Monday, November 19, 2007

Messy Monday

Why, oh why does it look like a tornado ripped through my house every Monday? You'd think we'd had a marching band over to practice outside in the mud and then invited them in for snacks along with a half dozen sled dogs, the Bears defense, five clog dancers, ten toddlers, a horse, a dozen pigs, four coal miners, and the host of Dirty Jobs before he'd showered. Not that my house is so spotless during the week, but something happens to it on Saturday and Sunday. Something so extraordinary that it takes me the whole day on Monday to get it back in order.

During the week my kids do their version of cleaning in their rooms. It's notsomuch clean, but at least everything is kind of shoved out of the way. You know, clean folded clothes under the bed where you can't see them. Dirty laundry on the floor of the closet. Old food items in the toy safe. This is how my husband cleans. He figures if you can't see it, it's clean. To that end, he makes sure that anything left sitting out, gets either shoved in a closet or thrown out. Ta da! Clean! He stinks at that part of cleaning. On the other hand, he's good at the scrubbing part of cleaning, so I can't complain. Or rather, I shouldn't complain, even though I still do. He'll clean the bathroom, wash the floors, vacuum, clean the kitchen, and yes, he even does windows. I hate doing that stuff. I do it, but I don't like it. In an absurd sort of way, I enjoy the organizing kind of cleaning. Putting everything away where it belongs. Videos on the shelf, game pieces with the right game in the right box, Barbies in the doll box, Hot Wheels in the car box. Misc. food and other garbage in the trash. I don't think my husband gets the way I clean. In order to clean a room, I have to first destroy it. Does anyone else do this? I clear out all the junk that's not where it's supposed to be and scoop it into a pile. Then I carefully make sure everything gets back to its proper home.

Today I had this brilliant idea. I decided to pull the carpeting out of the girls' room. It's nasty and stained. God only knows what kind of stuff has been spilled in there over the years. There's a giant blue drawing of a potato person in the middle of the floor courtesy of Clay. It's been shampooed and extracted a hundred times. Every time it's cleaned, I think it attracts even more dirt. It was time to get rid of it. I'm glad I took it out, but boy, was that a project and a half.

So I managed to get the house fairly clean today. It no longer looked like a tornado had hit it. By early afternoon it only looked like a small wrestling match had taken place here. And then the kids got home from school. While I was ripping out carpeting, they were busy redecorating in the Early American Tornado period. When I came out of the girls' room and saw the disaster that was once the family room, I lost it. I had my little tirade, then sat down with a magazine and told the kids that they were cleaning the family room while I rested and read my magazine.

Why is it that kids suddenly act all stupid when you ask them to do something? My son had been giving me all sorts of details on these video games he wants for Christmas. He knew everything about them. My other son had just been reciting copious amounts of information on the care and feeding of chameleons. However, when it came to cleaning up the room, this is what I heard.
KIDS: What should we do?
ME: Clean it up.
KIDS: But how (whine whine whine)
ME: Figure it out.
KIDS: Where does this book go?
ME: The same place it's been for the last ten years.
KIDS: Well, I don't know where it goes!
ME: On the bookshelf!
KIDS: OK, can we go now?
ME: Is it clean yet?
KIDS: I think so.
ME: You picked up one book. Do you see all the other crap stuff on the floor?
KIDS: Yeah, but I didn't get it out.
ME: I didn't eat your dinner, yet I cooked it for you. I washed the dishes. I didn't wear your clothes, yet I washed, dried, and folded them for you. CLEAN IT UP!
KIDS: OK, I put two things away. Can I go now?
ME: Yeah, you can go. You can go to bed if cleaning this one room is too hard for you.
Meanwhile, the three year old is blasting off into space because well, because that's what he does. The one year old is walking around with a juice box that she grabbed off the table and is squirting juice from the straw all over the place.

Guess how much of that magazine I read?

I think, from now on, I'll just leave it messy until they're all in college.


Aubrey said...

I tear a room apart before organizing it too--so does my sister, my mom, my aunts, and probably my grandma. My daughter, however, is still learning.

VanDerHoekArt said...

Too bad you didn't decide to name the kids after famously destructive tornados. Rats, I wish I had thought of that before my firstborn came along!

I agree, that show you posted the video from "Yo Gaba Gaba" is awful.

VanDerHoekArt said...

Did I say tornados? I meant hurricanes!

busyAZmom said...

Hi Dawn,

I am one of 7 children. My mother (she had 7 in 10 years) had a strategy to keep the house in order without working 24 hours a day and losing her mind.

She divided up the chores between us and we were assigned one thing a week (besides making our beds and keeping our "area" of our rooms clean). We'd do dishes for a week, vacuum for a week, clean the bathroom for a week, etc. and change chores at the end of the week. This worked quite well and it taught us how to do each chore well. We also had a greater sense of sympathy for our sibling on that particular job because we all had experienced it. Oh, and one more thing ... the house was cleaned every day so we didn't have to spend the entire day on Saturday cleaning. Today, we're all grown with homes and families of our own and our homes are kept quite tidy.

So, it's possible. Your older ones can help you out. Even the little ones will get a kick out of helping set the table, sort the laundry, etc.

One day, you'll get to read that magazine ... hang in there girl!

Kate said...

Oh my gosh, you had me in hysterics. Even though my little ones aren't that old (2 1/2 years and 10 1/2 months) it brought back memories of my own childhood. My Mum used to pick everything up off the floor, under the bed, cupboards and desks, dump it on the bed and make us put everything away properly. She used to do this on the last day of school term, so we weren't allowed to go to see our friends!

I love your blog, you are superwoman!

Dawn said...

Loved it...I know it's not funny for you at the time but at least everyone else can get a good chuckle from your pain. Have fun cleaning!!!

JenH said...

I only have 2 children but it almost always looks like the place where dirty clothes, toys, dishes, food, crayons, little chopped up... well ANYTHING (I dunno what it is with children and cutting everything into 1000 little pieces), video games, computer games, books, and DVDs come to die. When people throw things away I am pretty sure my home is where those things end up. I swear my oldest is a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, tidal wave, and locust infestation all rolled into one.

That said, I've recently started boycotting cleaning certain rooms where they make the biggest messes. I figure they are old enough to start picking up after themselves. So far it's not going well.

That conversation you had with your kids sounds like the same one I have with my own kids daily. It's always great when I send them to clean a room and they come back 15 seconds later asking if they are done. If I slammed 10 energy drinks I wouldn't be able to clean a room that fast after they've messed it up! My favorite part though is when you ask if it's clean yet and they say "I think so." I am getting SO sick of hearing that. We already know kids have selective hearing... I'm pretty convinced they have selective sight too. Probably selective smell too.

jerosson said...

I do the exact same thing! It looks so bad when I 'clean' that it looks worse than when I started..yet I know when I'm done all the 'junk' will be put away. Sadly, I just 'cleaned' the house for my mother-in-law, and I just didn't have the time to go through all of it, so I now have 4 plastics bins of junk from all of the drawers in both my bathrooms, my bedroom side table, and my kitchen 'junk' drawers!!! One day I'm sure I'll go through it all...I love your blog, thank you so much for making me feel so 'normal', ok, maybe we're not normal but I know I'm not alone!

Donna said...

If a messy house would make the host from Dirty Jobs show up, I'm never cleaning again. Who am I kidding? He could come to my house now and not feel out of place.

Anonymous said...

You literally had me LOL! This is the first time I've posted, but I love to read your blog!

Scottish Mummy said...

Dawn, I work with the same theory: you have to make a mess, to clear a mess. It's just in my house we get stuck at pulling everything out to re-organise, which is why after 3 weeks the living room is still half painted and we can only watch TV leaning against the two sofas, rather than sitting on them! Have a good day.

Becky said...

Oh, Dawn, I know those feelings well. Weekends and school breaks are the worst, and usually look like a bomb went off in our home. The carnage is usually left to me to deal with when everyone (except little brother)goes back to school and work, and usually takes me a couple of days to get things back to my usual standard of order. You're not alone!

I look at it this way...I had a very fastidious housekeeper grandmother whose home felt like a museum for nice things we couldn't touch. Then I had a laid-back grandma whose house I was free to make messes in. It was in the latter house that I learned to cook, bake, sew, quilt, play scrabble and a host of other things that my other grandma (though she was a better cook and knew many valuable skills she could have taught us)would never have tolerated due to the mess aspect. This more lax grandma took the time to invest in us, the people in the home, instead of the house itself. Yeah, it was always a bit on the cluttered side, but we always felt welcome and loved there.

I like to think that my house being a little on the cluttered side most of the time means that I'm fostering creativity in my kids and making them feel loved, warm and secure. ;O) That's what I try and tell myself, anyway, lol.

Frogmorest said...

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk while it's still snowing." I'm tempted to just GIVE them the house and buy a new one personally ;)

ACB said...

Man I have this exact same problem, except with just one. Believe me, he makes enough messes for six. And does the "I'm too tired to clean" whine, or the "Can you help me" whine. Blargh!

I too am fond of finding homes for things when I clean. To me if the toys are put away randomly, it's not clean. They have to be put in their specific "homes" for me to be satisfied. Which is highly frustrating, no? Hey at least yours are still in school. I've got mine home for a whole week!

Anna said...

Hey Dawn!
Finally figured I'd write to you. I have been reading your blog for so long, ever since stumbleupon brought it to me. What you write reminds me sooo much of my childhood (I'm 21 and I don't really think of having children right now ;)). We were three kids and one stay at home mom and scenes like these happened all the time. Monday was particularly bad, as my Mom used to have her cleaning day on Mondays. I always tried to stay at school as long as possible.
The helplessness your kids face when trying to clean up is known to me as well. I used to sit down in my messy room and cry until somebody else did it. ;-)
Keep on writing, I love your blog!

Jill said...

Were you at my house Saturday? That conversation with your children was eerily familiar.
My daughter doesn't think she can clean her room unless I am in there to help her. Her definition of me helping her is for me to clean while she plays with all of the toys that I find under her bed and in her closet.
My son (12) just doesn't see the point. "Why does my room need to be clean anyway?"
"So it looks good" I tell him.
"So what if I like the way it looks when it's all messy?"
" I don't like the way it looks" I say.
"So don't look at it."
Really, it's not so much how it looks as how it smells. There is the distinct odor of feet, mixed with something else, I'm not sure what. However, he does have a toy safe..............
A few years ago we told our three oldest children that for every day that their room was clean we would give them a dollar.
In the last three years, I think we've paid out about $17.00 total.
I had to laugh when you detailed your method of cleaning. I do the exact same thing, everything has to have a home. "A place for everything, and everything in it's place."
My problem is that I don't allow enough time to finish cleaning a room, and end up in the stage where the mess is worse, and then I wonder why I bothered.
My biggest headache is the kitchen counter. I get it clean, and then everyone thinks it is their duty to fill it up. Backpacks, mail, books, school projects, toys, hangers, used lollipop sticks....(Come on people, the garbage can is right there, less than a foot away!!)
I especially love it when there is a stack of school papers, and someone spills Kool-aid, and does not bother to wipe it up. I find it hours later, after the Kool-aid has soaked the papers and stained the counter. We have turned in some very colorful reading charts.
I keep telling the kids that if the house is clean Mommy will be in a better mood, and when Mom is happy, everyone is happy!
So far, thery're not buying it.
Thanks for your blog Dawn! I really needed this one today.

roseys madhouse said...

Boy oh boy do I totallly understand. We are having a party here in 4 more sleeps and I have got to clean the house but I putting it off till thurday so that way come saturday there wont be too much (hopefully) to clean up. I am like you though I have to put everything back where it belongs dolls in the doll box and cars in the car box. When I get the kids to clean up their room up stairs it just all gets piled into the corner.
I will be threatening the children though on thursday when they come home if they make a mess to clean it up.
It will be interesting to see how long this will work for.
I must say too though that I have my mum here now so she is a great help, she cleans for me.

Sila Lumenn said...

"Why is it that kids suddenly act all stupid when you ask them to do something?"

That is the most profound thing I've ever read! Have I told you lately how much I admire and respect you?

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I very much look forward to reading all about it!

Erica said...

I just found my way to your blog and I must say that I really love it. We just had our third child and our house and lives are upside down. But today, while two of the three are in creche I am going to ignore the mess in the house and read your old blogs. Thank you for some amusing reading and for bringing a smile to my face when I look at the toys spread all over the house, as my children seem to loose their arms, legs and ears when cleaning is requested.

suburbancorrespondent said...

Just reading that description of trying to get the kids to do a simple clean-up task gave me a headache. You were truly being pecked to death by chickens. Happens here, too. They wear you down, stupid question by stupid question, until you're begging them to go play if they'll just let you clean the place up in peace. And they know exactly what they are doing. I hate it. No wonder moms don't bother teaching the kids how to clean up. It's not worth the ulcer and the high blood pressure.

Kim said...

Too funny! Yes, that is how I clean and that is almost the exact same conversation I have with my kids when I ask them to pick up!!

Esther from Indiana said...

I could not believe this post! This is EXACTLY what goes on in my home! I have six children, ages 13 to 3 and they are just like yours when it comes to cleaning. I have done the magazine thing also and no, I did not read it. Thanks for this blog. It helps to know other people out there with the same struggles. God bless you.

Mel said...

I know what you mean! I'm a "put it back where it lives" kinda gal myself. Once I've done that, the room actually looks tidy! As for the actual cleaning? Not so good at that bit. But hey, at least it looks tidy!!

Anonymous said...

I clean exactly the way you do. My husband asks why I need to make a bigger mess before cleaning the smaller original mess. He also has a white gloved mother.....and grew up NEVER taking food out of the kitchen.Poor deprived guy....has no problem eating all over now...and his mother is suprised!!!wonder where he picked up that bad habit!!!LOL..take care ...Kim...PEI...Canada

Lucille said...


So the same dirty Gremlin visits your house too? I used to have a cleaning lady until I realized that exactly 3 hours after she left the place was a mess again!

Good for you for actually knowing WHERE THINGS go! I think our problem is that we have too much stuff and the clutter overcomes us.

I could just move and get a bigger house to put all my stuff in......

Dawn N. said...

Hi Dawn. I also clean that way. Get out all the junk that doesn't belong and then organize what does. I think it makes perfect sense. Of course my husband sounds like yours...just shove it out of sight! Then he wonders where all of his laundry is?? Under the bed dear where you put it ;o)

Rebecca said...

Sounds like the same conversation that I have with my 8 yo daughter.

And I will agree--I HATE the scrubbing part of cleaning...I'd rather do the "organizing" as well.

Jennifer said...

Dear Dawn,
Yesterday after my children got home from school, I asked them to help me clean their room. I wasn't aware of the amazing phenomena that occurs in young boys when they are asked to help with such a task. All three of them had the strangest ailments. For starters, Spencer was certain that his leg was broken. He went and got a big sock to put on it and starting using one of my spatulas as a crutch. He cried in the hallway for a few minutes and then disappeared. He figured out that Mom was too distracted by the task to chase him back. Smart kid.

Calvin's bladder instantaneously shrank from normal size to pea size and he had to use the bathroom every 2 minutes. In addition, he also developed an unnatural need for a drink.

Christopher's health issues seemed the most dire. For starters, his body was unable to regulate temperature. He went from freezing to dying from heat prostration in a matter of seconds. In addition, his lungs stopped functioning as he was unable to continue breathing. He started wheezing in a very strange manner. Lastly, his muscles seemed to lose all their strength seeing that he couldn't lift more than one pencil at a time and carry it vvvveeeerrrryyyy slllllooooowwwwwwllllyyyy to it's desired destination.

We finally got the room clean, but it was a challenge. Look out for these symptoms in your kids!!

Julie said...

I'm with you sister!! I've been trying to get my house in some sort of order because we're hosting our first Thanksgiving. So my kids are freaking out because I'm making them clean their rooms. I can't believe the amount of garbage that comes out...BUT, at least your husband helps you, even if it is not quite the way you'd do it...some people aren't that lucky!!

Karen said...

I clean the same way. Esp the kids rooms. You've gotta find all the stuff in order to put it where it belongs.

I'm with you on the kid tornado thing. I hear all the same whines. I would love to try letting it alone until college but in the meantime we have company over on occasion. *sigh*

Nancy said...

Hi Dawn, I'm guessing that there will be many, many of us who will comment that they deal with this same exact type of thing. I actually sat on my living room floor last Monday morning looked around and started to cry. It had been a particularly stressful weekend so it seemed very overwhelming. I only have a "Clay" at home during the day, my other three are in school, but my darling little one makes more mess than the rest of them put together. (well, maybe not) I found 3 tubes of toothpaste under her bed after I spotted the white smears all over the carpeting and her legs and feet, (thank goodness she painted with it rather than eating it). We just do the best we can without going insane. I have 2 boys about the same age as you older 2 and when my husband read your post he realized that we aren't the only parents with kids who "act all stupid when you ask them to do something"

Jeff & Meg said...

Someone once said that cleaning your house while you still have children at home is like shoveling the walk while it is still snowing! I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

I received this in a email, you may have seen it before but even so, it's worth a re-read. If you have time.....:)

When I'm an old lady, I'll live with each kid, And bring so much happiness...just as they did. I want to pay back all the joy they've
Returning each deed! Oh, they'll be so excited! (When I'm an old lady
and live with my kids) I'll write on the wall with reds, whites and blues,
And I'll bounce on the furniture...wearing my shoes.I'll drink from the carton
and then leave it out.
I'll stuff all the toilets and oh, how they'll shout!
(When I'm an old lady and live with my kids) When they're on the phone
and just out of reach,I'll get into things like sugar and bleach. Oh,
they'll snap their fingers and then shake their head, (When I'm an old lady
and live with my kids)
When they cook dinner and call me to eat, I'll not eat my green beans or
salad or meat,
I'll gag on my okra, spill milk on the table, And when they get
angry...I'll run...if I'm able! (When I'm an old lady and live with my kids)
I'll sit close to the TV, through the channels I'll click, I'll cross both eyes
just to see if they stick.
I'll take off my socks and throw one away, And play in the
mud 'til the end of the day! (When I'm an old lady and live with my kids)
And later in bed, I'll lay back and sigh, I'll thank God in prayer and then close
my eyes. My kids will look down with a smile slowly creeping, And say with a
groan, "She's so sweet when she's sleeping!"

Have a great day!!

Jen5253 said...

Haha! I'm already experiencing this in my house, and my daughter is only 2!! I have no idea how the living room becomes a disaster area so quickly! We've had some difficult moments when teaching her that she has to put toys back in the toy box and the books back on the book shelf. But last night she was actually having fun "helping" me clean the bathroom (i.e. wearing rubber gloves that covered her whole arms and then dipping her hands into the toilet and then rubbing them all over the outside of the toilet and floor. :D )

I LOVE your blog! We plan on having more kids, and it gives me an idea of whats in store for me!

Anonymous said...

I agree, leave the mess till they goto college! If only we could actually do it.

My boys, 9 and 8, can't seem to keep their closet organized to save their lives! Once a month we go in there with trash bags and ALWAYS manage to fill one or two of them. So this last time I made them pay me to help! The just started to get an allowance and I think they pay me half of it back between back talking, missing the bus, and not picking up their own stuff.

Janet in Virginia :)

Nancy said...

Oh wow, was that deja vu! I'm still fighting that battle, and my kids are high school and college age. (Sorry if that's discouraging.) My kids say the same thing. Yesterday my college-age daughter was home all day and I asked her when I got home from work why she didn't at least take the dairy cooler back out to the front porch. She said "I dunno" then ducked out when I checked the laundry. She still didn't do it.

Thanks for this post. It's nice to know that it's not just me.

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love reading your blog! I must say that I clean like you. Put everything in it's rightful place first. At least it looks cleaner even if you don't get to the dusting and vacuuming and all. It is so hard to actually get to the true cleaning part. All day I put away, the kids rip out....I put away and the kids rip out. I have good intentions of getting it ALL done but....


Susan said...

Oh Dawn! I am right there with you on the cleaning and the kids immediate loss of brain cells when asked to clean something!!

I would rather organize everything in my house than clean any bathroom!! So I hesitate to start some projects because I know it will turn into 10 different organizing projects before I can actually clean!

I 'only' have 4 kids, but to ask them to clean up their mess is like asking them to solve some difficult calculus equation! They can't seem to remember where it was they got everything from that is currently all over the floor! And shoes and socks are our big problem! Generally every afternoon after school I have all 4 pairs of shoes and socks strewn all over the family room or basement. I picked up 6 pairs of my oldest son's socks in the basement one day. And he wonders why he runs out of socks and I never wash his socks!!

I can relate to many of your stories an enjoy reading your blog everyday! Keep up the great work, it makes me feel like I'm not alone. I can't wait for your book!!

Anonymous said...

the whole conversation is so true. i have taught my kids to clean so many times and yet it is the one thing they never remeber how to do. i even said one day that i would bless them and let them sit while i cleaned so they would see how nice it was for people to bless one another. no lesson learned there.
love your stories b/c of the realness and truth to them.

~dani said...

Yes I agree, when my children are in college and I can keep my place clean is when I'll actually start allowing other people in my house...:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, I hear you about messes and the Notme's who did it. My son and his buddy had a sleep over the other night and they found a pillow with the stuffing coming out. Guess what they proceded to do?...You guessed it! All over the house. When told to pick it up, I notice a lump (or two) under the rug.'s out of sight, she won't know. Kristine in Michiagn

Anonymous said...

Yes, I make a big mess before I clean up. You and my friend Marye ( had the same post today. What is it about the begining of the week?? Heehee. Good luck. T

happybell said...

Oh my!

I too clean like you, first everything goes back to its place, then scrub, etc.

My mom had a very effective way of making us clean. She would first ask nicely, once. By the second time she asked, you better had already started cleaning, 'cause if she had to say it a third time, then the "black bag" was taken out.

Oh, the black was a large black garbage bag, anything that went into it was given to charity....yeap, she would "clean" our room for us by pickung up all that was scattered on the floor. We only once tried to see what would happen if we didn't start cleaning immediately....oh, boy...she DID gave everything she picked up to charity.

A bit radical, but the best way to make us clean....we were a handful...

Sheree said...

Isn't that just the way it goes!!!!!!! We do a 5 minute or 5 item pickup and she will pick up 1 item and literally step over 4 others to carry that 1 Pretty Pony clear back to her room. Doesn't she know that part of "mommy training" is carrying as much in her arms as she possibly can so that she doesn't make extra trips???? Once again, you have described my days as well. Except my babies are now 5 and 8, yikes! But we homeschool so they are home all the time=messes. Have a blessed day and WHOOT WHOOT about the book deal!!!!

Anonymous said...

I do the same thing with organizing. I always have little piles around the house that one of these days will get put where they belong. And I don't have kids, so I can't imagine the piles you have!

Anita said...

You're not alone on your cleaning method. I'm exactly the same way! I have 3 kids 3 (almost 4) and when I start a task, it usually takes me all day to finish. It's always interesting to explain to DH, "well, I'm cleaning...yes, I know it looks worse than when you left, but it will look much better if I can finish."

Anonymous said...

Smiling. Nodding. Understanding.
Proverbs 14:4
"Where no oxen are, the crib is clean:
but much increase is by the strength of the ox."
Some days, it's my FAVORITE verse!

Anonymous said...

I would swear you have my children and house if I didn't know better!! I believe we have the same cleaning conversation on a daily basis. And yes, I clean in a similar way - huge pile of stuff in the middle of the floor to be sorted. I have been know to sit in the middle of the room and as I sort I pitch items toward the general area where they belong (woe to the person who walks through my line of fire!). I then move in a circle around the room organizing the stuff I threw.
-Becca near St. Louis

Carrie Walls said...

I thought I was the only one who had to totally destroy a room in order to clean it. My husband just doesn't get it. He's GREAT about picking up and putting things where they belong, but I'm one of those I have to move every piece of furniture so I can vaccuum under it and then dust it before I can put anything away. So with working full time - this doesn't happen as often as I'd like (or as often as my hubby would like). He a bit obsessive compulsive and likes things in order and I just figure if I don't have the time to pull the furniture out to put that puzzle away, it can wait. And since my husband can't go to bed when there is just one piece of the puzzle not in the correct box - everything does get put away and waits for that day I have enough time to do my cleaning. Someday that day will come - right?

Michelle said...

thanks to my 2 girls, I've decided not to get a bent out of shape about the stuff they damage and just save any money i would have used to replace what they have broken until they move out. Within 6 months of moving into our new house, my youngest daughter had marked the carpet in her room in various shades of crayon, used a trowel to make holes in the stair rails, taken something sharp and gouged the metal plate on the gas fireplace and completely ruined the area rug in the living room by spilling raspberry ice crystal light drink mix on the carpet (imagine a pseudo pixie stick) and then tried to clean it up using a wet paper towel instead of a vacuum. Where was i when these things were happening? obviously not in the right place. Where was her older sister? Glued to the TV.

Yesterday i discovered a new gouge in the dining room table. I started to get ticked but decided i didn't have the energy (my dad died Saturday ... i'm trying to focus on my kids instead of my stuff).

Kids know how to beat us down. I just remind mine that if I lose my temper and patience that they will not enjoy the experience. That generally gets them to comply.

Shari said...

HMMMM are you sure you weren't looking in my house in my kids' playroom and their bedrooms LOL! I know what you are going through.

Dede said...

In my house its just the opposit. My house gets picked up on the weekend and by Friday it looks like a hurrican struck it. Mine bypasses tornado. But I understand. Its amazing how much my nine-year-old boy can tear up, but never knows how to fix it. LOL...

Corinne said...

Oh my gosh, do we have the same husband? When he cleans, I literally have to look through the garbage because he throws out all the pieces for games that, yes, I love organizing and putting in their rightful places.

Liz said...

Oh Dawn, do I EVER hear you about the mystery behind the ever-messy house!! Thank your stars that your DH is willing to do the scrubbing end of things! Mine fails to realize that the cupboards will reserve a space fot the item he removed, and that the garbage can is a whopping 4 feet from the counter that he can't seem to move anything off from after using cheese wrappers, cereal boxes, empty mayo bottles, pop cans, etc, wind up trapped and taking up counter space until I rescue and dispose of or replace them. I know he knows where the garbage is...he gripes about it being over-full every week when he takes it to the curb!! He also can't seem to realize that if he put his silverware into the sink immediately after use, he wouldn't leave me the lovely crusted-on food to scrub off every day when I go to use the counter to make dinner. This sometimes can take a Hurculean effort as I'm sure you know!! My kids have all picked up on his habits...and EVERY morning that I have to remind them to put the peanut butter away, throw away the oatmeal packets, put used dishes in the sink or, better yet, in the dishwasher if it's empty or has room for dirty dishes! As for bedrooms, my kids have their idea of clean, I have mine. Twice a year I do what you call "destroy" their rooms, and we go through EVERYTHING. Clothes, toys, books, beds and curtains get cleaned...everything gets sorted through, tossed out, handed down or donated. Twice a year...because about the time I forget how much energy that actually takes, and how many toys my kids ACTUALLY have is when I decide it's a GREAT'll only take a few hours per room and we'll be done! Speaking of which...Christas is right around the corner, which is when we do round 2 in their rooms (round 1 is during summer break) so they have room for the new stuff they'll get from the 11 Christmas parties they have...Ugh! Best of luck getting your house whipped into shape!!

J Smith said...

Thats exactly how I clean!! I have little piles surrounding me and if the kids come in, i'm like go away if you cant help me MY way! lol! And whenever I ask my kids to clean or do something, I hear "i'm tired (whine whine whine)".
You arent!

Anonymous said...

What a bummer, sorry to hear that.
You should tell them that they can either clean it up, or pay you to clean it up, then take their allowance. Or, they can sit in time out while you do it.

Anonymous said...

My sons dug a 10 foot by 10 foot hole in the back woods to make a fort out of but I couldn't get them to take out the garbage. Go figure.


sfcgijill said...

Either it's a man thing, or our dear husbands are related.

Kids too, for that matter. Except I just have one 18 year old. Would it be too depressing if I told you he hasn't grown out of the mess thing yet?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sarah R said...

My husband is OCD about being organizational, yet looks at me like I have a horn growing out of the middle of my forehead when I get angry over him leaving his plastic wrappers and bottles everywhere. It's weird how the world works.

Wendy said...

I have found now that I have thrown away everything made in China that there is a lot less mess in my house. Hah!

Emma's Mommy said...

I am so glad to know that I am not the only one that has to make a room look worse before it looks better. While I would love to just be able to hide it all under the bed or in a box in the garage - I feel so much better when I have given everything in the pile a proper home!

Ashley said...

I work the same way you do. I have the "cleaning" and would much rather organize. My family on the other hand...well they prefer the just throw it and let it stay where it lands aspect of cleaning. right now I'm in the LR looking at my son's belt laying on the floor, daughter's books under the bar on the floor, son's gun and two other things I can't identify from where I sit next to the wall, etc. There's a napkin under the kitchen table I can spot as well. All of this drives me bonkers and once I take a break from working (WFH) I'll probably scoop it all up to be put where it goes. Hubby hates to clean, but is very thorough when he does, but he also doesn't get the organizing part. Oh well-clean houses are overrated anyway.

Toni said...

I am going to remember - I didn't eat your dinner but I cooked it for you. I didn't wear your clothes, but I washed, dried, & folded them. Good one!! :)

Every night a tornado hits our family room, then travels up to my daughter's bedroom. Sometimes it takes a detour & hits my bedroom first. So much fun.

Franzi said...

did you ever get to finish the front page of the magazine?

Anonymous said...

I HAD THE SAME CONVERSATION with my 6 year old and my husband this weekend!! I was cleaning all day, grocery shopping, laundry, making chili, making a dessert for the holidays and my boys watched football all day. Finally I lost it and said EVERYONE HELP NOW!!!!!! And of course get the preverbial "I didn't do that" and I said the SAME thing you did - I don't wear your clothes but I wash them! That got them moving. :-)

Oh, and yes, I clean like you do - I tear everything apart just to put everything back together .

Melissa said...

I don't blame you, I think I would feel very much the same in your circumstance. Here's hoping the cleaning fairy visits your house!!

bluekaeru said...

I clean the same way and it drives my husband bonkers. He is more of the shove and hide clutter kinda guy. But he cooks. So I will certainly not complain (much).

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear I am not alone with this! You summed up Mondays here down to the last detail, except I only have 3 kids. My husband even cleans exactly the same way as yours and I clean/organize the way you do! It must have something to do with the way males and females think. We're tackling the carpet in the boys room this coming weekend, so I completely feel your pain.

I always reading your blogs and can't wait for the book!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha. My mom and sister used to help me clean my room, and they would always get everything from under the bed, and in the closet, and it seemed like it was a much bigger mess to clean up.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a revelation. I don't have kids but my husband makes the exact same arguments when I ask him to help me clean. And he's 59!!! (Or is that 5 going on 9?) I can't wait to show him your blog this week--time to help me get ready for Thanksgiving company. This oughta be good!

MomofHaleyandJake said...

Hehe, I am glad I am not the only one that destroys a room to clean it up! I give up most days too and we are only a family of 4 so I can imagine the mess your kids can make.

Anonymous said...

I absolutly have to destroy things to have it cleaned. I love organizational cleaning, and hate scrubbing and dusting and dishes. Usually I can get away with dusting and vacuuming and have my fiance clean bathrooms and do dishes. It I have to do one awful thing to avoid several others, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

FIRST! I got the coveted FIRST!


Mandi said...

Bless you heart! I would be utterly crazy and very addicted to Valium by now. You are so patient that is why God gave you all the kids. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

T with Honey said...

Leave it messy until the kids are in college... now that's my kind of plan!

ames said...

oh that's rough! Next time tell those clog dancers to leave their clogs outside, thank-you-very-much.

I too destroy rooms before cleaning them, but in a more frantic furniture-rearranging way that often gets me trapped in the room until it's clean. And no carpeting whatsoever, it does collect more dirt if you don't get all the cleaning solution out, and how are you supposed to do that without a garden hose?

ck said...

Over the years I have adopted a policy of "good enough." The room has to be clean, but can still be messy, and that's "good enough." As long as nothing is growing and I can reasonably see the floor, its "good enough."

But I have been known to actually take a day off of work but still take my kids to the sitters, just so I can right the house and actually put the books back on the shelf (not ahoved between the slats of the bunk bed) the cars back in their assigned drawer (not racing through the cushions of my couch) and find all the stolen juice boxes and cookie wrappers from the snack basket and put them in the garbage can. I know every hiding nook and cranny (I hope) and clean them out at least once a month. So, after a day of sweating and bending and stooping and NOT getting paid, I go pick up the kids and bring them home. In the scant three hours between sitters and bedtime they can trash the entire house again. About nine o'clock my hubby will awake from his work stupor, blink, look around, and say, "We live like pigs!" and I will resist the urge to slap him silly.

And yet I continue to do this.

I'm a maschist that way.

I'm a masochist that way.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a while but this is my first comment. I am the exact same way about cleaning. My one child (Bless your Heart) has bins in his room, first they have to be emptied and reorganized. My husband and son both think I am crazy. But that's how all the toys still have all the pieces after all these years. What good is a toy without the main components to it. Just had to share I also have OCD when it comes to organization. LOL!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tracy from Florida

Kristin said...

Hey Dawn,

I clean the same way. My boys and husband hate it, cuz they KNOW it means they will HAVE a huge project to do as well.
Good luck.

Brandi said...

Here's the way I see it. During the weekdays most of your children are at school. They are most likely worn out when they come home and less likely to make as many messes. The younger children at home do make messes all day, but those messes are somewhat manageable. During the weekend all the children are home. They have their full ration of energy at home and are capable of creating even more messes. The messes of six kids is more than a mother can tackle alone. Therefore, the house is worse on Monday.

Then you have my situation. I homeschool my six children. They are all home all day. I clean one area while they destroy six other areas. One step forward and six steps back. Therefore, we have regularly scheduled chores and home economics days. I still haven't figured out how to get the whine out of chore time. Let me know if you find any solutions.

I always make the most progress on household chores while the children are sleeping. Of course that means that I'm not sleeping. I keep telling myself that there will come a day when the children will become more mature and responsible. I think we need to get rid of a lot of stuff in the meantime. If you hear loud strange wailing, don't worry. It's just my children over here in Ohio reacting to the loss of all the toys they don't play with. You know, the toys with the sole purpose of covering the bedroom floors so that Mom and Dad can trip over them at night.

Anonymous said...

Yep, sounds just like my house. I'm a WAHM so even though I'm home during the day, I can't clean. So, I am lucky enough to have a cleaning lady come every other week to do the deep cleaning. I love it! My family still doesn't understand that we have to clean up the clutter before she comes though. If I ever get to be a SAHM and I can afford it, I'm keeping her. I hate doing toilets and no on else in my house will! She's here now, but 30 minutes after my kindergartener gets home, the tornado will be back. At least it still smells good!

Just curious - do you have to deny many comments?

Deb in OPKS

Miss Hannah said...

Just wait until they're teenagers...we're much more forgetful. Mom: "hannah, didn't I tell you to vacuum the living room 5 days ago?"
Me: "You did? And whats a vacuum?"
Haha. Your family sounds really fun =)

Allison said...

I just love to read your blog. I love to know I am not alone. I love to organize too! Cleaning is an evil vocab word for me. I wish I could show you my kitchen and then my naked children running around the house because apparently clothes are not an option lately. And yes its cold outside. I go through the same dialog with my children that you do when its time for them to clean. I just wanna send you an internet hug!

Anonymous said...

My mother had nine of us, I was the youngest and I don't think I ever saw that woman sit down during the day. She was up at six in the morning and stayed up until eleven at night. We didn't have a lot of toys and mostly played outside. My father kept our bikes, pogo sticks, stilts, skates, etc in good working order. We were usually told to "just go outside".
We had a large back yard with a swing set, swimming pool, various lawn games, such as badmitton, horseshoes, (and one I can't remember the name of, you had to hit wooden balls with a wooden mallet through rings that were stuck into the ground,) we also had a large vegetable garden that we helped keep weeds out of. Back then everyone had lots of children so we played baseball and football and basketball, tag and hide and seek pretty regularly then too. On rainy days we had a huge front porch we played on and we also had a basement where we could go to play pool, darts, table tennis or roller skate, it was a cement floor just like the skating rinks were then. I don't think I ever had a toy in my room. We had chutes that our laundry went down to the basement in. If you had done something wrong, which was rare, you had to sort laundry. My regular job was to keep the dining room dusted, we had large massive wood furniture and a really long table plus a huge china cabinet. I always had to have someone pull a chair out for me to stand on to dust the tops of things (the chairs were too heavy for me to move at the age of three.) I couldn't reach the top of the china cabinet until I was a teenager, but it was someone elses' job to do that part. Maybe people need to start going back to that. Just an idea. None of us ever broke a bone or got our eyes poked out either!!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Heather's Haven said...

In our house, they are called : Hannah the hurricane and Spencer the cylcone.... oy... why bother somedays I think. But today I have 2 trashbags... one for the garbage and one for Goodwill --and they're both at school-- haha...

Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Is there such a thing as a parallel universe? If there is, my house is your house in that universe. I too use the "I didn't wear your clothes, but I did your laundry." rationale. Nope, didn't work for me either. I have found something that does work (sometimes). Meals are prepared but not servered until the house/bedrooms/playroom (pick one or more) passes inspection. If that means we are late for an activity or we miss it altogether then so be it. It doesn't take many late meals until the six little darlings get the hang of things. OK, maybe witholding food is cruel but I figure eating one meal half an hour late, (which half of them only pick at anyway ) isn't going to kill them. However, I do have a seven-year-old daughter who tried in a very dramatic fashion to convince me that it would lead to her early demise.

Christine said...

Here's a quote to remember..."cleaning house while you have young children is like shoveling while it's still snowing." I don't know who first said it, though.

Laird Nelson said...

Saved my life:


Anonymous said...

I love Mondays. Everyone goes back to school and work and I can begin the arduous task of de-weekend-ing the house. Depite a strict "no food or drinks upstairs" rule, (which my children seem to be able to follow just fine,thankyouverymuch), my DH leaves beer bottles on his nightstand, coffee cups in the bathroom and entire newspapers in the trash can. And we have a recycle bin right by the garge door. Grrr.. I clean up behind him just as much as I do my three kids! He's a great guy and his income allows me to stay at home, but it's like I am the only grown-up in the house, and forget about trying to set a proper example to my kids.

And I, too, must de-clutter a room before I can get to the actual task of cleaning it. Except the that by the time I am done de-cluttering, I am out of energy and motivation to do the cleaning! So it may look tidy, but there is always dusting or vacuuming needing to be done. It looks fine as long as you don't look too closely!

Anonymous said...

You've been living my life again haven't you?
My version of clean and the kids version of clean are as far as the east is from the west.(to steal a phrase from the latest Casting Crowns song). S'anyway, it's Thanksgiving week and you know what that means.....a tirade a day! Yes, it's Mommy Has a Fit Week. Mommy is cleaning the whole house(not just the areas that are normally cleaned for company because this particular company might have to use the upstairs bathrooms and there will be one great uncle who needs a nap at some point)....and Mommy is also cooking a cxomplete Pilgrim style dinner for 20....count those turkeys....... twenty! So I call Merry Maids, they want $400 for a one time cleaning of my 3 bed, 2.5 bath home. WOWSERS! but I book them anyway only to feel guilty and half a woman bacause I am a SAHM, and I can't get it all together. I call Merry Maids and cancel previously made appointment. I then call generic local cleaning service hoping they will take pity on my and give me a price break. WRONG! $350, okay a little btter but not worth the eye roll from hubs when he gets the bill.
So instead I clean and clean , and I cook and cook and now I must go get those yams out of the boiling water and attempt to not burn my hands whilest peeling them. and by the way, my daughter just yelled that she spilled juice in the living room.
Just wanted to let you know I feel your pain. Love ya sistah!

justmylife said...

I always tear apart a room before I clean it, isn't that the only way to find the stuff that doesn't belong there? My husband says I am obsessive compulsive, I just hate for things to be out of place. Of course I only have 2 kids left at home, 8 and 18, so I can gripe enough and then clean it up myself!

Anonymous said...

My son is 16, I swear he is Pig Pen's direct decendent! He can destroy a perfectly clean room in a matter of seconds and has always been this way. I told him when he turned 15 to clean his room and keep it that way if he wanted to get his permit at 15 1/2. He already had a pickup promised to him from my dad - all he had to do for that was make a 3.0 all year and stay out of trouble with drugs, etc. He made a 3.7 and stayed out of trouble, but couldn't seem to clean his room. A few weeks before his 16th birthday he FINALLY realized that I was serious and STARTED cleaning his room. I have many times before "helped" him clean his room so I know he knows what I expect and how to do it. A few weeks after his birthday he got his permit. His room still isn't as clean as I'd like for it to be but at least it is kind of clean.

I also don't do his laundry much anymore. You'd think that after 16 years my little (well not so little now) "pig pen" would know that laundry day is Saturday. If he can't get his clothes in the laundry room by Saturday then he can do his own. I even took him to the washing machine and showed him how the dials work, he seemed to comprehend this modern miracle and ocassionally he has a pile of clean clothes on his floor that I didn't clean or put in his room (he eventually wears the clothes or puts them away).

His 28 year old brother is now living with us again (thank God for garage apartments!) and his area isn't much better. At least the older one now knows the warning signs and will clean up when he knows I'm about to blow or have company over. He does his own laundry and the two of them are responsible for taking care of the dishes - they also have to work out who does it when. They do seem to understand the idea of "if mom ain't happy, no one is happy"!

Sorry, I hate to tell you but it doesn't seem to get much better with the boys even after they are grown and I think the smells get worse! They do give nice strong hugs though, the worst part of the hugs is that they like to lift me off the floor when they do so. The boys also seem to get more protective of mom when they get older, which is a nice feeling. I have my own personal bouncers! :-) Hang in there, the love and hugs are worth it!

Anonymous said...

The game you're thinking of is croquet.

I love the garbage bag idea, and I'll definitely be using it as my kids get a tiny bit older (they're 2 and 4 now). Right now, I have two things that work in my favor:

1) Get a cat. We have two cats, and they LOVE plastic, foam, stuffed animals, etc. When I say love, I mean love to eat. Whenever toys get left out in my house, the cats start chewing on them and sorry kids, but you left them out, I have to throw them away. Isn't it a shame that the cats ruined your X? Next time, let's put them away so the cats don't get them. 90% of the time, things get put away for that reason alone.

2) I don't quite go the garbage bag route, but I do have a large bin in my bedroom. If I have to ask my kids to do things too many times, the kids start losing toys. First request is a simple request with the expectation that they listen. The second time is a reminder that I've asked you once, don't like asking a second time, make sure you think about whether you want to make a good choice or lose a train/baby doll. Third time is the you just lost one train/baby doll; I asked you to do X. Do it now so you don't lose another one. My daughter has yet to get to the losing a baby doll stage, and my son this morning behaved completely the entire day yesterday so got back ALL his trains. Of course, right now one train is back in the bin because he wouldn't go upstairs to take a nap, but it's progress :) All I ask for is progress.

Somehow, I don't ever expect that my kids will voluntarily do things without being asked, but since I'm more stubborn than just about everyone else I know, I do follow through. Of course, only having two kids probably makes that easier for me! I can't imagine the angel I'd have if I only had the one....

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Dawn -- what do you do for Thanksgiving? Do you host and cook with six kids running around or go out to eat or have family in the area who does the heavy lifting?


Kristy said...

I totally mess up a room before I clean it up too. Thats the way to do it! I feel your pain on the cleaning. I can be cleaning up one room as they destroy the other. Its a never ending cycle. Good Luck and thanks for the laugh!

KellyJean said...

I have teenagers. I would love to tell you gets better but... well... hmmmmm... maybe I shouldn't say anything.

It gets different but still the same. I guess the best thing is I don't have to change their diapers or wipe their bums anymore. They tie their own shoes too.

I've done an expose' on my blog you might be interested in. Check it out.

Love your blog, btw.

Emily said...

Ha ha ha ha ha....
That is my house exactly.
I am the oldest of 11 (now expecting 12) children and cleaning in our house, no matter how frequently it happens, is always like World War III. And picking up the bloodshed in my house also turns the kids into complete idiots...I come from a family of VERY smart children, but when it comes to cleaning a room....
you're just exactly right.


Nalventures said...

Too funny! We actually call our little one the 'tiny tornado'. I took pictures of her in the act one day literally flinging everything onto the floor.

I, too, am an organizer. My movies are alphabetized and the toys are labeled... funny that no one else can read those labels though (husband and babysitters included).

Jennifer said...

How funny. My house is the same, over the weekend something seems to happen and it's extra messy. And my daughter pulls the same "I have no idea about anything" stunt when I tell her to clean up too. Here's to hoping your next weekend goes better.

mkbkelly said...

Dawn - Sometimes I swear you are looking in my windows before you post. I couldn't agree with you more. Everyone in the house freaks out when I 'dump' toyboxes, drawers, bags, boxes etc. to clean.

Kudos to you! Happy Thanksgiving!

PS I braved the escalator yesterday in the mall!!

Eva Wallace said...

Hi Dawn,

I have a friend who's mom got so tired of the poor job of room cleaning she and her siblings (all upper elementary aged) would try to get away with, that she began taping ANYTHING that was left on the floor when they were "done" to the wall. It had to stay there for a week, underwear and all, no matter who came over. Needless to say, they were all cure very quickly!

Nicole said...

After spending countless hours cajoling my 5-year-old son into cleaning his room and insisting that he DOES know where the dinosaurs go, I finally broke down and followed the Supernanny example. I got a big plastic garbage bag and filled it with all of the toys that were on his floor. I told him that each night, he has ten minutes to clean his room, if it's all clean, he gets to pick two toys out of the bag. If it's not clean, anything left on the floor (or out of place) goes into the bag. It was MIRACULOUS! My son, who has never cleaned his room in his life instantly "knew" where everything went. He suddenly cleaned his room at the end of the night without even having to be asked. I'm telling you, I had argued with him for hours previously. It was the most amazing transformation I've ever seen! Try it!

Sleeping Mommy said...

I wish I could just let it go until they go to college, but I just can't fight the compulsion to scream at them everytime I see another mess they have yet to clean up as directed.

GRRR. I did NOT do this to MY mother.

No. I didn't.

Charissa said...

Your house only looks like that on Mondays?
-Charissa, mother of 4-soon- to- be- 5.

Meg said...

Thank you, I needed that today.

Anonymous said...

My daughter starts with the, "My legs hurt, my arms hurt, I feel like throwing up..." She heals miraculously fast as soon as I finish picking up...The second child (3.5 yrs old) will start to look aimlessly around like he has no idea what the words ball, glove, and trains mean. I feel your pain! I love, love your blog.

Shelley said...

In the words of Phyllis Diller, "Cleaning the house before the kids stop growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing."

Brilliant, that lady. Just to let you know, it doesn't get any better when they're teenagers. They still can't figure out how to clean anything. However, they do switch it up a bit...instead of whining, you get attitude. Fun!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to know I am not the only person who has to destroy a room to get it truly clean.

It drives me insane to ask my husband to clean up and then find fingernail polish shoved in the entertainment center, batteries stuck in the kitchen cabinet, toys shoved into bedroom drawers.... They must think that as long as it is put somewhere, it is put away.

Love your blog by the way. I have been reading it for a few months now but havent commented until now

Anonymous said...

I thought I had OCD, I guess it's just called being a woman LOL...3 kids x polly pockets, barbies and hotwheels = a lot of making a mess before getting it put away in it's proper bins..

Patty said...

Man you just described cleaning in my house! Its nice to know that I am not the only one that has given up for the next 15 years. ;)

FeeFiFoto said...

When my kids have been assigned to clean a room and return to me to announce the project's completion, I instruct them to go back and look at the room as if they were using my eyes. Never fails: they find something that wasn't quite right.

jgdeegan said...

You've just repeated the conversation I have with my eight year old almost daily. The three year old isn't held accountable for cleaning...yet. I no longer clean my living room. They're not my toys all over the floor, and I'm not the one who was playing with them. My eight year old acts like I'm torturing him when I make him clean up his mess. I use the same lines of I cook for you, clean your clothes, etc., too.

korkie said...

Chaos comes when I moved everything from one room, (i.e my crafts) in the attempt to put everything back in an organized fashion.

You know 'a place for everything and everything in its place?'

I realized this past weekend I do not have 'a place for everything.' .....not even remotely so.

I, in a spur moment of insanity gave away a couple boxes of misc craft.

I've been tearful ever since then ..... until my box of new crafts were delivered today.

I gotta find a place for this new crap!!


PS I'll pay you good money, babysit the kids, make you rum and cokes .....Whatever!!! .... if you would come and organize my stuff while I read one of my 'how to' craft books.

Happy Turkey Day!

My Semblance of Sanity said...

The funny thing is - my hubby is the organizational FREAK among us so Sunday I went out to get a mani/pedi - something I haven't done in almost a year -
when I got home HUSBAND TORNADO had blown through - but this tornado CLEANS!!

If it doesn't look important - he chucks it.....homework, notes to myself, etc.

I lost it!

Brenda said...

When I saw your topic I knew there would be a ton of comments. This one cranks our chain. Another good one....Waiting for our kids every day and then one day we are 5 minutes late and they have a cow because they had to wait for us!!

Anonymous said...

My sister and I had the same "Monday Morning Hurricaine" talk this week! She doesn't schedule ANYTHING for that day, because she knows she'll be cleaning (something I'm going to adopt). And her whole familiy actually cleans the house on Saturday mornings! We agreed it must have something to do with out husbands being home all day for two days in a row.....
And my DH doesn't even BOTHER to hide the stuff he's cleaning, he'll just put it into nice little (big) piles which I have to go through later. At least he, um, oh yeah, he cleans the litter boxes.
My oldest is the one that turns REALLY stupid. My favorite reason for him to not clean is "because I don't like cleaning like you do!"

Love the blog!!!

The Gomezeseses said...

We call that kind of cleaning "Mom cleaning."

So, no--you're not the only one that does it!

- Meww

Anonymous said...

LOL! Sounds like my world. You just handle it better.

WendyK said...

I also tear the room apart first!

The kids do seem to turn "stupid" the moment they are asked to clean. I sure wish I knew why, but those same comments about cooking for them, laundry, and so on leave my lips nearly weekly. They have yet to work as a motivational tool, but I have nothing else lol. It is amazing how they can always find stuff, but putting back in the very spot that it came from is so hard to remember.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Dawn. You are Mom, you are expected to wave a magic wand each day and everything is perfect. Somehow as Mom's we do it, but other days ... they just have to understand what it takes to keep the household together.



Simone said...

That conversation about cleaning?


petsdocmom said...

My mom used to pick up everything we left on the floor & throw it out the window on the the front lawn. It was quite embarrasing to come home & find your underware & other various items floating around the yard & neighborhood. She also used to take the dirty dishes & dump them on our bed if we didn't clean the kitchen when it was our turn. I also remember her literally going on strike & not cleaning or cooking for a week or two at a time. I am not as severe with my own 4 children but I do go on cleaning binges where I too have to deconstruct the room in order to clean it. I will just take a garbage bag & start throwing away all the broken toys, crayons etc. Of course, later my children will go & "rescue" their "favorite doll, car, broken toy etc" from the trash because it has suddnly become their most prized possesion in the entire world & how could I ever think of throwing it away (even though they haven't played with it in years!!) They also develop mysterious ailments when asked to clean their rooms, one child suddenly is completely deaf("Honest, Mom I didn't hear you screaming at the top of your lungs that I needed to clean my room.") another child says he is cleaning his room but then discovers he must read "The Guiness Book of World Records" (2008 edition) & urgently needs to tell me about the man who can squirt milk the farthest distance from his eye (9 ft 2inches, & oh by the way skim milk works better because the whole milk clogs the tear ducts!!) The 2 youngest who share a room, start a battle about who actually made the mess & then only pick up the 1 item that they claim is their responsibility. When that doesn't work, the 6 year old is suddenly too tired because 1st grade is very demanding you know. And the 5 year old claims that she doesn't understand me. Anyways, I love your Blog & look forward to it every day. I can't wait until your book comes out so I can lock myself in my bedroom & try & read it uninterrupted. Thanks for helping me see the humor in my life. Lynne

Sonia said...

This is what I love about your blog, it's always similar my life, minus 4 kids and your zany sense of humor, plus 2 dogs! but the scrubbing vs organizing is my hubby and myself to a T. don't even get me started on what my darling sons consider cleaning...
thanks for always making the reality of parenting so fresh and funny!
you are awesome!

Conny said...

Both my DH and I absolutely hate cleaning. I'm a clutter fan (books or DVD videos organized alphabetically, by author or by genre? How ever am I going to find anything?). I don't mind it if the bed's unmade (hey, I need that time to chase the Twin Terrors who have climbed from their baby bed down and bathe, feed, bathe and clothe them). Therefore, my DH and I decided to cut down on our restaurant spending (we're both legal professionals, so that's quite a bit) and invest in a cleaning person who comes by three times a week. No more dusting, cleaning bathrooms or vacuuming for me if the kids don't spill flour on the living room carpet! YAY!

Unfortunately, the kids still have a tendency to spill something every five seconds or so, so our vacuum gets a real workout all the time. I'm working from home until they're old enough to go to kindergarten (three years old), so it's easy to keep an eye on them.

My DH tried to teach them to clean up after their playthings yesterday evening since he figures that if they're old enough to talk they're old enough to understand.
Now one thing about my family is that we're a four-language family. I speak English, Italian and German with the kids (Italian in public since most Germans understand English and if I'm scolding the kids I like to not be understood). My DH speaks English, Brazilian Portuguese (which I barely know) and German (that's his weakest language). The kids speak all four languages with varying fluidity, their best are English, German and Italian in this order.

My DH's native language is Portuguese, so he started lecturing the kids about how they should put their puzzles, books, soft toys and everything back into their toy box that stands in a corner of our living room. Both kids turned to me in unison (that's the only way they ever do something. They have some weird kind of psychic connection that makes them unable to do anything without the other twin doing the same). "Mommy, was sagt Papa?" in fluent German. I think I gaped at them for a second.
Fortunately, my DH was a bit faster to react and told them they quite understood him since they always used that trick on Daddy Day, trying to get him to believe they didn't understand Portuguese.

I think I'm going to see a lot more of this evasion tactic in later years... do any of you have any experience with multi-lingual kids? I'm just afraid they'll steamroll me in Portuguese once they're older.

Kathy said...

I do the same thing. I destroy a room and dump the stuff elsewhere to actually clean the room. The last room I get to REALLY looks like a disaster until I'm completely finished! My kids will laugh and be like "we thought you were cleaning mom!" Yeah, sometimes you have to make a mess first, lol!

Donna said...

Messy Mondays? Is that all? It seems like every day my house looks likes a tornado hit it. And I only have my five year old and my husband making the mess. The Itty Bitty (3 mo. old) has her own messes - but that's another topic.

Anonymous said...

You do realise that even in late teens you will still be doing this? Although ten books down the line you'll be able to hire a cleaner for your luxury mansion!

I DO like the black bag idea - think I'll try that one on my 14 year old this weekend!

Anonymous said...

For the Mom's out there, I have to second Laird's comment to try I'm a fan.

For the kids, I've heard miraculous stories about house fairy and kids cleaning up their own rooms.

Bald Headed Geek said...

"I think, from now on, I'll just leave it messy until they're all in college."

It's probably better for your sanity if you do!



Nicki said...

I feel the same way. To really get a room clean, you have to destroy first and start from square one. I think there is a brain block on kids when it comes to cleaning. When does that break loose??

Darla said...

I feel your pain... It is now monday and my apartment had several tornados come through over the weekend... I was reading your blog while trying to decide which room to attempt to bring order to first. I would simply leave it as is if I weren't such a neat freak, but it's driving me insane! Well that and it is an apartment and I have monthly insepections... I don't know how you handle 6 kids! I have 2 of my own and my fiance's youngest daughter living with me and I can barely keep up with them, go to school, work and try to keep my sanity.... I applaud you!!!

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