I have this saying, “I only die on mountains; I don’t die in parking lots.” Makes sense right? Don’t sweat the small stuff; save all the energy for the serious ish. And for the better part of the last year with Hope I managed to stay the course and only trudge up mountains (or at least some big hills). I would occasionally get mildly injured from bouncing off of a parked car (figuratively of course), only to be righted and find my way to the mountainous battlefield.
Then I read this stupid-tail parenting book. Seriously, that is the last dumb-arse parenting book I will be reading in a good long while. I think I’ll stick to advice from parenting blogs and Marvel comic antagonists. I probably should also pray to the Holy Homeboy more too. Sigh.
The gist of the book was that most power struggles stemmed from parents’ personal anxiety, and that yielding on those parking lot issues reduced the anxiety and helped kids learn personal responsibility. Yeah, ok.
So, I hear that for a lot of parents the filthy teen room is a parking lot issue. Just close the door, they say. It’s their personal space, they say. Not worth fighting over, they say; spend that capital somewhere else.
Ok, Mr. Dumbarse BookMan, I must be really anxious over this room thing. I need to let this go. So, I tried it. I tried to let it go. Yielded. Oh I yielded the hell out of letting my angst of Hope’s room filth go.
And each week, I got more anxious, not less because the room got worse. It got smelly. The trash was strewn around. I think I might have started hyperventilating whenever I crossed the room’s threshold, which consequently became infrequent. #ilikebreathing
I’m not a neat freak, but seeing things I worked hard to provide, seeing my home of 14 years treated so poorly, just…tore me up inside and outside. This was not a parking lot.
So, here it was New Year’s Day. I realized that I could not deny any longer that Hope’s room was one of my mountains.
I typically spend New Year’s Day cleaning. I never noticed before today how important tidying and freshening for the new year was to me. Oh, it’s important. So, knowing that one of my spaces was in disarray sent me into a not-a-slow-boil to the point where I became unhinged with Hope during an epic fight last evening.
I have laryngitis today; it doesn’t even hurt because I just tore into my vocal cords to shreds yelling and pitching an unholy fit. #conniption
Yeah. Completely. Unhinged.
Had to call my agency’s support line to get myself together. I lost all my parenting swagger during the last month or two. Tapped slam out. Mrs. P talked me off the ledge and helped me developed a plan for getting through this foolishness and for getting my swagger back.
Today I had someone take Hope out for several hours. I got that room cleaned up. I purged stuff and I removed other stuff to create a library/check out system. I got some storage hacks and put on some new bedding (after discovering the existing bedding had been damaged by spilled nail polish).
I purged in my room. I got rid of a lot of stuff. Most to trash and some will head to the Goodwill tomorrow.
And finally, I was able to breathe.
I braced myself for Hope’s reaction. A lot of stuff was gone. A lot of stuff wasn’t visible because it was properly stored. Eventually we talked it out. I apologized for not realizing that her room was a mountain for me. I explained my basic expectations, how she could access some things and how she could keep up with things. We hugged it out.
And all was good.
That is until I left the rhind on her ham and brie sandwich, and a new round of bougie girl pouting started. #spoiled #bougie #privilege #girlbye
Whatever chica. You ain’t even know about brie before you moved here. smh
January 2nd, 2015 at 9:35 pm
Wow good for you but yeah it is hard. Glad you had a momentary point where you were in agreement it does help.
January 2nd, 2015 at 10:16 pm
I’m so with you – a clean room is a mountain, a real mountain, not just some foothill. I’m glad my kids are a bit younger and my oldest tends to be neat already. It is by no means optional in this house. It is part of respecting yourself! Good for you. I’m just sorry that it became an explosive situation instead of simply a long, hard climb like most mountains are meant to be tackled! Happy New Year!
January 4th, 2015 at 9:37 pm
Ugh, I really tried to make it something other than a mountain, but it just drove me nuts. Now a few days later she admits that it totally got away from her and she was willing to hide utterly ridiculous stuff that was inconsequential rather than clean her room. She’s much happier that the room is back in order now. I heard that messy rooms/closets are a reflection of your life. I’m not a neat freak but I know when things are messy I feel out of control and I can’t let that happen. Hope’s room sent me over since I probably also subconsciously knew it meant something worse than just being messy. Ugh! Life is hard. Thanks for letting me know that there are other clean room mountains! 🙂 Happy New Year!
January 2nd, 2015 at 11:39 pm
I found myself laughing as I read this, because I had a new appreciation for my dad and step-mom. As a teenager, I once went 10 months without vacuuming my room (which means I also did not do the basic picking up). I think it nearly killed both of them waiting for me loose it at the state of my room, I eventually did, but reading your perspective makes me realize just how much it must have driven my step-mom absolutely crazy! (I feel the need to point out that now as an adult I do keep my house nice and clean).
Best of you for picking your battles and doing so in great form when you did. I’m so happy the two of you hugged it out. 🙂
January 4th, 2015 at 9:41 pm
Ha! Yes, I can confirm that your step-mom was lying awake at night going crazy!!! 🙂 Ten months without vacuuming would result in my untimely demise. I would seriously fall out. LOL. 🙂
January 6th, 2015 at 12:05 am
Until your post I had never really thought about how much it must have driven her insane – maybe she actually vacuumed it when I wasn’t home? Oh well, we all survived and nothing I can do about it now. 🙂
January 8th, 2015 at 8:57 pm
#GirlBye !!!!! Perfect ending. I have so much catching up to do but I’m planning to get back on my blogging horse. Catch you soon , lady bug.
January 14th, 2015 at 2:26 pm
I can relate on the clean room. I’ve gone through my rounds of “perfection” and my expectations. I had to find common ground. My son is a clutter bug and a horder at times. He wanted and saved everything, from lolly pop wrappers (because they had a joke or message on them), to “special tags” and so on and so on. He wanted me to save every piece of art paper and homework (especially the good graded ones). So yes, like you, I would sneak in when he wasn’t around and remove stuff. We also worked on his room together. I would tell him we need to recycle. We would make three piles. One for trash, one for Goodwill and one for keeps. That worked really well and it was fun and gave us some quality together. We would reminisce about the items. Other times, I would tell him, “If you haven’t played with it over a year, why keep it? Give it to someone else.” (The Toy Story theory)
We would also go through his clothes and send them to his younger brother (my second born son placed for adoption) and this was easier for him to let go. I’ve used the clean room as a bargaining tool (we can go if) and this was helpful. And sometimes I would ignore the dirty, cluttered room but in our small apartment which his room is visable from the living room, it was very hard. We’ve also had the melt down over the clean room. It takes time.
Now-a-days, if his room is not perfectly clean, I don’t sweat it. But if it starts to get out of hand, then I make my demands and he usually agrees that it has gotten bad and will take the time to tidy up. But something in his room has to maintain clutter (his desk, his floor, his bed, etc). But they say that smart, intelligent people have cluttered spaces so I’m gonna go with that and allow him to grow his mind. wink wink
March 19th, 2015 at 4:58 pm
[…] So, after the epic showdown from New Year’s Day I swore I wouldn’t read another dang parenting book this year. […]