12-Minute Memoir: Mess (or, This is Life with Toddlers)


Way back in March, I took a half day, and R and I went to the science museum. I've never had passes for anything before, but we got them last year for the science museum, and it's been really fun to be able to take the kids there for a few hours every so often to play on the weekends or when I have a day off work.

Upstairs there is a large open area with games set up: a life-sized chess board, giant dominos and legos, and a Connect Four that was so tall R needed a stool and even then could only sort of reach the top to drop her pieces in. R ran around for a good 15 minutes playing in all the different areas, and as I watched her, I noticed one of the museum employees. It appeared his only job was to walk around the upstairs play area and pick up after the kids. 

He would put all the chess pieces up in their correct spots, and then not thirty seconds later, one or two (or four or five) children would come behind and knock everything down. He'd circle back and pick all the pieces up, only to have it happen again (my own daughter was no exception).

"What a bummer for that poor guy," I thought. I mean really. You try to keep something clean, only to have a child follow you around making a mess of everything you'd just picked up. And that's all you do for I don't know how many hours.

If you are a mom or have ever babysat a child of any age, you probably know where I'm going with this.

I got home, took one look at the mess of toys and books and dress-up clothes strewn around my house, and realized THAT EMPLOYEE IS ME. I don't know why it had never occurred to me, but it was a really eye-opening experience.

And of course we are working with R and J on picking up after themselves. They need to clean up their own messes. This post isn't about strategies for allowance and helping kids learn to contribute to the family. This is about me and mess and the realization that I am no better off than the museum employee I felt so bad for. And it's worse than that, in fact. 

Because he gets paid to pick up the toys, while I, on the other hand, do not.

Unknown said...

Yes! Oh girl, yes. That's such an eye opening. I love a neat and tidy house but I'm working on letting things go because the kids are playing. It's hard, ha!

Stephanie said...

This made me chuckle because this is my life right now too! #lifewithtoddlers 😁

Audrey said...

I feel this way, too. Lol. Obviously with kids it'd be 100xs worse, but I am the picker-upper in our house. SIGH. The dogs and the husband are amazing at dumping ALL THEIR STUFF in the living room or on the dining room table or WHEREVER. And while K does clean up sometimes, he doesn't get to it nearly as quickly as I'd like. Haha!

Jen said...

I am definitely a picker upper in the house and it's hard sometimes to not do it all the time. I've had to learn to let go as well.

Amie said...

My husband is the one constantly going behind Bowen, and myself really, picking things up! I just don't see a reason to pick it up until the end of the day because it will get dragged right back out! haha

Carolann Chambers said...

hahaha!!! Love these 12-minute memoris. I am the one constantly picking up around the house and it can be infuriating. And that's just with a husband!!

Jenny Evans said...

So often I feel like I'm digging holes all day with someone right behind me filling them in. It's hard to stay motivated when the difference between working your butt off isn't clean and dirty, it's dirty or more dirty! Sometimes I wonder if I just let the house go and never said anything, would there come a point where the kids would just start cleaning up? Or would they just walk over piles of stuff 3 feet deep like they were in a house on Hoarders completely happy with their situation? There are the things I wonder about late at night.

Rach said...

Ah yes, life with toddlers, haha!