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.
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?