Cleaning Monsters are the Best Kind

I may have accidentally on purpose created a monster.

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I am kind of a neat freak. I can not focus on much unless I am in a clean environment. Clean surroundings give me peace. Maybe it’s weird, but cleanliness is extremely important to me. If cleanliness is next to Godliness, God and I are really close.

Keeping things clean has become much more difficult since having a child. In learning how to be a mother I also had to learn how to let the house go a little bit, especially when my son was a baby and I was having trouble functioning, let alone maintaining child care and a clean home.

Not that my son is older and I am finally feeling like myself again, my clean house mode is right back on track. It has been for a while, and since my son is with me every single second of every single day, he sees all of the work that I do.

The neat thing about the toddler stage is that toddlers really do notice EVERYTHING. It is such an impressionable stage, one where you can almost SEE them learning things and processing information, and one where they learn something new every single day. The scary thing about the toddler stage is that they notice EVERYTHING.

So while as parents we know to watch our language and behavior and not to expose our son to anything that we don’t want him to pick up on, we also have to be aware of what we expose him to indirectly.

Apparently, I have indirectly made my son a neat freak.

He will not go to bed before we straighten the living room. And by “straighten the living room” I mean put all of his toys away, fluff the couch pillows, and vacuum.

When we wake up in the morning, he will not go downstairs until we have made up the bed and emptied the hamper of all the dirty laundry to take downstairs and wash.

Whenever I am walking around tidying up, he will say “Mommy, we like a clean house, don’t we?”

The last time my brother and sister and law came to visit they tracked in a bit of dirt as they walked in the door. Which was really no big deal, except my son said, “Oh no!” and ran to get his little sweeper and dust pan.

The one area of the house he is not concerned with is the kitchen, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it might just be because he is too short to see the counters.

And one of his favorite activities is to mop with the Swiffer Wet Jet. He loves squirting the liquid and then wiping the mop over it.

Up close and personal with my little cleaning monster and his Swiffer

I really don’t think this is a terrible thing. The house I grew up in was pretty messy. Not scary messy like Hoarders, but messy enough that I was sometimes embarrassed to invite friends over. I realize I am incredibly lucky that my worst childhood memory is lack of vacuuming and too much dusty stuff, but I think everyone has something from their childhood that they would like to improve on for their kids. For me, it’s wanting my son to grow up in a clean house.

So while his behavior may be a tad dramatic for an almost three-year-old, I think it is just a part of teaching him to value cleanliness. And won’t he be a good catch for someone one day if he loves to keep things clean?

The problem is, sometimes I am exhausted and I just don’t feel like cleaning one more thing. There are times when it really would be fine to let the house sit in a state of disarray. But my son demands that it be kept up, even if the only thing I want to do is sit like a lump on the couch.

I love him for keeping me accountable, but sometimes, I kind of regret teaching him about cleaning all the things.

What have you taught your child accidentally on purpose? 

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Sick and Mad

Sickness has descended upon our house for the past week. I am an expert at following my own how to get sick advice. A full seven days of runny noses and coughs and tissues and humidifiers has really taken its toll. The toddler seems to be feeling better and just a lingering cough remains. The hubs had to call into work and I have not left the house in the past week except to drive the toddler to and from preschool. It has been a nearly impossible task to keep the toddler entertained and the house in a somewhat decent state while both adults are out of capacity on the couch.

The grumpy factor is at an all time high. Seven days can feel like a long time. With the whole family at the end of our ropes, this conversation happened this morning:

Me: (to the toddler) “Will you bring Mommy a tissue please?”

Toddler: “No, I will not. And Daddy will not either.”

Hubs: “That’s not very nice. Why won’t you bring Mommy a tissue?”

Toddler: “Because I am mad at Mommy. And Mommy is mad at me.”

Me: “I am not mad at you.”

Toddler: “Yes. Mommy is mad at me every day because I made a mess. And I am mad at Mommy.” (walks over to me and in a very mad voice says,) “Mommy, I am mad at you because I made a mess.”

Me: ….

Hubs: “Come on, let’s leave Mommy alone for a minute. We need to go clean up your mess.”

Toddler: “I need to pee!” (goes to bathroom) From the bathroom we hear singing, ” I will never clean the living room never ever. I will leave the living room a mess. I am ma-aaad. Yes sir.”

Me: “Can someone please bring me a tissue?”

Toddler: “I will Mommy.” (brings me a tissue) “It’s ok, Mommy. I am not mad at you. I love you.”

Me: “I love you too. I am not mad at you either. Thank you for my tissue.”

Hubs: “Ok, now we need to clean this mess in the livingroom!”

Toddler: “Uggggghhhhh!!!!!”

Sigh. I realize, that this week has been a week of ignoring the toddler because we just don’t have the ability to play with him. When we are up, we have been fussing at him to clean up all of these messes he’s making while we haven’t been able to supervise. We are exhausted and sick, and frustrated by having to clean up every five minutes from our toddler tornado, when all we really want to do is lay around and sleep in a clean-ish house. The toddler is frustrated by lack of stimulation and that every time he does come up with a creative game, (ie, throw all of his crayons all over the floor, unload all of the kitchen cabinets, cut up bits of paper all over the house, etc.), we want him to clean up the mess.

This cycle is exhausting. The hubs is ready to go to work, I am ready to have energy back to entertain my son and keep my house clean, and the toddler is just ready for some interaction. And probably for some activities outside of our house.

Here’s hoping that whatever this super cold is will leave soon. And that the toddler will stop being mad at me because he made a mess.