Parents are crazy. At least that’s what kids typically think at one time or another during their childhood. Hopefully at some point in life those kids grow up and realize that there was a reason for the crazy. Their parents’ behavior starts making sense and those grown kids then go back and say, “Okay Mom/Dad, I get it now.”
For myself, this scenario has played itself out too many times to count over the last four years since having children. Let me share with you the most central example of this from my childhood. It revolves around house cleaning, which is the bane of every mom’s existence. With kids, you clean something and as soon as your back is turned whatever it was is suddenly dirty/messy again. Kids are tornadoes. They wreak havoc and destruction wherever they go. Good thing they’re cute.
As a kid, my Saturday mornings were spent cleaning. Friends would call and ask if me or my siblings could play and they would get the same response again and again, “We can’t right now. We’re cleaning.” Eventually they just came over and helped so it’d get done faster. My mom was a nut about getting the chores done before we went and played. She’d nag us and force our butts into action because that damn glass needed to wiped down RIGHT. THIS. MINUTE! The dusting and vacuuming needed to be completed 5 minutes ago and don’t even think about letting the clean laundry sit in the dryer and get wrinkled. We protested a bit, but not too much. Mom could be scary if you pushed her too far (I love you, Mom!)
This cleaning regimen probably makes sense to any parent but to a kid it’s nuts. Kids think, “Why does it matter when the cleaning gets done so long as it gets done at some point over the weekend.” That’s what my brother, sister and I thought at least. If I could go back and explain to my younger self I’d say, “It matters because Mom’s piece of mind is at stake here. A clean house gives her great satisfaction for the few moments it stays that way. So just shut up and do it.”
My kids aren’t able to fully assist with house cleaning yet but they most certainly have begun training. They help me dust and wash floors and clean the glass. They actually do this willingly. For now. I can’t wait until they are old enough for laundry, vacuuming and bathrooms! Until then, it’s up to me and every time I spend an entire Saturday morning cleaning, like this past Saturday, I give myself a nice pat on the back and revel in my dust-free, scum-free home for the day or so it stays that way. And as I enjoy my clean house I can’t help but think back to my childhood and think, “Yeah, Mom, I get it now. It’s amazing how good it feels to have a clean house. It makes for a happier, less stressed and more satisfied Mama.”
I forgive your craziness, Mother-dearest. At least in regards to the cleaning!