As a child I drove my mother mad. I was messy as hell. I feel most sorry for the sister I shared a room with. Neat freak that she was, I must have been a nightmare to live with. Our room and wardrobe was meticulously divided into two and it was obvious whose side was whose.
On the one hand there were these neat little piles of books, crisply folded clothes put away in drawers. Always a freshly made bed and toys all stacked away neatly. In contrast, I’m sure my side looked like a scene from the nucleus of the Afghanistan war zone. It really was like some kind of bomb went off. Nothing had a place. Never were clothes put away or bed made. It was the bane of my mother’s life. And my sister’s I’m pretty certain. It definitely was the bane of mine.
On and on and on and on they harassed me. Constantly moaning at me to clean up. Now here’s the deal. It all made sense to me. Why make the bed? I’m only getting back in it. As for the clothes…. I was going to wear them. The toys…. Well I was playing with them…. At some point and would again. I knew where everything was and I never lost anything. I didn’t have an issue with the mess. I had a serious issue with their moaning and boy did I procrastinate!
This trend continued through my life and seemed to bother said sister and mother more than it ever bothered me. Even when I had my own place they would come by and moan and moan and moan. My sister I swear has OCD. She could never bear to see it and would come to visit and spend all her time cleaning. I did look forward to her visits sometimes I must admit but I never really got myself organised.
With the acquisition of more and more children though. I did find it became hard to find stuff and operate efficiently. I suppose as well, as one gets older, one also gets a little more – not house proud – but house shamed! You know that old saying about wearing decent underpants in case you get taken to hospital…. Well I found I was a little ashamed when people dropped in unannounced. Sometimes I would have to pretend I wasn’t home. If I knew they were coming I would have a mad blitz stuffing things in cupboards and going mad with the bleach. The kids would hear no end of screaming and deranged orders being thrown at them.
Both my sister and mother keep their homes religiously clean and organised. They never have this problem, so I finally decided to take a leaf out of their books.
With the influx of Toddler Child into my life in particular I found myself developing rather OCD traits myself. Everything has a place, must be clean, beds made before we leave. I have a whole routine before we can even leave the house. It has to be SPOTLESS!!!! Nothing worse than coming back in the evening to having to do housework right? Middle Child hates this! She’s a “mini me”. Or a “mini I was”! Cause Me…. I’m different now. I AM my mother! I’m now driving Middle Child crazy with routines and structures and rules about how the house is to be kept. It’s like an army camp with the cleaning regime. The arguing and comments she throws at me… it’s like looking into a time warp.
Despite this though, I finally achieved what my family had been pressing me towards. So proud of myself was I. I felt like I had grown up now… effectively keeping house despite cries of resistance from Middle Child. In fact my OCD for cleaning has become so severe that I found myself tidying before I left to go to a wedding. So ingrained is this routine now that I was running late and had the Flower Girls in my ward and there I am….. calmly cleaning my house and folding away clothes into neat little piles. Suddenly something snapped and I thought “What the hell am I doing? This is someone’s wedding and I’m vacuuming the freaking floor?”
This was getting out of control, but you know what…… My family have been striving for me to reach this point for years and now I have. They must be so relieved that I’ve finally accomplished tidy living. I’m keeping this up. I can tick a box in the “Things to Achieve before you die” list. In fact, my mother comes over one day and during a chat in my kitchen, I comment that “I don’t think, I KNOW I HAVE turned into you mother. I keep the house religiously clean and organised but I’m driving the kids mad”.
I expectantly awaited words compassion and understanding about how hard it was for her to manage my resistance as a child and pearls of wisdom about how to handle it…… You know what she said?????
“I’M NOT LIKE THAT ANYMORE. I HARDLY EVEN VACUM THE FLOORS!”
Thanks mom! Needed that like I needed all my teeth extracted.
Photos courtesy Flickr