It doesn’t make me happy that I can’t blog as much as I used to. Sucks but, without a live-in house helper, I have to do a lot of the chores around here.
Like, when I woke up this morning, and raring to write while the kids still slept, I was greeted with cat poop near the front door. The litter box had not been cleaned (I wonder why Speedy didn’t do that today — he does it most mornings) and the Persian cat, Pepper, refuses to use the litter box in that state — she’d rather do it on the floor. :shock:
Then, someone (Sam, I found out later) left an open bag of chips overnight on the living room coffee table and the kitten, not Pepper but Supercat with the black eye (Sam has since renamed her Pssst! because that’s what she answers to), went through the bag of chips and the mess was on the floor, on the couch… :roll:
Then, there was the ton of clothes hanging all over the house because we can’t leave newly-laundered clothes hanging in the garden overnight because you never know when the rains will fall.
It took me an hour to clean the poop, the litter box, the chips and fold the clean clothes that dried overnight. With a cup of coffee in my hand, I turned on my MacBook and was about to start writing. But, the e-mails… The phone and the internet were dead for almost three days and the e-mails had accumulated. By the time I had gone through most of them and was finally about to post an entry, it was time to cook lunch.
It was under those circumstances when I finally told the girls that they would have to do more chores if we’re going to survive without bickering over who’s responsible for which mess.
We went out yesterday to view some houses. We’re seriously thinking of moving and we’re checking out a lot of options. We went to Mission Hills and fell in love with two large but rather expensive lots. The security is great — houses can be left unoccupied without fear that it will be empty when the owner returns. I knew how much the girls both want to move so I used the do-you-really-want-to-move angle to get a few things in order.
So we were having lunch and I told them, “If you really want to move, you have to show that we will be able to manage a bigger house even if we never hire another house helper.”
There were no violent objections, actually, so I went ahead and told them they would have to do their own laundry from now on. They have to make their own schedules, monitor what’s clean and what’s not and, most important of all, I don’t want them stressing me out on school mornings about where their uniforms, bras, socks and whatever are. I have had enough of that shit. They will wash their clothes (we have a fully automatic washing machine anyway so what’s the big deal?), hang them to dry (exercise for the arms and shoulders), retrieve them from the clothesline afterwards and fold them neatly to be stored in their closet.
I’m not asking them to do their own ironing — we have an ironing woman who comes in regularly. I’m not asking them to wash the curtains, the blankets and the bedsheets — I can do that. But I want them to be able to take charge of their personal clothing items. They’re 15 and 13 (14 in January) and they’re not physically nor mentally handicapped so they’re more than capable of doing it.
When Sam and Alex were much younger — they were in pre-school — during the years when we never had house helpers, they helped me with chores. They were what, five… four?? Sam could fold towels so neatly with all the corners and edges perfectly aligned.
Then, one time, because the girls couldn’t deal with blankets and other large items, I asked Speedy to demonstrate to the girls how to fold the blanket. You know, so they could form the habit of making their own beds when they woke up. Speedy picked up a blanket, rolled it with his arms — like John Travolta on the dancefloor in Saturday Night Fever with the falsetto voices of the Bee Gees blaring “You should be dancing” in the background — and declared that the blanket was neatly folded.
After that, I couldn’t make the girls fold anything larger than a face towel. And, later on, when we had to hire a house helper because I took on a job, everything just went downhill. From that time on, having been introduced to the lazy life, the girls shied at doing chores. If anything, they became disorganized. It’s probably psychological. They knew there was someone to pick and clean up their mess so they didn’t care about making them.
Well, I can’t deal with their mess anymore. I shouldn’t. If they can’t get their acts together, the new house will always remain a dream.