Ah the capricious nature of the teen aged girl. So sweet, so funny, so well….just so darned easy to live with. Then OMG, Mommy Dearest makes a most unreasonable request and BAM. Just like that I’m back in the shit house.
My brother from New York (Sib# 5) is coming for a visit at the end of the week. For those of you playing along at home you’ll remember that Sib #2 lives here in town, so it was shaping up to be quite the party. Not to be left out, my sister who lives in Chicago (this would be Sib #3) decided to fly on down with her two kids. Who will all be staying at my house. Which isn’t a problem because we have lots of beds, and with a weeks notice I have time to swap out sheets and towels in places they don’t get used very much. No, the problem is the fact that Precious Youngest’s bedroom is going to have to come into play.
Her room is an absolute unmitigated disaster. Dishes, glasses, water bottles, food containers, clean clothes, dirty clothes, books, papers, on and on and on. I have tried various methods to get her to keep the room, if not tidy, sanitary. But I have yet to hit on a lasting solution.
And I vacillate. Should she keep it picked up out of respect for me and the fact that this is my home? Should she clean her room because it’s part of her “job” as a member of this family? Should I get over myself and let her live her slovenly lifestyle as long as her clothes are clean, her sheets get washed once a week and there is no pest infestation? Am I raising a lazy child because let’s face it, keeping a room clean is just NOT THAT DAMN HARD?
Since I went back to work my M.O. is simply “ignorance is bliss”. We live in a raised ranch. Our second floor consists of two bedrooms, a full bath, linen closet and storage closet. The bathroom is at the top of the stairs, and Precious Oldest's room next to that. I have to toddle all the way down the hall to reach Precious Youngest’s room (and I try not to). Now that the girls are older I don’t have essential reasons to go upstairs. I can sit on the top step and carry on a two or three way conversation without REALLY having to go into the bedrooms. (And let's face it, at this point the kids are usually tucking ME in at night!)
The problem to this approach is when I finally do go in, HOLY SHIT! And this is what happened last weekend. Precious Youngest DID NOT HAVE DAMN SCHOOL on Friday. When she returned home from her sleepover I was at work. She did however heed my note and called me at the office. At which time I said “Please clean your room, and I don’t mean shove things in corners and under the bed, but CLEAN your room. Your uncle and aunt & cousins are coming next week and I’m going to need every available bed, so PLEASE clean your room.” Guess what she said? “Sure mom!”
Now dear readers, was I skeptical? You bet, but it was Friday, I was tired, and when I came home from work she was already gone again. So it wasn’t until Saturday when I headed up to do some of the “deep cleaning” (ceiling fan, baseboards, window ledges, etc.) that HOLY CRAP people! True, the beds were “made”, the clothes were 90% put away and there was an area of carpet visible in the middle of the room. But she hadn’t even bothered to empty two overflowing trash cans and there were piles of shit around the perimeter of the room twelve inches high! It goes without saying that dusting? Vacuuming? Please! (I deeply regret not taking pictures, because seeing is believing!)
Even then I remained calm. It was later that day, when I asked why her room wasn’t clean and when I might expect it to be cleaned, and was met with a blank, slack-jawed stare, that I blew a gasket. And so with much sighing , weeping , gnashing of teeth, door slamming and general huffing did Precious Youngest stay home on Saturday night to clean her room.