‘Twas three days after Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was resting, not even a mouse.
The stockings were strewn on the floor with no care,
spilling their goods- Saint Nicholas had been there.
The children were hopped up and jumping on beds,
while sugar from sugar-plums went to their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and dad in his cap,
had headaches and dreamed of a long winter’s nap.
Down in the living room there arose such a clatter,
I stood from my chair to see what was the matter.
Into the room I slowly did wander,
only to trip on the crap thrown asunder.
The floor all covered with presents and trash,
all the things I’d bought and wrapped- all that cash!
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but some miniature Legos my bare feet did fear.
What a mess that took over the house so quick,
I blamed in that moment that prick St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles my minions they came,
as they whistled and shouted, I called them by name!
“Now Luke! Now Sally! Now husband! Now Santa!
Clean up this disaster, don’t tell me you can’t!
From the floor to the ceiling, even the walls,
Put it away, put away, put away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So through the room the pine needles they flew,
from my dead tree full of needles and tinsel too.
On this side the toys on that side the books,
all those presents discarded with barely a look.
As I cradled my head, and was turning around,
on the couch I spied laundry spilling to the ground.
What the fuck will I do with all of this shit?
Put it away? Or just burn all of it?
I can’t drag the tree out of here by myself.
So I’ll just eat a chocolate from up on that shelf.
And why not? Chocolate is fine for breakfast,
says this mom who’s expanding right out of her pants.
These kids have been home for infinity days,
as I’ve wandered around in a food coma haze.
To the stores I must go to make my exchanges,
for sizes, colors, and miscellaneous changes.
My work will not cease, it will never end,
thank goodness for chocolate sent by a friend.
If you think your house is bad on this day,
just take a look at mine and hear when I say,
“You’re doing just fine. The mess does not matter.
I am the mom who will make you feel better.”
This is the view, left and right, from my desk,
the rest of the house is the same, so don’t ask.
Go finish that cake and those cookies. Don’t fear.
You’ll get back in your jeans, first thing next year.
I need to make a formal apology to the scientific community. My lapse in reporting the findings of my home experiments has been unfortunately long. Unduly caught up in life outside of my work as a scientist, I have neglected my important research. For that I am sorry.
Before I reveal the results of our last experiment, a bit of background for those new to our study:
Abstract: I am conducting scientific research utilizing my family as test subjects and my messy house as my observation field.
The scientific method, as it applies to motherhood:
Question: Why is my house a mess all the damn time?
Hypothesis: No one in my family notices or cares enough to lift a fucking finger.
Prediction: I will be right. No one will put anything away, no matter how easy it would be to do so or how annoying the out-of-place object is. Family members, henceforth referred to as Test Subjects, will walk around or over the object(s) until the end of time, or until I pick it up.
Testing: Leave random items in the middle of the floor forcing Test Subjects to walk around or over the objects OR to pick them up.
View the results of my first experiment here. The second test involved a swimsuit and sweatshirt that needed to go upstairs.
The possible outcomes I predicted were:
- The clothes would be put away into Sally’s drawers appropriately;
- The clothes would produce The Multiplication Effect* leaving my stairs impassable;
- Eventually I’d pick that shit up.
*The Multiplication Effect: (n.) the uncanny tendency for misplaced debris to attract other misplaced debris, maximizing household mess to the detriment of this scientist’s mental health.
As with my first experiment, the final results surprised me. First came several weeks of predictable outcomes- namely, the pile remaining unchanged despite my able-bodied adult male test subject several times commenting, “This is a hazard; someone’s going to break their neck!” as he stepped over or around the problem.
Then came the unexpected: one warm afternoon Sally emerged wearing the suit from the steps. In her hand she carried the sweatshirt. “Isn’t this good, Mom? I had a bathing suit and sweatshirt right here! I didn’t even have to go all the way up to my room! And now I can be the first kid in the ‘prinkler!”
Unfortunately, I think this experiment’s outcome may have inadvertently taught my daughter a lamentable lesson in housekeeping: clothes left strewn around are more convenient than clothes put away properly.
In light of this unwelcome childhood lesson, I am now faced with a complication as I ponder my next experiment: what will effectively test my hypothesis that will neither pose a trip hazard nor teach an unwanted lesson? After careful consideration, I’ve come up with this, which I call Something for Everyone:
The Something for Everyone experiment involves an object specifically selected to appeal to each test subject. These objects have been placed strategically in the way at the entry to my house. Here they can be observed by the test subjects every time they enter, exit, need shoes, go upstairs, go downstairs, or run around like maniacs in socks on the apparently irresistibly slippery tiles and hardwood.
Expected potential outcomes:
- Each test subject sees an item he/she cannot resist, picks it up, and enjoys minutes upon minutes of quiet, independent amusement;
- Objects get kicked around and spread out in order to cover the greatest surface area possible, increasing the amount of mess three objects can make to the maximum level;
- Objects will create The Multiplication Effect;
- I will pick that shit up.
Results to follow.
There are times when my house is horrifyingly messy. I love a clean house, but I’m not disciplined enough to put in the work to keep it that way. I know that a quick 10 minutes here and there keeps it pretty tidy, but if I miss one day, then the mess is overwhelming and 10 minutes just ain’t gonna cut it.
Sometimes the mess is the price I pay for a few minutes of “peace and quiet.” Like today, while I ignored my cranky, demanding 2-year-old for a few minutes while I took care of important things like
Words With Friends paying bills, I knew she was up to no good behind me. However, I was still taken aback when I swiveled my chair around to find this:
All those shoes? That would be S putting on and taking off every pair of shoes she can get her little hands on. These are just the ones discarded in this room. There are this many shoes in every room. Hmm, is that my propane bill in the middle of the floor, next to her discarded pants? Notice the chair positioned in front of the open drawer of the changing table. What did she take out of there? Will I find Butt Paste art work on the walls of another room? Books, games, hats, socks, tights and millions of teeny tiny shreds of paper. Honestly, burning my house down would be quicker than putting all of this away.
The worst part? Let’s say I get this room looking great. While I’m doing that, another room is filling up with discarded shoes, toys and books that were played with for 2.5 seconds, and various stripped-off clothes. So, I’m not going to clean this up right now. I’m in no hurry. It’s just not worth the effort when it all comes back to this anyway. Entropy, Baby. I’m living it.
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