When I was 12, my mom had the psychotic kind of meltdown that most 39-year-olds can only dream of, but don’t have the guts to pull off. After days of repeating the same request to clean up over and over, she was done. She asserted herself as queen of the castle, and threw the contents of my brothers’ bedroom out the window. There are only so many times you can tell your darling darlings to clean their shit up, before all of your fucks go flying from the second story and crashing to the ground. My kids better watch it. I’m getting close.
I have four children, three sons and a daughter. Let’s start with the sons, shall we? And to set the stage, we’re going into the bathroom. The three of them share a hallway bath with a nice sized tub and a newly-remodeled vanity. It sounds pretty, doesn’t it? Well, it would be if it wasn’t covered in fucking boxer briefs and urine.
Urine first. There is no aiming. At all. Ever. It’s like they just drop their drawers and let it fly. The shortage of Clorox Wipes is because mothers of boys are hoarding them for this exact problem. I have often threatened to make them sit. It’s coming. They shower daily, win for mom, but they just leave whatever they had on in the middle of the floor. Doesn’t matter what it is, nothing is returning to their bedroom. And the next guy? Well, he’ll just step on it soaking wet and saunter back to his bedroom. By the time number three hops in there is a heaping pile of soaked striped underpants that I will have to transfer into a laundry basket that I hope doesn’t leak all the way down the steps.
The steps! Oh those fucking steps. That’s where it all goes to die. Every single day I collect what is on the first floor and place it neatly on the steps so that it can be taken to their rooms. Very June Cleaver of me. They’d rather fall to their death over mounds of shoes and books and toys than pick anything up. They will traverse that mountain 10 times before they even bother looking down. And then they’ll have the audacity to tell me that they can’t find their shoes. That’s when I start looking for the Xanax.
Wanna head to the kitchen with me? Please, let’s go. Do you buy your cereal in those giant boxes at Costco? I do, just so they can decorate my counter. No one actually eats it. Well, not in a bowl, I mean. No, they’d rather take it handful by handful and make a little trail like Hansel and Gretel to and from the family room. They’ll do that two or 37 times. Shit, they might even empty the box, but it’s not going to the pantry or the trash. Nah, mom likes her brand new, beautiful granite countertops, that she waited five years for, to be completely covered by General Mills. It makes her happy. And the cherry on top? Leave the milk out too. You know, the stuff you never used because you changed your mind and ate it dry. She loves that.
Remember I mentioned a girl? Well, let’s get to that. She is four, so she has a bit less responsibility than the others because she has less stuff and I still monitor bathtime. But don’t misunderstand, she can make an impact. Her room looks like a tornado ran through. And the dolls — holy shit, the dolls! They’re everywhere. There are clothes and accessories and shoes. She has stands for the dolls, but she’d rather leave them face down on the floor with their hair strewn all over the place so that it resembles a crime scene. Then she gets pissed if you step on them because you are “hurting them.” She has a wheelchair and I swear to God, she has put a doll in it because she has been trampled by a parent who should have ended up in a wheelchair themself for the pain inflicted on bare feet by pointed doll shoes!
For the sake of full disclosure here, I am not a clean freak. My bedroom has some stuff going on, but I’ll be goddamned if anyone’s going to tell me what I should be doing with it. I am 41! I can do what I want. You are 10 and I am tired of looking at the LEGO strewn across the floor. Pick them up! Repeat after me, “I am your mother, not your fucking maid!” (Leave the “fucking” out though, because people judge.)
My kids need to understand that my mind is a steel trap. The day my brothers’ room was emptied, I was in the backyard watching it all float through the air. I watched her remove that screen. I listened to her babble incoherently. I studied her form as she so eloquently tossed that shit out the window. I was primed for success that afternoon. I learned from the best in the business, folks. And I know how great that had to feel to let that shit fly! So help me God, they better watch it. I am one more wet towel in the hallway away from the whole neighborhood knowing exactly what those boxer briefs look like!