I sometimes daydream about what our household could/should run like. Obedient, polite children who only need to be asked once or even better, just know what their responsibilites are and fulfill them dutifully. A beautiful, tidy home where our children’s friends love to come and visit and leave wishing their parents were as cool as we are.
Reality….there is usually at least one or more partially clothed or naked child streaking through the house at any given time during the day. If the house happens to be tidy in one corner, it usually means another corner looks like a bomb has gone off.
It seems to come and go in cycles. Especially since I started homeschooling Piper and Cabel, I feel an incredible need to keep the house tidy and stay up on the dishes. It’s not bad! I actually enjoy that the day is more structured. That change has been unexpected and sweet and I hope it stays. I feel more productive and like I am fulfilling my true potential as a mother. I am teaching them skills and watching them learn, grow in confidence and express their happiness and get the instant gratification of seeing the pride on their face when they are praised.
The other side of that is when you are forced to ask your lovely, beautiful, sweet children for help cleaning the house. Abruptly, they turn in to whiney, teeth gnashing, screaming, ogres. And when the husband is around to ‘help’…..*sigh*…..sometimes it is nice not having to be the naggy mom. Having him yell at the kids from his recliner isn’t ideal, but at least it isn’t coming from me for once! I think it’s important he see how hard it is to keep house with 5 (let’s say 6, who are we kidding!) little piggies running amuck. The whole point is consistency is hard! It absolutely would be ‘easier’ to just do it myself than try and train the kids to pitch in. If the day were 36 hours long and I were Mary Poppins. But Mary Poppins I am not and the wind that blows over here when mom an dad get fed up with lazy children is not sweet! I would like to think our efforts would effect a permenant change in their thinking….and ephiphany that if they did their little part each day, it wouldn’t take nearly as long or be nearly as terrible. The sweet irony is the one that was the most angry about having to help clean was my oldest, Anthony–the silent treatment, sullen face, beligerent attitude of a 14 year old. Even he admitted he was glad the house was clean(er) when it was done–everyone feels better. I would like to think all the yelling tonight, grueling persistence, made an impact that will set a precedent from now on.
But let’s face it….the kids will be busy….I’ll get busy…..the house will slip back and so will the new rules. I do dread the cycle that mandates I get fed up with being everyone’s maid, the eyeball develops the telltale twitch and I begin muttering to myself while I angrily scrub at dishes in the sink. You can almost smell the change of the wind…..at the first whiff, the kids get a little cagey and over affectionate like they hope they might be able to escape the impending whirlwind. But no one is safe! To be perfectly honest, I am aware that if I were only more consistent in those rules, I might not have such a terrible time. But I don’t know if I have it in me to be that relentless. Which is why the winds of change will remain a bit rank and fleeting around here! The end of of a long night, I kissed all my babies goodnight and thanked, thanked them for getting it all done and thanked God for our five little blessings.