Friday, April 17, 2009

Mom on the Edge (or how I got my playroom cleaned)

For several weeks I have been hounding my kids about how messy the playroom was. I don't even mean messy - I mean catastrophic. This room looked like it had been vandalized. Seriously. The playroom is 80% of our basement. It has lots of storage and room to play. Basically it looked like the kids had taken every basket, box, container and dumped them all on the floor.

Finally last weekend (while DH was off working) K and I went down there during naptime for Big Man and B and decided to clean. I'd been at it about 5 minutes when I just felt rage. I was so angry at how messy this was and what a waste of my time it was cleaning it over and over only for it to get to this point again. I told K mommy needed to take a time out because I was getting very angry about how dirty the room was. I went up to the kitchen and read my book for 5 minutes. Then I went back down. But quickly felt the same intense anger. I turned and told K that I couldn't do this. I went upstairs and woke up B. Then I told them they had 5 minutes to clean up whatever they most liked, and then I was coming down with trash bags and would throw out everything else on the floor.

I think they thought I was nuts, and they certainly didn't imagine me actually doing it. But man, was I upset. So after about 4 minutes I grabbed 3 trash bags and went charging down there. And I just started scooping. I tried to protect Big Man a bit (since he wasn't there), but I just started grabbing stuff and putting it in trash bags. When I had filled two (and B was in tears), I told them they had a brief reprieve while I took these bags out to the trash.

(sidebar - I would love to say I recycled all the toys - gave them to Goodwill or something, but I didn't. I was so annoyed I could not think of sorting and organizing - I just threw them all away.)

After a few minutes I came back down and did two more large trash bags. Out to the trash they went. It made me feel so much better. Then I sat down and cleaned up the rest with the girls. And now - the playroom has been very clean for a week. When they play down there, I hear them talking about making sure it is cleaned up.

DH and I are really good about being consistent - if we say something (or threaten something) regardless of what ridiculous thing has come out of our mouth - we stick with it. But I really don't think the kids thought I would actually do this. And man it felt good.

We'll see how long it lasts. As soon as it gets out of line, I am fully prepared for rampage of the crazy mommy again.

5 comments:

jill said...

too bad you couldnt have given them away, but I plan on keeping toys to a minimum myself, if I can keep the grandparents down. My brothers have no excuse I gave all their kids either clothes or more for their bank accounts for at least the past 10 years, if not longer-be sure to warn the grandparents not to send too many additional toys their way!

jill said...

that was money for the bank accounts, not more...

This Mom said...

That is EXACTLY what is do with my kids. I tell them that at night I am going to check and anything on the floor is mine. If I find something i know they LOVE I put it into a plastic TUB and they can earn it back once. the next time it is trash.

Cara said...

We do the same thing, except our playroom is on the main level of the house and very visible. So I give them one chance and then I scoop it up in tubs I store in the basement and they can earn it back ( I do throw away obviously broken toys that can't be mended). But what I have found is that most of the time my kids never ask for the toys back that are stored in the basement. Kids just have so many toys( grandparents are always giving them things). Frankly my son is most happy with a cardboard box and some string and tape. Anyway I had a similar moment recently except it was with all the stuff stored in our basement. So we found a donation place nearby and donated boxes and boxes of toys the kids had outgrown, clothes, pots and pans, my clothes of varying sizes, etc. It ended up being two car loads but now my basement is organized and I no longer feel this combination rage and guilt that we have so much. And my kids are now trying very hard to stick to the take one toy out play with it and put it back. Now if I could just get them to do something about the books strewn about their bedrooms. ( I love books and can't give them away and want to foster their love of reading) but stubbing your toe for the umpteemth time as you lean over to kiss them goodnight is no fun....

Laura said...

Oh - I have fallen to that strategy before as well... and it works...though, I think I may put the twist that This Mom does.

Do not be mad at yourself...they made the mess and did not respect the toys or appreciate them...that is what I think.