Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This Is What Happens to the House When Mom Is Tired

This Is What Happens to the House When Mom Is Tired -- If you don't feel well and you've got kids, your house is definitely a disaster area. Don't worry, you can always clean it up later. Or just go on Hoarders.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

It was with a wry look that Phillip turned to me on Friday and said, "We're one step away from going on Hoarders here."

He was right, almost.

Except it was mostly the kids' fault. Everything they'd touched for the last two days was lying crumpled on the floor in the exact spot where they finished using it.

I haven't felt well lately, and when you're a stay-at-home mom of 5 who doesn't feel well, the speed of the pristine-to-filthy transformation your house can undergo is shocking.

A week's worth of cleaning and tidying up is undone in a matter of hours.

If you don't feel up to following the kids around reminding them to clean up after themselves for a full day or longer, it will turn into a biochemical waste zone.

Not "can."


It doesn't matter that Phillip comes home at night and cleans the entire kitchen. By 9 A.M. it looks like a looted grocery store just the same. Because kids.

While I haven't felt well enough to stay on top of the mess, or on top of the kids for not cleaning up after themselves, I have made a few mental observations:

1) Mess begets mess. If some enterprising young child helps himself to breakfast and the table's already covered in Legos, pipe cleaners and dried fingerpaint, his bowl and spoon will immediately be absorbed into the mess and become one with it. It's like the clutter equivalent of a drug-resistant superbug.

2) The messiness of the house is directly proportionate to how I'm feeling that day. On low energy days, I'm pretty helpless to resist my preschooler's pleas to do incredibly messy craft projects involving glitter, paint, and possibly razor blades and blow torches. She knows this and will use it against me.

The toddler, too. His favorite trick is to get into the game cupboard, knock every game and puzzle off the bottom three shelves, and furiously mix up all the pieces. I can hardly clean that up 3 times a day when I'm feeling energetic, forget about it if I'm feeling low-energy. (He doesn't even have fun doing this, by the way. He just rips open the boxes, makes the mess joylessly in 10 seconds, and moves on. It's really rude.)

Anyway, after the Hoarders observation, Phillip and I rolled up our sleeves and got to work. First, we put a lock on the game cupboard. Then, we all spent an obscene amount of time cleaning. Even the kids  especially the kids.

(Unfortunately I have no "before" and "after" pictures to show you. This was a time that I was thinking of survival more than blogging.)

The sheer randomness of the messes, though, was overwhelming. What do you do when you look at a pile of junk, really look at it, and realize that it's made up of craft scissors, a 4T raincoat, a balled-up dirty sock, a pencil, 2 Lego people, a sippy cup, a roll of packing tape, a pair of American Girl doll tights, and 12 pieces of a My Little Pony puzzle (who knows where the other 13 went)? Each one with its own separate place in the house, to be painstakingly put away by you.

It'd be cool if it were just that one pile, but I'm talking similar heaps covering every square foot of the house.

When it comes to messes like that, I find that I can't categorize or decide the most efficient way to clean it up. I just have to grab the thing closest to me and then put it where it goes.

Over and over, a billion times.

In summary, I take two things away from this experience: one, it's hard being an adult.

Two, if the house is super messy, it probably just means you need a nap. Go easy on yourself. If worst comes to worst, we can be on Hoarders together.

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Unknown said...

I'm imagining it's possible my own recovery will turn into this... maybe half, since we have 2 kids and a tiny apartment, but overwhelming just the same.

Unknown said...

Thank you! My feelings exactly.

Marina @ Parental Journey said...

I can't agree more.. and we all need to go easy on ourselves :)

Anonymous said...

Hi lovey, a tip from someone who's been there and done that boxes. I used one of the wheeled drawer units decide best way to do it for you (I used a drawer for each child) (also works with tote bags) take it in each room put things in relevant drawer (or bag) & then from there take to relevant place

Unknown said...

Yuck, I'm sorry you're still not feeling well. I was sick a few days earlier this year and it was amazing how much damage my kids caused in just a few days. I'm positive that it takes longer to clean it up than it does to create the mess. I hope everything works itself out soon!

Jenny Evans said...

All 7 of us live in an 1800-sq ft house. Phillip says it would be less messy if the house were bigger so everything had a place and we had a dedicated space for crafts and elaborate Lego set-ups (instead of the dining room table doubling as these), but I have my doubts. I'm pretty sure the kids can expand their filthiness to however much acreage we gave them.

Jenny Evans said...

That's awesome! We do have a catch-all basket at the bottom of the stairs so I can toss in anything I find downstairs that needs to go up to the kids' rooms... but this sounds like taking it one step further.

Jenny Evans said...

It TOTALLY takes longer to clean up the mess than create it! Especially when there are 5 people making the messes!

PurpleSlob said...

Jenny, the lock on the game cabinet- genius!!
I hope you can do the rolling drawers as Anon suggested.
And you're right, don't fall for the "we need more room" trap! It IS a trap!!
Messes will always expand to fill the space available!! It' a proven scientific fact! Uh huh, it is!

Lyndsay said...

Love this post. My fourth baby is seven weeks old..we homeschool and live in a 900 sq ft house that is under construction. It takes less than half a day to look like we haven't touched it in a week. Lol thankfully there are enough people living here that it can be whipped into a presentable state in about an hour. It isn't mom approved clean, but at least enough so I don't get hives just looking at the kitchen table! The shocking part is, not only do we love on a small house we also live rather minimally, so we have a fraction of most typical families. Can't even imagine the mess with a larger house and more stuff.
Also, your analogy of the little piles everywhere is so, so true!
Hope you are feeling better!

Candace Black said...

It will turn into a biochemical waste zone!!!! LOL :) I have 2 naughty sons. You are sooo right. I can`t imagine what if I have 5 kids.I suppose it is amazing experience! Greetings!

Megan said...

Love #2- so true! If I'm not feeling well, I'm so desperate to find something to keep them occupied that I don't even care if it's the messiest thing they can find. Ha! But it always gets cleaned up. Thank goodness for helpful husbands, right? Feel better ��

Megan said...

Love #2- so true! If I'm not feeling well, I'm so desperate to find something to keep them occupied that I don't even care if it's the messiest thing they can find. Ha! But it always gets cleaned up. Thank goodness for helpful husbands, right? Feel better ��