Nobody Ever Accused Me of Being Donna Reed

Early into my new gig as an accidental stepmom, I determined that part of my job description could not include frequent, thorough cleaning of the kids’ rooms. This wasn’t some high and mighty ideal, as if I were somehow above this mundane task. It was more of a recognition and acceptance that I was an abysmal housekeeper before I got kids.

For my 8th birthday, my parents gave me a poster to hang on my bedroom door. It was an elaborate cartoonish drawing of a disturbingly messy room with a caption that read: My Room: Love it or Leave it! They thought it was hilarious.

Right around this time, which was shortly after my mother stopped cleaning my room, my father took up photography. He did a series of shots with the poster placed in strategic locations around my room. Art imitating life and all. I was not at home at the time and only discovered he had done this after the prints were developed.

[For anyone under 30, I’ll explain: you used to have to take rolls of film out of your camera and drop them off at the local photo store. As long as it wasn’t attacked by either terrorists or a time-traveling DeLorean, you’d get your pictures, on paper, back in anywhere from 2-10 days.]

I highly suspect that beer was involved in my father’s art project and have no doubt that he highly amused himself while doing it. Had we the internet back then, he probably would have blogged it.

So I’m a slob. It never really bothered me until there were suddenly seven of us in a too-small rental house and I couldn’t find a single thing I owned because any object I let go of was immediately covered by six possessions that other people placed on top of it for the simple fact that there wasn’t a place to put their stuff either. If the object had the misfortune to be something shiny, it was ferreted away by #5 to his secret collection. Car keys were a particular favorite of his.

The truth is that out of all of us, my husband was the only one with a clue about how to run a household of this size. I tend to keep my mouth shut about that– in my neighborhood, it’s apparently sport to complain about your husband and how he can’t load a dishwasher. I’m afraid that if the women around here really know everything CC does in this house, they’ll take him and leave me alone with the kids.

I could write a whole other post on how my kids came to have a resentment against sheets. Oh, that’s right– I did. Over on Family Circle’s Momster blog: Parenting Confessions: Unmade Beds Don’t Bother Me. That’s why God gave us doors that close, my friends.

Are you a slob, or a neat freak?

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For the Record

For the record, when a parent asks “Who’s cleaning up the kitchen?” the wrong answer is “I don’t know.”Also wrong is the name of a sibling, any sibling, followed by a judgment of why they deserve to be the one to clean up the kitchen. All of these will get you the job of cleaning up the kitchen.

The only answer that might possibly on the slightest off-chance get you out of cleaning the kitchen is to say, “I’ll do it!” because then the parent just might possibly say, “That’s so nice of you to take responsibility! I’ll make your sister do it; you’ve done enough. Go have a cookie.” But this is only likely to happen if you volunteer immediately after your sister has made an ass out of herself by arguing that she shouldn’t have to clean up the kitchen because she did it yesterday.

It is far more likely that you’ll both clean up the kitchen, and I’ll eat your cookies.

The Bane of My Existence. . .

Is a duvet cover. Yeah, you heard me.

A shiny, ridiculously expensive, pretty Italian duvet cover- the kind of thing you buy when you’re single, childless, and free from pets.

The kind of thing that loses its closure buttons when puppies wrestle on it, allowing them to then wrestle inside it.

While the down comforter inside slides sadly down, down, down, despite the clips that were supposed to hold it in place and change my life. Those clips are no match for puggles.

That’s it in the middle there. The down comforter. The snaky lump now cutting diagonally across the bed. Prolapsing out the end.

It takes somewhere in the neighborhood of forty-five minutes to reorient the comforter inside the cover. It’s slippery. It’s askew. Those puppies, they think it’s a game. They pounce on the lumps. They try to crawl back inside.

I’m pretty sure they ate the clips.