One Giant Step for Momkind

When I saw a simple step-by-step guide to getting kiddos to clean their room, I thought I’d stumbled onto some kind of buried treasure.
“Clean Any Bedroom in 10 Minutes” it professed.

I knew I needed it because I’d JUST walked in the door from work at 11:30 am and found all three of my children still in their PJs in a dark living room watching television while they ate cereal.
I flung open the windows, and they shrieked. I took away the messy bowls and they moped. I turned off the television and said something very mommish about chores and broken brains. I pulled up the NEW PLAN for cleaning and they bought into it. After all, according to The New Plan, they’d be back in TV land within the hour.

Step One is to clear the bed and make it. Easy enough! It approximated 1-2 minutes for this process.
They went into their rooms and flung off toys, papers, old candy (? ew), crafts and all manner of kid-nesses.
A pile began forming in the middle of the room.

One minute passed.
Two minutes passed.
Fifteen minutes passed.

After their beds were cleared off, we were supposed to make them and we WOULD HAVE had my mother not instilled in me a sense of propriety.
“Get those blankets and sheets OFF your beds,” I shook my head and held my nose.
Baking soda came to the party, and we found (surprise!) MORE STUFF after the sheets were off. More papers! More crafts! And OF COURSE there was a grocery sack filled with empty toilet paper rolls because DID YOU KNOW you can use them to make a CHESS SET?!

One hour passed.
The washer ran, the dryer limped -I had to run each batch through TWICE to dry anything at all.
The sun rose high and hot over our green tin roof, and another hour passed.

Things were thrown away, things were salvaged, things were found (ohmygosh, MOM! Look! I FINALLY FOUND MY hackey sack/pen/feather/apple [ew]).

We had a few visitors pop in and out -the piano tuner came and found the mouse that had died inside my piano forte. It was as if God sent that little piece of death to knock any housekeeping pride the NEW PLAN had given me right outta the junkyard.
Another hour passed.
I sauteed some summer squash my neighbor had left on my doorknob and poured Ragu all over it: dinner was served. My fragrant lilies opened up plump and wonderfully, filling the house with their distinct smell -one I’ve acquired since a sweet friend brought me some during a very low time in my life.
As I pulled blankets out of the dryer, the 8 year old argued about the POINT of them.
“It isn’t winter,” she said.
My son immediately wrapped himself up in his and refused to take it anywhere near the bed because he needed it with him in ALL of the rooms at ALL of the times.
The kids were brought some craft supplies from a dear friend and as I flung open the front door to play my piano and impress my neighbors with my SUDDEN AND VERY OBVIOUS IMPROVEMENT IN PERFORMANCE (much the same attitude I had with a new pair of shoes in grade school), the kids threw caution and self-preservation to the wind by opening up toll paints and having a field day.
That’s my great-grandmother’s cup, and I couldn’t help but think how she was watching the whole scene and unfold and loving every bit of it. I even held off on washing it out for as LONG AS I COULD which was about 67 whole entire seconds.

I tossed the kids into the shower -the eight year old loved it, the six year old threatened mutiny and the toddler screamed, but nothing so bad as when I brushed her hair afterward.
I braided the girls’ hair and had them put on clean pajamas because they WERE, after all, going to sleep in clean beds. Blankets or not.
We ate the kettle corn I’d scorched, watched some Mormon Messages, watched “Matilda”, said a few prayers to ward off nightmares of The Trunchbull, and we all went to bed.
In CLEAN beds.
With clean sheets.
And clean PJs.

As I laid me down to sleep, I renamed THE PLAN:
And as we all know, the journey of the impossible dreamer begins with a step.
Even when that step lasts ALL day.
And involves scorched popcorn, lilies and a carcass.

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