Dear Kids, This Is Why You Need To Clean Up After Yourselves

Cara Dolan/Stocksy

On Saturday, I cleaned all the bathrooms in our home. No less than 24 hours later, I walked into the kids’ bathroom to see toothpaste on the mirror, in the sink, and on the window.

Not only do I not understand how said toothpaste makes it onto the window, I don’t understand how my kids could just leave it there. To boot, there were a few retainers on the sink alongside some used Q-tips, and the garbage can I had just emptied was overflowing already.

And that’s just one room.

I went downstairs to find an array of glasses lying around as I tripped over shoes, laptops, and backpacks, when several minutes before there was nothing on the floor at all.

My kids often wonder why I raise my voice about them cleaning up. It happens every single day of our lives and yet, it bothers me to no end. Sure, they need to learn responsibility and self-sufficiency in order to become functioning adults, but it’s also about being part of a community, even if that community is just our home.

Here’s what I tell myself — and them — about why they need to start taking better care around the house.

I pay for us to live here.

Paying the mortgage every month isn’t as much fun when your home is being trashed. Take pride in your things, take pride in your room, and for the love of all things holy, if something doesn’t make it into the trash can, take two seconds out of your busy life and put it in there.

It’s dangerous.

I very nearly died (not really, but you get the point) trying to bring in the groceries because there were two pairs of size 12 Nikes in my way that I didn’t see. I’ve slipped on spilled yogurt. I’ve almost dislocated my back trying to scrub slime off the ceiling. I could go on.

I am out numbered.

There are more of you than there are of me. If we all do our part and clean up after ourselves then life is a lot easier. It’s hard enough to keep track of my own stuff because — surprise — I’m also a human being who doesn’t always feel like doing stuff.

If you don’t clean up after yourself, and you are at school or with a friend, it falls on me. The other option is to leave it and hurt myself, or have my anxiety explode all over the place.

It won’t hurt you.

Nothing is going to happen to you if you take the time to hang up the towel, pick up your clothes, or put your dishes in the dishwasher. But, if you don’t and you leave it for me, something will happen to me which means something will happen to you. Like the WiFi password will mysteriously change, or you won’t be able to find your phone. So there.