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.