For the last umpteen years I've worked on getting my shit together. I've worked on being the best damned patron saint of domesticity there is only to watch my doomed ambition gather mold on the bottom of the dirty laundry pile.
And yet I still kept trying to get my shit together. I'm trying, I'd whine on facebook. But it just doesn't seem to be happening!
My children join me in the gripefest at every opportunity. Whether it is a hangnail or a puzzle piece that doesn't fit or a slow internet connection, my children always seem to have a reason to whine, and quite often, these whine-worthy excuses managed to get them out of random chores.
This is where the chaos is born. From random school/project/craft/library flotsam strewn about the house like some Museum of Horrors. It's okay, I'd think. I'm getting there.
Yesterday my children--nestled within a womb of clean laundry, homework and cereal bowls on the couch--drooled at the laptop movie. I had three options for dinner. Each, in my spawns' opinion, were equally disgusting. Then there was a pinch, a punch and simultaneous wails.
This is where I lost my shit. This is where I had a bitch fit. It hadn't come about from the endless Glee marathon (though I don't doubt jazz hands were a contributing factor) but from the dull, lifeless and apathetic children I had birthed into this world.
There is a breaking point in some people's lives. It may come when you realize you've ben working as a barista for 12 years. It may come when you wake up on a mattress underneath a bridge. Hell, it might even come when you finally get those lyrics to that catchy-ass song you've been singing. I'm talking about the awakening. That sense of existential clarity. For me, it came out when I realized that my children were spoiled brats with no sense of accountability, and it was all my fault. I was passive. If I was going to get in control, I'd never do it. I had to be in control.
Then, in an instant, I got my shit together. I got in control. No more passive planning. Here are the new rules:
Be accountable for your own shit. Neither of my kids really gave a rat's patootie about their "stuff." Now their "stuff" is in their rooms. Put the hell away. There are no consequences. I did not say, "clean up your crap, or I'm throwing it away." There are options in saying that. I have relinquished my spawn of all options. "Deal with your crap."
School days are tech free. No tv. No Netflix. I was tired of watching my son drool in front of a tv and then freak the hell out when any little thing went wrong. No tv is my way of saying, "wake the hell up, kids!" Also, no facebooking. I wiped my daughter's phone clean of all texting and so-net apps. And just to prove that I'm not just some harsh Trunchbull of a woman, I deleted the so-net apps from my phone, too. Now we all have to deal with each other.
I killed the magical house-cleaning fairy. I killed her hard. I'd bury her if it weren't none degrees fahrenheit outside. The house will not clean itself until one o'clock in the morning. The house will not provide fresh laundry to sit upon. The house will not do dishes. We no longer have chores because chores too often earn payment which is an option. There are no options. We have responsibilities now. There is no "if they don't get done."
"You're welcome." Food no longer has names like "chicken alfesto" or "cosmic pizza" or "the-most-amazing-effing-caesar-salad-ever." The food on the plate stands as the only option...apart from bedtime (note: I instagram dinner now should I need evidence in a court of law later). Food is a necessity. Good food is a luxury. Whether the kids decide my consumables are the former or the latter is up to them. Not. My. Problem.
So far, so good. As soon as the rules were uttered, my kids shaped the hell up. Maybe it was the practical application of a few clear-as-crystal swear words. Maybe it was the lack of options. Whatever the case may be, the kids took a deep breath, calmed down and dealt with the new rules. We did not watch tv tonight. We did, however, win the hell out of playing puzzle.
Maybe I'm being a mean ogre of a mom. Whatevs. I'm a mean ogre of a mom in control of my shit.