Once upon a time when I was a teenager, one would hear me yell at my mom, "Why do you even care if my room is clean or not?!" or "What are you, the clean room police?!" or "Why does it matter if my room is not clean? It's not like you are going to hang out in there with your friends."
My mom just wanted to keep a clean house. And she did. Every room in our house was clean and tidy all the time except for my room.
If you think this is the party of the story where I admit that I am now my mother and my house is clean and tidy and it's driving me nuts that my kids' rooms are always a mess....hahahahahahahahahahaha!
Whew, I had to catch my breath there for a minute. That's funny, you thought that.
No, that has not happened. But, I am finding myself much more anal about certain things. What is that? A maturity thing? A mom thing? I think it's an exhausted mom thing.
Once upon a time, I had a friend with 1 1/2 kids while I had only one. Not that I would ever say it, but now 7 kids later between us, she admitted that she was a little anal at the beginning of her motherhood journey in regards to the sandbox. Again, her words, not mine, "I used to only get the expensive sand and made sure it stayed in the sandbox and now I'm like whatever."
I remember relishing in the fact that I was so non-anal regarding the sandbox and my only child. I even told my husband once that I liked the feel of sand on the floor of the house. It made me think of my childhood when we would rent that little a-frame cabin on the beach in Door County. My husband totally agreed! (okay, I'll admit that dialogue was code for "we're okay with the house being trashed all the time and sandy, right?")
So when my friend admitted that she had once been anal about her sandbox, but not so much anymore, it made me realize that I have become anal about our sandbox.
1. Cheap sand stains and ruins shirts. Buying new shirts is expensive.
2. Expensive sand is expensive (but it won't ruin clothes).
3. Expensive sand needs to STAY IN THE SANDBOX because buying new expensive sand is expensive.
4. Three kids are SO much sandier than one.
5. No matter how much you trick yourself into believing that a sandy bed is so, vacationesque, you have to clean it up sooner or later.
6. Same thing with the floors.
About to clean the floors? Re-read number 4 and then ask yourself what you can do to improve the situation. The answer is - get anal about the sandbox.
I didn't like this about myself. I mean, I guess I would prefer that our house and yard wasn't in a continuous state of clutter but I'm just not the model-home type of mom-housewife. Neither is my husband.
So I made a conscious choice to relax about the sandbox this past summer. Here's how it went down. One day, a friend and Tulip decided to put mud in the sandbox. I tried to nip it right away. There was some of that expensive sand in there! I said, "It's a sandbox and not a mudbox." But then I did my personal particular type of parenting where I realize that a mess means fun, and I want my daughter to use her hands, I want her to interact with nature, I want to foster her creativity, and we are not girly girls afraid of getting dirt on our clothes, hands, whatever. So the next time, I let it go. And believe you me, it went and went and went.
Summer vacation ended and we ended up covering the mudbox for a few weeks once school started and we had to acclimate to our new life and our shift went from swimming in the pool and playing in the sandbox in the backyard to drawing with chalk on the driveway and riding bikes around the court after school.
Then it got really really warm, right? And someone opened the sandbox and Holy Terrarium! it was gross in there. There was a green film over every square inch of sand. Lots of critters. And a moist heat. Blech!
We scrubbed, had a family meeting, bought new sand, and implemented the new-again family rule of no dirt in the sandbox. This evening, when I went out in the yard to cover the sandbox for the night, I discovered that some sweet little girls decorated a mound of sand with some grass blades and a few limp dandelions. I meticulously picked them out one by one. Yes, I'm anal again because scrubbing that sandbox was exhausting and I haven't yet decided which is more a waste of my precious time: picking out blades of grass or cleaning my house.