Years ago, when I worked full time and the kids were in day care and we only really occupied the house during dinner and to go to bed, my house was clean. I had a cleaning lady coming in bi-weekly and I had to keep up with dishes and wipe down the counters and clean up the occasional mess, but otherwise everything stayed neat and orderly. That was then. Fast forward three years to the first week of summer vacation and my house is on the brink of destruction.
It started slowly last week when the kids started bringing home everything that had occupied their desks, cubbies, hallway and whatever other space that was available in the school. I wish the teachers would just throw all that shit away. Why do they send it home all at once? I don’t care that I paid for it, it’s like the food you take to a party that people try to get you to take home, whatever is left has been well fondled and left at room temperature, I am never going to eat it again – throw it away! Teachers must know we don’t want that stuff, that our kids will beg to keep it ALL and it will cause us days worth of negotiating before we can get rid of it.
To further the accumulation of crap, my parents came down to see the girls dance recital and grandpa always has to bring all sorts of stuff for the kids. Stuff I would prefer did not enter the house, because as soon as the kids get something from their grandparents it becomes “special” and therefore a keepsake. I don’t care if it is a pen from the bank my dad went to; he gives it, they receive it and I am stepping on it three days later and swearing about all the shit all over the place.
Summer vacation also means that the kids are now eating every meal in the house and it isn’t pretty. My kids have a habit of starting at the table and then wandering around while eating things like crackers, chips and dry cereal. They also like to talk while they are walking and chewing and create a trail of crumbs everywhere they go, it’s like having Hansel and Gretel living with me. What really pushed me over the edge is the glob of peanut butter I found on the hardwood floor with a shoe print in it that had hardened and has to be soaked off the floor. I asked my kids to come take a look and tell me who did it, and of course they would never have done that.
Today as I walked from room to room, it was as if the destruction increased with each room I entered. My 6 year old asked if I had some chores she could do to earn some money. At this point, I am willing to pay her to clean up the mess she made as I cannot even enter their room without risking injury to myself. Both she and her sister have spent a considerable amount of time in there today, but I have to tell you, it doesn’t look any better. At one point my youngest came out with an empty American Girl clothing box and asked me to go get some aluminum foil so she could turn it into an oven for the dolls. While I respect her ingenuity, I declined her request and reminded her about the house rule of keeping empty boxes, packaging materials or pieces of paper they have one word written on them.
I have looked to my friends with older children to reassure me that this is just a phase and it will pass, however, those bitches wanting to be honest have given me the news that it won’t. It looks as if my only option is to find ways to bribe or threaten them, as enrolling them in summer camps and drinking liquor only stalls the inevitable and leaves me with a killer headache. So don’t feel slighted that I don’t invite you over for a summer play date, at least your shoes will stay peanut butter free.