’d hear that in a four-letter-word tone of voice.
Granted, housecleaning works on a sliding scale for me – some jobs are simply more onerous than others (oooohhh, points for vocabulary) – but I can’t say I dance with joy around my house as I clean. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty safe to say they’ll never cast me in one of those commercials, smiling gleefully as I swish my Swiffer around the room.
If I lived alone this wouldn’t be a problem, but I live with two small humans who leave a wake of destruction that would rival, well, hurricane Gracie. And I can’t exactly claim to be the neatest person in the world. Plus there are two dogs wrecking their own havoc. ‘Nuff said.
We’ve started a new game at our house. Here’s how it goes.
Take one small round basket filled with clean socks and underwear. Place it on the coffee table, making sure it’s smack dab in the middle of everything.
Watching tv? The basket’s there. Reading a book? The basket’s there. Taking a nap, playing your iPad, or cuddling with the dogs? The basket’s always right there.
Proof positive that clean socks and underwear actually exist in our home.
So the question is this: how many days will everyone stare at a basket of clean socks and underwear without folding it? (Note I didn’t say “touching it” because we seem to have no problem pawing through the pile to take out one item at a time.)
And the answer is…
The kids? Indefinitely. That basket could sit there ’til hell freezes over and there’s absolutely no chance one of them would fold what’s in it.
BrightSide? Until I ask him to fold them. Then he’ll spend the next 45 minutes asking, “Are these yours?” “Bear’s?” “What about these socks? Are these Bear’s or T-man’s?”
Me? My record stands at one week. The current basket’s been sitting there since Monday so I have a few days left to bring it in under the wire.
There’s probably something wrong with conducting a social experiment using the clean laundry, but darned if I can think of what it is…
Sometimes it feels like we go from typical life to DEFCON 1 over nothing at all. The kids have a bad day, I’m stressed out about my own stuff, Gracie steals one too many items and we’re off to the races.
I should probably print this post out and put it up someplace where I’ll read it every morning. Every evening wouldn’t hurt either.
“I gave in to temptation and colored my hair right before bed. And then at 11 o’clock P.M. I washed my hair 37 times because hair color called Espresso is called that for a reason…”
Household chores rank right up there with the toilet seat position when it comes to causing discord in a family.
Okay, so I don’t actually have a scientific study to back that up. Let’s just say I have strong anecdotal evidence supporting the theory.
Shaking out who’d be responsible for which household chores was a long, arduous process that I imagine every couple who lives together works through. Not fun, not without the occasional bickering, but extraordinarily necessary because stuff’s gotta get done, you know?
BrightSide works in finances, so he’s super serious about people appreciating all aspects of their fiscal circumstances. This would include understanding assets, expenses, and making responsible spending decisions. The kids’ ages do not exempt them from this condition; rather, it’s because of their ages that we want them to start learning about money now.
With kids and money came a bevy of decisions to make: How much is reasonable for their ages? How often should they get it? Should the money be tied to their chores or should it be separate, used solely for teaching money skills?