Two Rules.

Two Rules for My Sanity

I was weary of walking upstairs and glancing in the girls’ rooms and seeing messes. Clothes scattered. Beds unmade. Dishes strown here and there. And overflowing trashcans. Mack’s room, which is across from our room, was no better. Messy, messy people that will clean up “tomorrow.” Always tomorrow. Well, I had enough. But I wasn’t willing to rant and rave; and I was out of energy to force them to follow through with actually cleaning up their rooms. Instead, I implemented Rule #1: CLOSE YOUR BEDROOM DOOR. It was simple, really. And maybe you think I am lazy. I’m ok with that because I most definitely am not. I am tired. And I am in need of some easy in my life where I can get it. So, CLOSE YOUR BEDROOM DOOR seemed to solve my constant agitation. If I found things of theirs around the house, I would just make a stack and take it to the kid’s room, open the door and set it on the floor in their room, squinting my eyes shut so I couldn’t make out the mess and close the door back.

So Rule #1, CLOSE YOUR BEDROOM DOOR AND KEEP IT CLOSED, probably got us in the perdicament we were in yesterday when I had to implement Rule #2…

Nothing strikes panic in my heart like the words, “Mom, the dryer isn’t working.” I sit paralyzed for a few minutes and then will myself to walk up the stairs, praying all the while that the kid is just temporarily confused about how to turn on the dryer. (I mean, this wouldn’t be a stretch considering this kid had 8 loads of laundry to do because of major procrastination. read: laziness. Read: she has kept her door closed for a couple of weeks now) 

But, indeed, the dryer wouldn’t start. Josh piddled around and figured it was likely a blown fuse. I called a repairman who said he could come tomorrow. I was fine with that, considering this is Christmas week, but I also couldn’t stand the thought of not having a working dryer and having wet, clean clothes sitting for over 24 hours. And what if it wasn’t just a fuse? And what if I had to spend my Christmas at a laundromat while the rest of the world enjoyed Christmas? (I know—dramatic and ridiculous and wouldn’t have happened, but I NEEDED these clothes clean and put away and I NEEDED my dryer to work.)

So with the repairman coming to see us tomorrow, I piled all the clothes in the car and went to a laundromat, where in 1 and a half hours I was finished washing, drying, and folding eight loads of laundry.  

In this process, I realized that I was washing enough towels to keep a small army showered and dry. I counted the people in my family again…still only five…and then decided that each kid will receive ONE clean towel, ONE clean washcloth and ONE clean handtowel. I had already whittled their towel stash down to two each because I noticed a ridiculous amount of towel loads, yet somehow they had found the extra towels…I am sure they were out of their two clean towels and just took matters into their own hands, building their towel stash back up to 75 towels each. Or something like that. 

I explained to each kid why they were receiving ONE clean towel, washcloth and handtowel and told them what I would do if I were them about actually doing their laundry on a regular basis.

Rule #2- Use your ONE towel, washcoth and handtowel. Wash, dry and fold your ONE towel, washcloth and handtowel. Repeat.  

So maybe you, too, feel like a bit of a failure when it comes to having taught your kids about simple cleaning techniques or proper laundry habits. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. Our lovely world of social media doesn’t quite highlight crusty plates and overflowing garbage coming from your teen’s room.  And no one wants to hear my rant about abusing one’s use of towels. But sometimes we need to share our challenges and some of our new rules so that some other mom in the world knows they aren’t struggling alone. I hope you will implement Rule #1 or Rule #2 if it will help you end your year without a mental breakdown. Merry Christmas!


And even though each of these kids gives me gray hair in their own unique ways, I love them dearly and enjoyed spending an evening at dinner with them and Josh talking about life, enjoying good food and looking at Christmas lights. I think I will keep them.


2 thoughts on “Two Rules.

  1. I love this idea! Years ago whenever my mother would ask us kids what we needed for Christmas (or birthdays), my brother (who was married with kids of his own), would always reply that he needed socks. Socks were gifted to this brother for years. One of his kids became very sick and the entire family pitched in to clean the house and get it ready for the family to return home. We knew my sister-in-law was not the best house keeper, but we found mountains of dirty laundry. We all washed, folded (and threw away) loads and loads of clothes. My dear sweet mother decided she would take on the task of matching socks. When all was done, she had matched 96 pairs of socks for my brother. So, he definitely would have benefitted from Rule #2 – 1 pair of socks!

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