Monday morning madness

After my morning hour-long walk, I fixed lunch for my third-grader and welcomed the five-year old from down the street. Then my boys left with their dad for P.E. at the local YMCA. I savor the time they are gone, not just because they are 14 and tend to forget to put on their deodorant, but because we spend so much time together that I need the occasional break from their judgment and back-talk. Okay, that and I like to clean their room while they are gone.

Now, the more responsible mothers among us wouldn’t dream of cleaning their teenagers’ room, but I figure that my baseline standard of cleanliness is beyond my boys’ comprehension and so, if I want it cleaned to my standards (which aren’t really that high, but still), I should clean. So I do when I can’t stand it anymore.

Also, that room is not just their bedroom, but also a sort of rec room in which all the neighborhood kids and all my kids spend an inordinate amount of time. In fact, a large part of the distressing mess in there was mine because the (old, used) piano bench fell apart and I removed all its guts (sheet music, old music books and newer piano lesson books) and left them in disarray on the adjacent filing cabinet. For months. Even after I repaired the bench, the stuff sat. A few other things piled atop the music books and then someone left a shirt (post-sleepover) here which I put on the top of the piano. Then, for whatever reason, an extension cord found its way to rest on top of the shirt, along with two screwdrivers and a thingamajig that you use with caulk.

Cover the whole thing with dust, bake thirty minutes at 350 degrees.

No, wait. You must not bake clutter. You must put it all back where it belongs and throw away what you can. Which I did. Then I dusted and vacuumed, but not before I moved the couch and unearthed some stray Legos, a spoon, a plate, three dirty socks and a million string cheese wrappers and a pile of Goldfish crackers.

Yes, that was pleasant.

I hooked up a gigantic speaker to the boys’ computer, threading the cords behind the big desk. I put away their clothes. And now, at least for today, when I walk into that room I am not tempted to hurl myself to the ground in revulsion.

8 thoughts on “Monday morning madness

  1. “Cover the whole thing with dust, bake thirty minutes at 350 degrees,” – Very funny!!! I have gotten to where I will clean my twins’ room about once a week and otherwise I close their door and ignore it. This is a big step for me – as I am OCD and visually affected by any clutter. Keeping the door closed has helped a lot. I usually require that all my kids keep up with their rooms and the girls do their best, but they have so many responsibilities (highschool stuff) – I am trying hard to cut them some slack this year! I liked this “cleaning” story – right up my OCD alley.


  2. What a coincidence…I myself found a string cheese wrapper behind a living room curtain on a window sill. The thing is, I haven’t any kids living at home. AHA! My granddaughter was last here in August. Does this tell you how often I dust the window sills? 🙂


  3. My own two boys are grown now, but boy, does that bring back memories! I did the very same as you…shut the door on it until I could take it no more, then cleaned it to my standards. Actually, my 20-year-old daughter, who still lives at home, is no “cleanie” either!


  4. I will never forget digging through my cupboards in a panic while muttering “Where is the powdered sugar???!” I KNEW I had some and needed it to make frosting for a cake.

    From the kitchen table a voice said “Oh! I think I remember seeing some in my closet!”

    I don’t even WANT to know how he was eating it.

    I’m still working to lose some of the tics I developed from having had teenaged boys.


  5. Sounds like something I do… I clean up my daughter’s room at times when I cannot stand it any longer. I always wonder what she must be thinking… she keeps her bookshelves pristinely in order, but nothing else. (What’s the point of the trash can when trash ends up all over the floor or under the bed? Seriously, I’d like to know!).

    Good luck Mel! I completely understand.


  6. You should have connected that speaker to a mic located elsewhere so you could send them room-cleaning messages while they sleep.

    Hey, it always worked in the cartoons!


  7. Oh dear, young teens boys NOT using deodorant is an universal thing, eh? :::sigh:::

    Of the two teens boys currently living under our roof, one is meticulously neat, the other quite the opposite. Mr. Neat used to live in the upstairs bedroom at the end of the hall by the kitchen and his door could always be kept open when company came over…well, actually, it could always be kept open because it was spotless. When the older brother went to college this fall, Mr. Neat moved down to his room and Mr. Slob moved up to Mr. Neat’s room. Let’s just say I dislike EVER having the door open to that room now, but the problem is IF I demand the door is kept closed the odors build to an unbearable level. :::sigh::: What’s a mother to do?????

    Tammy ~@~


  8. I hear you! My daughter, now in college, developed the fine art of just enough mess that no one would come in her room to bother her — especially her blind brother, who didn’t want to trip on her messy floor.


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