Like most kids, they have no problem making the basement and the backyard a complete disaster. Sometimes I wonder if they even play with the toys or if they are actually just taking them out one at a time and strategically placing them around the house so it looks like a tornado came roaring through. I mean, how is it possible to play with every single ball that we own and not one of the balls is within five feet of another or any toy that actually requires a ball? I know the kids did not play with each of the 20 necklaces in the dress up bin yet somehow there is one under the couch, in the cushions, in their beds, and in the bathtub! And I am certain that it is impossible to play with all three bins of kitchen stuff and even though the bins are empty, there is not one item actually in the play kitchen.
It's not really the mess that bothers me. Ok, it is. Who am I kidding? I can't stand when I walk into the basement and can't remember what the color of the carpet is because there has been a blanket of toys for the last three days! It makes my skin crawl, like there are spiders all over me and I just can't shake them off! Maybe that's a little extreme, but I love tidiness and order, I am a full blown type A personality, so to see that NONE of the organization I have put in place is being utilized makes me beyond irritated.
So why is it that when I ask my beautiful, well behaved children to clean up, they have suddenly developed the inability to follow directions? I mean, it's not like a new concept around our house to pick up after ourselves yet every time, it is such a headache. I begin by asking nicely, we may even make a game out of it, or a competition but when I look and see them singing, jumping, laughing and PLAYING, I am no longer in the mood to make it fun. So the conversation then turns to this: "Clean up. Clean up. Clean up. Clean up. Clean up. Clean up!"
Then I turn to, "If this isn't cleaned up, I am putting all the toys on the floor in a bin and we won't play with them for a week!" Only to have my four year old suddenly decide to be helpful by saying, "Here mommy, you can put this one in the bin." Hey, it's supposed to be a punishment buddy! Although I would say, my least favorite response to "clean up" is, "I am" while they are clearly in the midst of building a tower larger than themselves. "Uh, what's that then guys?" "Well, we have to put all the legos in a tower in order to clean them up." As they procrastinate in a job that they will inevitably have to finish, they start to make excuses as to why they just can't clean right now. "I'm starving mom. I really am. I'm so hungry, I can't clean until I have a snack" I don't know how to type that so you can tell the high pitched, whiny, on the verge of crying voice that they use.
Now some of you may be thinking that if I wasn't so type A and they could just dump the toys into big bins rather than organizing them, that clean up would be easier. Let me assure you, this is not the case. Outside we have two large bins and all the kids have to do is fill them up with the toys. We have the same struggles. It makes me wonder if my children's bodies have suddenly become made of tin and they are like the rusty tin woodsman in The Wizard of Oz. Or maybe the consistency of the air has changed to that of thick vanilla pudding.
Whatever it may be, I have the feeling my frustrations with having a clean home are just beginning. I don't even want to imagine what their rooms will look like when they are teenagers! So what are some of your tricks? Would love to hear anyone who has advice on motivating children to clean.
Finally! A clean basement! And I've only given myself a small headache in the process. Now for upstairs.....
Thanks for reading!
Busy Mommy Blogger