I have always been a neat freak, however, for sanity purposes, I learned that with a husband, three kids, and a dog, I needed to lighten up. I needed to reduce what I expected to mitigate my anxiety when the house was slightly messy. Yesterday, after picking up three cups, a dirty bowl, wiping out a sink, placing the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, picking up not one but two pairs of socks from different rooms, removing a wrapper from under the couch, picking up two old batteries and throwing them away, and straightening the basement, I had an epiphany. I was standing in the kitchen and I grabbed a butcher knife. I watched my hand tighten around the handle. I felt my blood surge. I raised my arm above my head, and I drove that knife into the cutting board. It stood straight up. A glimmering, sharp final stroke.
The indulgences and corruption that have led to my servitude need to stop! I need to be liberated from these shackles. I am not your slave. I am not your cleaning lady. I deserve more help, and I should not have to scream like a loon to get it.
I declare a Mother’s Reformation!
1. Socks should not be left wherever they are removed. I do not want to see socks under the desk, under the couch, under the bed, or in the middle of the living room floor. You all have hampers in your closets– use them!
2. I would like to walk into your rooms and be able to see the floor. Taking off your clothes and throwing them in the corner of your room makes for an unsightly mess.
3. Because you did not put your clothes in your hamper, I did not wash them. Do not criticize me that you do not have tights for dance or that your gym shirt is dirty.
4. After washing, drying, and folding nine loads of laundry on a Sunday afternoon, please do not stomp your foot when I ask you to put your clothes away. Also, do not just take the basket and throw it in the corner of your room. Open your drawers and put said folded items into them.
5. Contrary to popular belief, I do not like picking up nineteen cups and bowls from around the house every morning.
6. If you need something washed that badly, learn how to turn on the washer!
7. Dirty dishes look better when they are clean. We have a dishwasher; learn how to load it.
8. Clean dishes look better when they are in the cupboard. We have a dishwasher; learn how to empty it.
9. When you’re not in your bed, make it. Yes, I know no one is coming over. I don’t care! Make it!
10. Linus sheds. Am I the only one who can vacuum the carpets so that, it does not feel like we live in a zoo?
11. Just once, I would like you to do something around the house without me asking!
12. If you eat something that comes in a wrapped package, throw the wrapper away!
13. Garbage looks better in the garbage can, not on the floor next to the garbage or in the kitchen sink (Tom, I blame you for this bit of laziness!).
14. Any person who can walk can take the cans, glass, and cardboard to the recycling can in the basement. It does not need to pile up on the kitchen counter.
15 The kitchen table is not a place for junk– old school papers, toys, etc. I would like to be able to sit down at the table and share a meal without having to go through the contents trying to figure out what is needed and what can be recycled or put away.
16. If you see the hall closet is low on toilet paper, walk downstairs and get some more.
17. Toothpaste droppings in the sink are disgusting. Wipe up after yourselves.
18. After your showers, hang up your towels.
19. After your showers, pick your clothes off of the bathroom floor. (Especially when your undies have what appear to be skid marks.)
20. Hang up your coats and jackets. Backs of chairs, couches, and floors are not the coat closet.
21. When you trip over all of the shoes by the back door, do not yell and scream. Had they been placed on the floor of the coat closet, it never would have happened.
22. Don’t ask, “What’s for dinner?” and then complain. You don’t like what I make, learn to cook! (Heating frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave is not cooking, Lizzie!)
These are my demands. If they are not met, I will be forced to go on strike, and you will fend for yourselves. I will take care of ONLY myself. You think I’m too OCD, don’t you? You don’t think I can handle walking over dirty socks or walking past dirty dishes. Oh, but I will. You cannot enslave me; you must stop taking advantage of me; you must pull your weight!
Think I’m joking? Try me!