This morning I went into Gal Smiley’s room to change her sheets.
An hour later I managed to hack my way out, having done the bare minimum of tidying required to beat my way through the jungle of her room to get to her bed, then down to the sheets underneath all the junk, then back out again. Ugh.
When I was an idealistic, pre-kids adult, I had a teenaged cousin whose room was like this. There was a foot-deep pile of dirty clothes all over her floor at all times and you could barely open the door to get in there – and it was a large room. It fascinated me, because my mother never would have let me get away with that, and also I shared a very small room with my older sister. After two beds and two dressers and a laundry hamper, there was barely three square feet of floor space – if I dropped one sweatshirt that would have covered the whole area.
So of course, like all idealistic, pre-kids adults, I was all, “Oh, I’d never let my kid do that.”
And now I am eating my words, OF COURSE, and they are salty and bitter. Ugh.
The Captain isn’t so bad. He has the biggest room and he’s a tidy guy in general with a healthy respect for all household processes. Plus, he doesn’t really spend any time in his room except to sleep.
The girls are both terrible, though. At least our youngest is a relatively clean person – she does tidy up things like used tissues and dirty clothes – but she always has at least three major craft projects on the go at any time, splayed all over her floor, plus a hundred stuffed animals who are, no doubt, joining in like the shoemaker’s elves.
My middle daughter is the slob, and I really hate to use that word, because it seems like such a label and the kind of thing that will we will have shrieking matches over in about six months’ time. But really, her room is just gross. I was just in there for an hour and there were dirty socks and tissues all over, discarded dirty clothes freely mixing with the not-put-away clean clothes from last week all over the floor, dust balls in the corner where piles of half-broken toys and odd little scraps of paper have piled up. UGH.
It’s going to have to come to a head, I’m afraid.
One thing I wish I’d done differently as a parent is make my kids make their beds in the morning. This was something my mother was militant about. I absolutely hated making my bed as a kid, because it was wedged up against a wall and very difficult to pull out, and so tucking in the blankets and bedspread was a nightmare, especially for a young weakling like myself. So when I grew up and got a place of my own, I just went with a comforter that I’d sometimes, occasionally, lazily pull up in the direction of the pillows. That degraded until I wasn’t making the bed at all, ever, and as a result it’s been almost impossible to get the kids to make theirs.
I just read an article about how the most successful people in the world have one thing in common that they do every day – they make the bed. Not only does it set the tone for their whole room – their spaces are tidier and more open – but it seems to give them an organized, ready-for-the-day kind of mindset. Looking at my daughter’s rooms – and heck, my own unmade bed – it’s kind of no wonder that the house feels pretty chaotic most of the time.
The teen years are probably not the best time to try to retrain them into awesome bed-makers. But I think maybe I should try.