This is going to be a bit stream of consciousness. I am on the exhausted side.
Y’see, I’ve been cleaning for the last five hours.
Oh, quit yer laughing. I got 2 (two!) rooms done. That’s it.
My family are pigs.
Most specifically, my darling daughter is a screaming slob.
I am so tired of the eye-rolling, deep in her personal fable, egocentric, poor pitiful sweetie, everybody1 always picks on me, Cindarella ..thing.2
I’ve written before on her inability to complete a particular chore or clean up after herself. It hasn’t gotten any better. It may have actually gotten worse, on some fronts.
And I’m just done.
Done with a capital ‘fuck it.’
I had hoped that by adopting an abridged and not nearly so neurotic Fly-Lady inspired schedule of cleaning, that keeping house wouldn’t be so difficult. That we wouldn’t have to do the all-day Saturday scrubkriegs of my youth.
I had further hoped that by mostly keeping my nose out of her room she would keep it…well, if not as clean as I’d like, at least not filthy.
Apparently, I was just flat wrong about that. Even my basic rule of No Eating/Drinking in there means nothing. I pulled out several cups, bowls, plates, and utensils out of her bedroom. There is some sort of organic…stuff?… on the bottom of her trash bin.
I can recall my parents telling me that “this isn’t a hotel, we aren’t your servants” when I was a kid. I also recall my room being neater, my attitude being less Woe Unto Me, and less generally unhygienic.
But mayhaps that is just the lens of long years clouding my hindsight.
I’ve tried bribery, firmness, marshmallow-y sweetness, boundary setting, grounding. What I have left is embarrassment.
I’ve gone into her room and taken several photos of the mess that it currently lives in. Also her bathroom. I had scrubbed it a week or so ago, and asked her to keep it clean(ish). You can bet I was more than a bit shocked to find it in the condition I did today.
I am going to post this one picture (of the bathroom) so that y’all have an idea of the order of magnitude of slop we are talking about.
I still have so much left to do.
But every time I move a piece of furniture or pick up something to clean under it3, I find piles of trash. Food wrappers. Dirty socks. Plates. Glasses with milk going sour in them. Clean clothes mixed in with dirty clothes.
All of this, on top of the Attitude that I get whenever I ask her to do something around the house has me full on furious.
Going to go blow up zombies for a bit. Drink some tea. Calm down.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of it’s furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
1 – And by “everybody” she means anyone who asks her to do anything in this house.
2 – If you read that in this style, then I did it right. Or write, as the case may be.
3 – As you are *supposed* to do.
16 thoughts on “A Rant: Now With Photos”
Hmmm…. It sounds like you might have a …. TEEN on your hands. It gets better, but only if you let it.
I had the exact same issues with Jacob, and continue to have them. I found that the issue was circular (or maybe somewhat oblong and smelly). Over the last few months, I looked at what I can and cannot control.
What I can control:
My attitude towards issues.
My responses when dealing with Jacob.
How I request that things get done.
Whether I let any of it ruin my day.
What I cannot control:
Whether he actually does the right thing when I’m not looking.
How often he lies to me.
How chaotic his brain is.
What I’m finding works best is to simply stop fighting the battle. I let everything be matter-of-fact, and call it good. I stopped trying to explain my “commands”, and simply issued them, bullet-point style.
For instance, instead of telling him that I wanted him to clean his bathroom because urine behind the toilet causes it to smell, offends visitors, grosses out the people he lives with and should be considerate of, and so on, I simply say in very pointed terms, “Jacob, I need you to clean your toilet, clear off your sink, and put your dirty towels away please.” He’s 14, and he has the attention span of a chihuahua on acid. There’s always something shinier that he wants to be around.
Another thing I’m slowly working on is not quoting THE RULES, and just trusting him to follow them. Once I started to do this, and it took a lot of willpower, he started to respond. Especially when I started thanking him for doing things. When he doesn’t do them as well as I want, I ask how close he got to the mark and if the resulting frustration/anger is worth stressing the relationship that I’m building with him. When I DO correct him, I keep my correction super simple. “Please give the dog water.” “Please mow the back yard too instead of just the front.” “Please get the trash in the office, rec room, and both bathrooms and take them out like you did the kitchen trash.” Simple. To the point. And I thank him afterwards. I’m starting to realize that I’m not as entitled as I was in my head. If I don’t thank him for doing chores and keeping a good attitude, he’ll resist everything I do. And I need to thank him immediately or as soon as I see him. In fact, “JACOB! Thanks for putting the dishes away.” *Yes…I did just yell that.
Having a firm boundary of what is expected is what works best for her. She is capable of “forgetting” if it isn’t the same thing, week in/out.
I always thank her when she does do something.
I have nothing to suggest on the room & bathroom.
For the more genera around-the-house stuff, would offering choices (“You need to take out the kitchen garbage OR deal with the dishes after dinner, you pick which one”) or advance warning (let her know the day before what the expectations are regarding specific chores) help? I remember resenting the hell out of my mom for telling me less than an hour before that she expected my help on something non-routine, while I would have done it cheerfully (or at least not be so pissed about it) if I’d known the day before that she would be expecting it of me.
Just a thought, but offering it in case it might help.
No, the list of weekly chores is pretty standard.
She and I discussed them again last evening plus the new plan of Famiyi Housecleaning. She is now as aware as I can make her of my expectations.
Well, the good news is I’m pretty sure you can get $80 an ounce for the organic stuff on her trash bin at most night clubs, $100 an ounce if you wait till last call. 8)
You need a hug Bon, I’m too far away to give ya one so ask one of your D&D pals to give you one for me.
No worries. She’ll get plenty of hugs come this Sunday.
I need good D&D buddies like you guys. Man, I miss playing D&D sometimes!
Heh! I needed a laugh.
Yes, I will grab as many of the hugs as I can. 🙂 *hugs YOU right now*
I find it tragic that someone who used to be such a sweet young girl seems to have turned into a prima-donna bitch-princess, but then again, she’s a Leo, a teenager, and a teenage girl to boot, so perhaps it’s not all that surprising. It doesn’t help that kids these days are being over-saturated with influences from all sides teaching them that they’re innately fabulous beings simply as they are, and high self-esteem is just a basic human right as opposed to being part of the reward one receives for accomplishment, like we were taught.
Not having ever actually raised children, I hesitate to suggest I have any genuinely practical advice to impart, but if she’s really becoming a problem then I’d think you’re well within parental rights to bring out the Big, Old-Fashioned Guns like grounding or taking away her phone, console, and Internet privileges for a while until she shows genuine contrition and improvement. Or lock her out of the house. Putting some genuine fear into her might help her to develop a little more appreciation for the living arrangements. Or Hell, could always do what my folks did with me one Summer: they went into my room while I was away and threw out EVERYTHING that I’d left on the floor, or on the bed, etc. I was SO cheesed, of course, but I guarantee you I kept my shit picked up afterwards, because I couldn’t be certain they wouldn’t decide to do it again.
*deep hugs, comforts, shakes pom-poms* Hang in there, Bonnilicious One. Goddess willing, this is just a phase that will end, sooner or later, but sometimes the only way people grow is after they encounter a devastating consequence to their actions….and even then, there’s no certainty.
But we can certainly hope. 🙂
S is far from a “prima-donna bitch-princess”. Princess might be a bit accurate, but I think we need to remember that she is Bon-spawn, and is thereby also highly awesome. She’s just going through her teen years at the same time that Bon is pushing herself at life so hard that it’s hard to maintain one’s patience, which I think all parents relate to. Both of them are highly awesome individuals, and will come out of it all as amazing women always do.
Bon – You’re doing something right, or we wouldn’t see those moments of closeness like when girlfriends are mentioned, or when she wants to sit by you at game simply because she loves you, or stacks kisses to blow at you. This too shall pass.
I was merely making an observation based on Bon’s own description of kidlette’s behaviour. Your loyalty is commendable, but I assure you I was not on an attack-vector. 🙂
I am sorry if my rant made it seem like that she is a bitch or that this sort of thing happens every day. That was certainly not my intent.
She is a slob and she does asinine things. She’s also not quite 13.
Which makes her a teen, with all the asshattery that implies. But she is also a great kid.
I think much of my problem – and she and I talked about this last evening, after I cooled down – is that since she IS so great, when she screws up it is so overwhelming to me.
Thank you for the pompoms and loves, doll. I do appreciate them.
Badgers don’t use pompoms. We bust out metal horns with our claws. 🙂
*hjuggles* You’re welcome, gem. Very least I can do. In hindsight, I can see that I erred in not using “bitch” in the proper context. I had meant it in the sense of “someone who bitches,” not in the sense of “mean-spirited floozie.” I should have made it more clear I was thinking in the verb-form, not adjectival. My bad.
I grok. I just don’t think that verbiage should ever be applied to a 12 year old girl, regardless of how difficult she’s being.
See my comment to Bon. I’ve been around enough teenage girls to know they can bitch at the drop of a pinworm, so I didn’t see it as inappropriate at all. I just wasn’t clear enough regarding syntax. 🙂
And hey, you use claws, I use pom-poms, we both fight evil. Everyone still wins (well, except for evil, but hey. Details)!!!!!!!!!!!!