Is my daughter mess blind?

Messy, teenage, room
Another Margaret Mess!!!

Margaret, my 12-year old daughter is talented at making a mess.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t because she’s trying to be defiant.  I think she might be blind to messes.  It’s like she just doesn’t see the mess.  But I guarantee you, IT’S THERE!  I’ve named it “The Margaret Mess.”

We have a small house so things become a mess quickly, I will admit.  The Margaret Mess is usually comprised of your standard fare:  shoes lying everywhere, piles of clothes on the floor and in her closet and hanging out of her drawers (which are almost always pulled open), books & mobile devices everywhere, etc.  That I can sort of handle.  But here are the types of Margaret Messes that I find absolutely unacceptable – and frankly, make me feel like the severe nausea and indigestion I endured throughout my pregnancy were the glory days compared to now:  popsicle and food wrappers in the bathroom next to the toilet, sticky blue stuff on the toilet seat that has dripped down the toilet so it stains my clothes when I sit on it (OK that’s usually the 6 year old to be fair), MY clothes lying on her floor, unflushed poop in the toilet (she and the 6 year old are equal, repeat offenders), her Kindle on the bathroom floor next to the toilet,  not yet turned in homework on my kitchen counter, rocks in washing machine – you get the picture. It’s to the point where, after the cleaning Goddess comes every other Monday, I glide across my floor and step into every corner of my tiny, 1600 foot house feeling as refreshed and clean as I do after a good confession.  The sensation carries me until someone walks into the house with their muddy shoes on, tracking in a new mess that breaks the cathartic bubble I’ve enshrined myself in.  And the cycle continues.

The worst part is that I think I’m to blame.  I think that I’ve enabled her to be a mess maker.  I’m compulsively anti-mess (aka OCD) so up until recently, I would pick up everything and put it away.  So a strategy I have considered is to leave it where it is and make HER pick it up.  But I worry that she wouldn’t pick it up and then my tiny house will become a candidate for that show Horders.  Besides, it’s kind of like when I potty trained her.  I’m with the experts who say a kid isn’t potty trained if you need to TELL her to go. She’s potty trained when SHE recognizes she has to go before she has an accident.

Somehow I need to get her to SEE the mess the way I SEE the mess.  I’m currently accepting suggestions on how to do that.  In the interim, thank goodness I have a full set of lungs on me.  “MARGARET!!!!…PICK UP THIS MESS!!!!”


2 thoughts on “Is my daughter mess blind?

  1. Shana! You are really cracking me up! I totally see where your coming from. Keep in mind that Margaret is an artist. Her “mess” is not a mess in her mind. She’s just creative! Perhaps designate one or two days of the week when she picks up all of her “mess” and the others allow her vivid personality to sparkle. Still, it’s easier said than done because I’m exactly the same way you are. In fact, my boys have started singing a song about not worrying about the mess, which really isn’t a mess. My son says “mom…we don’t live in a house, we live in a home. ” I guess that they are on point.

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    1. I like that idea – I am going to ask the girls to sing a song about the non-mess! A mother of an ex-boyfriend of mine once told me that the mess reminded her that she has a lived in home. I see it that way theoretically, just not practically…working on it!

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