From ‘Clutter Queen’ to ‘Clean Freak’ … Hey, It Can Happen!

May 1, 2007 | By More

Frequently my mother wished on me offspring who would give me a run for my money. Considering my behavior as a teenager I can’t say I blame her. I would give you all the gory details, but it would take a five part series. Here is a tiny glimpse of the “endearing” behaviors that have come back to haunt me. 

Nothing was organized or easy about anything I did, even the good stuff. 

What made this worse was my sister, Kurtiss, was extremely organized and responsible. We were exact opposites. She kept all her shoes in their original boxes and had them organized by color. I on the other hand had a closet floor full of shoes that required a memory matching game to find a pair. I saw this as a brain exercise. I mean what kind of mental skill is involved in finding shoes in a box? O.K., apparently a lot because my sister was a straight A student and I was a student trying not to make a C.

I must admit I have not been forced to endure as many, “Great potential if she would only apply herself” comments as my mother and father did but there have been a few. My offspring’s father probably should receive credit in that area. However waiting until the last minute and creating panic in the household is a talent inherited directly from me.

Picking up my room was also not an area where I ever scored well as a teenager. Boy has this one come back to bite me in the behind. Mom required us to make our bed everyday. I didn’t want to make my bed everyday so I decided to just sleep on top of the covers. My theory was if I never unmade the bed I wouldn’t have to make it back up. For a dumb blonde I think that was pretty clever, lazy but clever.

Some of this “clever” thinking followed me into marriage. One of my husband’s favorite stories deals with my laundering skills; it involves the lint trap. Let me clarify I did in fact clean the lint trap. But then I would find myself standing there with this lint ball in my hand. The trash can was all the way around the corner (at least six steps away) and there was this gap right behind the washer and dryer. Throwing the lint ball behind the dryer seemed logical to me so that’s what I did. My offspring have also inherited this brand of clever and logical thinking.

One day my husband caught me in the act of disposing lint. He asked, “What are you doing?” in a tone that would have made you think I was throwing body parts behind the dryer. 

He proceeded to pull the dryer away from the wall and discovered enough lint to fill a trash bag. Oops!

A remarkable transformation occurred right before the birth of my first child. I went from clutter queen to clean freak. I guess it was the hormones. Whatever it was, it stuck.

Unfortunately it was too little, too late to save me from reaping what I had sown. In some ways though it still seems a little unfair. Isn’t there suppose to be an “easy” child in the mix somewhere? Could I really have been that difficult to deserve myself three times over? People who are not allowed to answer that question include my mom, my sisters, my cousins and anyone who knew me before the age of 21.

My mom would have been thrilled to be a fly on the wall the other day as I walked into my youngest son’s room. I swear it looked as if all of his drawers had vomited. I’m sure they were weary of being stuffed full of dirty clothes. They had all they could take of my child shoving anything and everything on his floor into them. I wish you could have seen it. All six drawers were spewing clothing and various other items all over the floor. A few seemed to still be frothing at the mouth. Who knew that drawers had a breaking point?

Our middle child is so close to having a clean room. For a while I thought he might be the “easy one” but that illusion has vanished. He does keep his clothes folded and in neat stacks. It’s just that these stacks are all around his room on the floor. I just don’t get it. Well, maybe I do.

There is one ray of hope. Our oldest child’s room used to be a tourist attraction. I swear, people came by just to see his room. It also came with a warning to not enter if easily frightened. His walls were covered with anything he found interesting. This translated to anything a normal adult would find weird. His shelves housed collections of “dumpster diving” treasures. But after a year-and-a-half of dorm living, he is back home keeping a remarkably clean and normal room. Maybe just maybe God has decided I have suffered enough.

Even though I see a small light at the end of the tunnel I have decided the only respectable thing to do is follow my mother’s example. My children have therefore been bequeathed to have offspring who will give them a run for their money as well. Hey, it’s only fair.

 

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Category: Every Day Life

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