Saturday, February 28, 2009

It Takes a Tantrum

My kids have no idea how good they have it.

I used to hate Saturday mornings. All the other kids in my neighborhood seemed to roam free, while my siblings and I were chained to the vacuum cleaner and a can of Lemon Pledge. We worked for hours and hours and it was never done. I'm sure my mother would tell you the same thing, only from her point of view we probably worked on the exact same job for hours, while from my view we went through lists and lists.

My mother didn't believe in feather dusters. Nor did she believe in toilet brushes. We cleaned everything with rags. They were clean rags - but still. I can remember hunting through the rag bag, wondering which little eight inch square of ripped up towel I was going to put through the hellish experience of being sprinkled with the Comet cleanser and shoved into the icy, disgusting toilet water. I mean, I always flushed about 400 times first. So it wasn't disgusting like that. It's just inherently a gross thing to do.


I actually looked forward to Mondays. I mean, I had to go to school, but at least no one made me shove my hand in a toilet. Well, usually.

Anyway, that brings me to cleaning chores at my house now. Here I post a rotating job list on Mondays with 6 jobs per person. You're supposed to do them one per day, but normally, they get put off. And put off. And put off.

Seriously I can't see any reason for that kind of procrastination. It's not like they have to shove their hands into the toilet water, get their heads down close enough to inspect the inside of the rim, and smell whether it is actually clean. (Wow, do I have some issues here, or what?) I have purchased perfectly serviceable toilet brushes so that they can clean from an arm and a half's length. I think of it as my little gift to them - -to avoid putting anyone through that kind of life-altering trauma.

(Hey, I figure the cost of the toilet brushes will be offset by the one less thing to discuss when they start their inevitable my-mom-ruined-my-life therapy sessions.)

Occasionally, as a Saturday afternoon marches on, and my little would-be-maid-service keeps finding reasons to put off their work, I get a little antsy. And then I get crabby, and from there it goes into a full-on melt down. And people, once THAT launch sequence has been activated, there's just no way to turn the war missile around. It has to go all the way through to its inevitable conclusion.

An epic melt down like this isn't pretty. It includes muttering, stomping, lecturing, and ranting. It rarely includes yelling - unless you count the "GET BACK DOWN HERE UNTIL WE ARE DONE!!" from the bottom of the stairs. It also includes demanding that all electronics are off until all job lists - plus a few extra jobs- are done. And we're not done till I say we're done.

And I'm telling ya, once the inevitable starts, there is NO MERCY.

You'd think that people would kinda catch on to the fact that doing the work on time in the first place diffuses the whole situation.... And sometimes it seems like they do. Sometimes we go weeks at a time with no melt-down tantrum. But just when you think they've got it figured out, the whole thing happens again. Kinda like the rabbits in the front yard vs the catch and release trap The Brain keeps setting for them. You wonder when they're going to figure it out. But they don't.

Yeah.



I guess we might as well stop buying the toilet brushes and save our money. Turns out they're probably going to need more therapy than I originally thought.

34 comments:

Loralee and the gang... said...

Hahaha.....that sounds SO much JUST like our house! I sometimes think they LIKE it when I turn purple!!
:~D

Lauren said...

I know I had to do chores when I was growing up. But the only one I ever remembering doing was the dishes. We had a dishwasher, and I was simply supposed to load it after dinner. My mom finally got tired of my laziness (and doing it herself I suppose), so she waited until I had gone to bed one night, far after I had fallen asleep, and woke me up to do the dishes. But it was too late to be able to do the dishwasher. No, she made me wash them all by hand. I still remember that. Maybe your kids would benefit from having to use a rag on the toilet!

Good luck!

the MomBabe said...

I think that some kids get it, and some don't. I know one of my sister's would have a fit every. stinking. week. about why I got to go play and she didn't. BECAUSE I DID MY CHORES LOSER.

Shauna said...

LOL! Come enter my giveaway the winner will be posted at 9:10 MST tonight :) ♥ Hugs!

Tay said...

I totally second what Lauren said. Kids are just lame no matter what when it comes to chores. Especially my younger siblings. And they have it way easier than i did. My mom would give me this little stone thing and a sponge to clean the toilet with. Sick. sicksicksick. My husband is now in charge of the toilets. I figure he has more chance of getting it nasty than I do, therefore he cleans it.

Yvonne said...

Oh if they could just figure it all out LIFE COULD AND WOULD BE SO MUCH EASIER. One day the lightbulb will go on--it really will ; )

Heidi Ashworth said...

This is so funny! I think the kids relax and get lazy about things the same way adults do=---why else would we have the same lessons in RS year after year after year after, well, you get the drift. Once a week I make a special dessert. Those who did their chores get some, those who didn't, don't. So far it is working like a charm.

Two Princess Girls said...

Ha! Hilarious! It takes a complete melt down in my house too. Then my family looks at me like I'm a complete spaz before finally helping out! I should set money aside for their therapy bill now, shouldn't I?

Stacey said...

My kids are still young enough that they like to help..well,most of the time. I realized that if I just get the cleaners and vacuum out they all beg to do it. I'm gonna enjoy it before they become whiners.

My mom used to clean the toilets with a rag too. I have tried to make her see the great-ness that is the toilet brush.

goddessdivine said...

I just had childhood flashbacks. You mean we weren't the only family that had Saturday morning chores? My dad would actually leave post-it notes on the TV saying 'No TV until chores are done'. (I always vacuumed and dusted too!) And seriously, if I hadn't dilly-dallied, I would have gotten those things done way sooner. My mom at least bought toilet brushes.....

Good times.

Let us know when your kids go on Dr. Phil or Oprah to talk about how their mom ruined their lives. ;-)

Kimberly said...

Emma's still young enough that I can get away with, "If you're a good girl I'll let you scrub the table." She thinks it's a treat.

I'm enjoying while I can, I promise.

No Cool Story said...

Meh, kids these days. When I was young I would have to clean my house on my hands and knees!

No Cool Story said...

Not true. We always had maids.
:D


BUT, my kids don't anything involving technology until all chores are done. All chores.
UGH!! I am the worse mom ever.

LisAway said...

It's crazy to read "no electronics until the chores are done" For us it was you can't go out and play until. . . Times sure have changed!

We did major cleaning on Saturday morning, too. This was my dad's gift to my mom, I think, as he was completely in charge of making sure everything happened (he would wander from person to person making sure we were doing okay, he's a manager by nature, and he's good). I don't remember hating it much; it was sort of a bonding experience with everyone working together. But then again, we got to use a toilet brush. . .

Jen said...

Saturday morning clean-a-thon. Oh ya. We also had to clean the chicken coop and "police" the yard, as my dad liked to say. Issues galore!! Still can't stand the smell of Pine-Sol. :)

Karen said...

My sister and I had to do the laundry and the IRONING (remember ironing??) One time, we decided that if we took my dad's dress shirts out of the dryer quickly enough and hung them up we could skip the ironing. nope.

Amy Peterson said...

It takes my kids about 4 hours on Saturday morning to clean up the TOY room, just the toy room! Just the little space under the stairs, and they can't come out until it's clean. Well, about 3 Saturdays ago I found them with the little camp chairs sitting just kicking it! Honestly if you want to sit in the toy room for hours on end be my guest!

mormonhermitmom said...

Uh-huh. I didn't have to do the rag in the toilet thing but I did have the ironing every Saturday. Three hours. And if I procrastinated it was more. Dad lived in button down shirts.
Now it's my turn to have the meltdowns and I apologize to my mother frequently for what I did to her. I think the moms need more therapy than the kids.

Sue said...

Ah Ha! We're really all the same aren't we! I used to tell my kids Every Single Saturday "You have a choice today, you can hurry and get your room clean and all your chores done and then you can play with your friends or go to the mall or the movies OR you can cry and whine and complain and spend all day HERE crying, whining and complaining about how it's NOT FAIR and NO ONE ELSE HAS TO CLEAN THEIR ROOM!" And guess what they chose Every Single Saturday? They chose Family Crying, Whining Time. HA! But now they have their OWN kids - and the cycle repeats itself.......

Barbaloot said...

And I thought my family was the only one that had endless lists:)

Beverly said...

I love it! My dad would hide dried beans behind things to see if I lifted things to dust or just wiped around them. I was an only child so I felt truly put upon. I had to do EVERYTHING. Then I grew up and got married and found out what EVERYTHING really is!!

BTW, Lauren above is my daughter. I'm the mean old mom who woke her up to do dishes!

Vern said...

It's so weird how your kids are so different from all the rest of ours. On the bright side, by the time our kids are sitting on the couch maybe somebody will have introduced the BOGO approach to counseling.

Heather of the EO said...

I seriously can't believe you had to scrub the toilet with NO toilet wand scrubber thingy...you poor thing!

McEwens said...

I hated sat mornings growing up! NO freedom until the house was clean.... YUCK YUCK

Dave said...

I was the dilly dallier. Still am, on many things.

Mom was SERIOUS about the vines being cleaned off the fence. She called it "doing the fence row."

I remember sitting outside with a flashlight, picking vines off in the dark because I had refused to do it all day. Can't tell you how many events and friend hanging outs I missed because of the stupid chore.

Oh, and dishes was, on average, a three hour chore. ♫ a three hour chore. ♪

Jillybean said...

You should have heard the whine-fest going on at our house this morning. I asked for the bathroom to be cleaned and after 2 kids spent 40 minutes cleaning it I went in to check on it only to find that they had only removed clutter and hadn't actually "cleaned" anything! When I pointed out to them that the counter still needed to be wiped down and the floor mopped they were quite offended.
Why don't they understand that if they just do it right the first time that they won't need to do it over?

beckers said...

Oh my goodness!! I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has to torture kids to get them to do their weekly jobs!! Thanks, Randi! Although I must say that I have absolutely no recollection of cleaning the toilets with rags. ewwww!!!! I think I was the duster. Thanks for taking the hit of the toilet rags for me. I owe you some See's or Sonic or something.

And Beveryly...I LOVE the bean idea! Thanks!! :) (insert evil laugh here)

Trannyhead said...

ugh! I can't believe you had to put your hand in the bowl! That's so uber gross. I mean - even if it's flushed like a million times that's just AWFUL. I feel your pain about the little rag things, though. While my mother did invest in toilet brushes (thankfully), we had those little shreds of cut up ancient shirts for everything else.

Nancy Face said...

You had to stick your hand in the toilet? Armed only with a little rag? EWWW!!! :0

aurora said...

That's the best! You are hilarious! I agree with everything- especially the launch sequence... :D
Maybe a few Saturdays of have toilet water up to their elbows will do the trick... ha!

Moon Katty Studios said...

Hilarious. I think every mom in the world can relate. My own mom used to scare the bejesus out of me. I often wondered why back then. Now I know.

Jessica G. said...

I've actually been told that I was a mean mom for expecting my kids to clean their room and put away toys on Saturday morning. Hey, they have a whole decade to play...they can spend an hour a week taking responsibility for their messes.

wenderful said...

Oh what timing! Today is our big cleaning day. We just switched from Saturday morning to Wednesday afternoons since they have short school days on Wednesdays. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who struggles with this. I've been on the lookout for "the perfect chore routine" that the kids will love. I think I should face the fact that no such thing exists.

Jennifer said...

It happens at my house too. Unless I am willing to lay down the law...or be the cleaning police, the jobs are just not the focus!