Saturday, August 11, 2007

I hate cleaning

I just went Mommie Dearest on my kids. Mr. Gaia doesn't think we can assign them chores until he and I (emphasis on the *I* part) are able to set a good example and do the chores we wish to assign regularly.

The fact that I am overwhelmed by a demanding job and the chores I do stay on top of apparently isn't good enough. The fact that he isn't doing much to help, isn't good enough. Until "we" maintain the house and "set a good example" "we" can't assign chores to the kids. Well fuck that.

The kids were gone for Father's Day. I decided to surprise him with a Father's Day tomorrow. I figured part of that would be a nice clean house. But it has become enough of a sty that I can't possibly do it myself. So I assigned the kids some easy tasks - help fold the laundry, put your own laundry away. They are almost 9 and 7 - more than old enough to do these tasks.

I walked into their bedroom and the closet floor is full of clothes. I get it. I did it myself too when my mom said "go clean your room". But I didn't tell them to "clean their room" I told them specifically to put their clothes away. So tantrum #1 of mine.

"We" finally managed to get all the laundry folded and put away, so I went into their room to give them specific instructions about what to clean. See, I learned from my mom - don't give a generic instruction. There were clean sheets on their chest of drawers. I hadn't gotten around to folding them. I specifically said "these are CLEAN" and then said "fold them". I came back by a couple of minutes later and they were on the floor. Again I said "THESE ARE CLEAN!!!!!! KEEP THEM OFF THE DIRTY FLOOR AND FOLD THEM". I did a few more taskes and came back and the sheets were again on the floor but this time they were laying/standing on them. Wallering on them on their dirty fucking floor. I completely lost it then. Tantrum #2. This time they were told that they WOULD start listening to me the first time, period. I told them if I told them something was clean and then came back and found it in the floor, they would be doing all the laundry, by themselves. They will start listening to me.

I don't have high standards for cleaning. Really I don't. But I'm tired of never being able to have someone over. But, I can't do it myself. I don't make the mess myself and damned if I can clean it myself. And "setting a good example" by cleaning up after myself ala FlyLady doesn't do shit in my house. They see me clean up after myself and I swear it becomes a good excuse for them to make an even bigger mess of their own.

No more. Mr. Gaia is going to get with the program and stand back as I assign them chores. I am not the fucking maid. He feels put upon because when the house is cleaned he does do the majority of it (he is 1000x better at cleaning than I am). Well big f'ing deal. If he would just stop telling me that I *can't* assign chores to these two able bodied boys, then we wouldn't have to have marathon cleaning sessions and he wouldn't have to do the majority of the cleaning then.


Tanya Brown said...

Here's a big hug: ((( )))

You did the right thing in setting limits.

I think you're right that you could set a good example by doing "your" chores until the end of time and the assorted males wouldn't pick up on it. I have never known a child, myself included, to suddenly spring up from an exciting TV program or pile of toys on the floor and declare "My goodness, mother! You look exhausted! Here, do sit down and rest for a bit while I swab out the extremely disgusting toilet."


1. Not having a penis shouldn't mean that you're the general dogsbody by default.

2. Children test their parents or are sometimes just plain oblivious. We do them no favors if we let them skate by when they don't listen to us or don't help. The lesson they learn in such cases is "When adults say to do something, I don't really have to do it." and "I don't have to be responsible."

3. I'm pretty sure that males have a higher "dirt threshold" than females. For example, if something can be balanced on top of the trash can mess without falling off, it isn't time to take out the trash yet.

I'm sorry you're having a crappy day, but you did the right thing.

Green SAHM said...

Sounds like a rough day. But your kids are definitely old enough for chores, no matter the example you and your husband are setting. My daughter got her chores assigned at age 4, just simple stuff like helping to empty the dishwasher.