A couple weeks ago I had one of the worst mornings I’ve had with the kids in a long time.
A LOOOOOOOONG time.
They were at each other’s throats, pushing buttons relentlessly and doing whatever they could to piss each other off.
We had multiple massive meltdowns before 7:30 a.m., and I all but dragged the kids out of the house and threw them onto the bus.
It was awful.
We were coming off of a three-day swim meet, so the house was kind of a disaster.
It wasn’t a disaster by seven-years-ago standards, but by current standards, it was a mess.
The Christmas decorations were still up and the tree was still up and there were containers all over the front entryway that had been there for like at least two weeks just waiting for me to build up enough motivation to actually fill them with Christmas stuff.
My mom must have somehow sensed how stressed out I was because she texted me to see if I wanted help getting all the Christmas stuff put away.
I took her up on her offer immediately, and we spent pretty much the whole day cleaning up, organizing, and getting the house in order.
When everyone came home the house looked awesome.
I was done with my work and available for the kids when they came home, and we got everything for the next day ready early. Lunches were made, outfits were picked out for the rest of the week, and we had time to chill out and relax before bed.
And the next morning was one of the best mornings we had had in a long time.
It was so good.
No meltdowns. No screaming. No crying. No rushing. No searching for lost things.
I felt like a fucking supermom.
I put the kids on the bus cheerfully rather than in a total state of exasperation, frustration, and anger like the day before.
Boy did I have a different outlook on that day than I had the previous one.
I spent the day enjoying getting work done peacefully in my mostly clean and organized house, and I was ready again for the kids when they came home from school.
I had a snack ready and waiting, and I sat down at the dining room table with them after they unpacked their bags and while they ate and unwound.
“You know,” I said to them, “This morning was a really good morning. Way better than yesterday.”
And Number 5 looked right at me and she said, “BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS NICE AND CLEAN, MOMMY!”
“Really?” I said to her.
“Yeah!” she exclaimed. “It feels calmer in here, now,” she said, matter-of-factly.
I was floored.
I hadn’t mentioned it. I hadn’t asked them about it. I hadn’t led them in any direction.
But that was the day that it was crystal clear to me that it’s not just me who is affected by chaos and disorganization.
If you think your kids don’t notice, you are wrong.
And if you think your kids aren’t affected by it, you are also wrong.
I’m not going to beat myself up for how bad the house was five, six, seven years ago when the kids were all little. I was doing the best I could at the time.
But I sure as sh*t am gonna do my best to teach the kids how to keep their stuff organized, how too much stuff can be a (really) bad thing, and how to stay on top of things so they have more tools in their arsenal when they are parents.
The decluttering, organizing, and staying on top of things is going to continue.
Not just for me, but also for my kids.
Especially for my kids.