I struggle with keeping my house tidy. Not clean, that part is fine. I struggle with getting everyone to pick up their stuff. All day long, I walk around, pick up stuff, and return it to its proper place. This bugs me for several reasons. One: am I the only person who can see this amount of filth?
And how can I get that filter on myself? I would love to be able to go into a room and not notice the 726543 things that don't belong in that room.
This is a constant source of frustration for me. I feel like a drill sergeant, I nag and it never changes topic. Pick up your shoes. Pick up your coat. Pick up your book bag. Pack up your schoolwork. Whose pencil is this? Whose paper is this? Why are there socks in front of the toilet? Stand the shampoo bottles up - don't leave your lego minifigs on the table.
Once, I was very very frustrated. I picked everything up that didn't belong in a room, and I put it into a laundry basket. I called a family meeting, had a speech, and gave everyone back their stuff. They didn't care. I tried holding it for ransom, charging them per item – nothing seems to work.
And I get so frustrated, it affects how I behave towards my family. I don't like this. I don't like that asking nicely doesn't seem to help, asking firmly doesn't get me anywhere, and setting an expectation – and expecting it to be followed – doesn't seem to work either. I do not want to be the self-sacrificing martyr mother, the slave that services everyone else's needs.
We are a FAMILY. Not a society in which everyone drops everything wherever and I walk around and pick it back up.
And I don't want to be a harridian. It's not the memory I want. It's not the face I wish to present.
But, oh, am I so super aggravated.
Three days ago, I opened my Facebook to find that a very good friend reported that her son had been involved in a critical motor vehicle versus semitruck accident. Her son was in critical condition and on life support. The next day, Max passed on. I'm devastated for my friend, reeling at the thought that her beloved firstborn son, a boy of 19, close in age to my own children, could be gone from this world. He was everything that is good and right – always there to lend a hand, always happy, in short – the best kind of kid.
And I'm sure his mother could care less if there's any mess in her house that he left behind.
It's a sobering lesson for all of us.
I've tried, with varying levels of success, to get a handle on this situation, being cognizant of the reality that, in the long run, mess doesn't matter - life does.
Appreciation, kindness, gentleness and making people feel good are what is important.
What happened this week has rattled me.
But I'd be a liar if I said I was no longer bothered by the intense lack of personal responsibility that I see displayed. And frustrated at the ability to reign in both the laziness and my own frustration, and balance it with appreciation and love.
Especially when I feel little of it coming back my way.
Except from my husband.